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For those who are here, I’m actually ecstatic that you clicked the link instead of knee-jerking over the headline. To begin, I offer you brilliant readers a shout-out of thanks. You’re a dying breed and I hope you can encourage others to go forth and multiply.

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Right now I should be writing a paper for grad school. Instead I am focused on my disappointment in Pride St. Louis, Inc. and the role they've played in single handedly making this the most capitalistic pride we have had thus far by deciding to charge five dollars for entry to the festival.

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Editor's note: This piece is in response to Mike Murphy's Op/Ed "Whither Pride St. Louis" which was published earlier this week.


“Diversity” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization. I agree entirely with the assertion that “diversity means more than just visible traits or characteristics.” The issue of diversity is a deeper, more nuanced concept than simply how a person – or an organization – appears.

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A couple of years ago, the author and director of the Academy Award-nominated “How To Survive a Plague,” David France, contacted me for his next project. We chatted a few times and then he arrived at my door with a complete film crew and research staff. He was going to spend the day filming me talking about my sister from Gay Liberation Front in New York, Marsha P. Johnson. Last week, France was kind enough to ask me to the Tribeca Film Festival for a showing of that film, now titled “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.”

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There can be little question that Pride St. Louis, Inc. is one of the most successful and visible LGBTQIA organizations currently operating in the St. Louis region. Pride St. Louis has been in existence (in some form) since 1979. In 2016, the annual PrideFest, with its iconic Pride Parade, attracted a quarter million visitors to downtown St. Louis. Over fall and winter 2016, the organization established a new Pride Center at its offices in The Grove. Its 2015 annual budget exceeded $600K. Yet, despite these successes, Pride St. Louis continues to attract criticism that has not always been successfully or sensitively addressed by its Board of Directors. Given the current success and budget of the organization, it appears time to give serious thought to community concerns lest they hamper the organization’s growth or, worse, lead to its demise. As Pride St. Louis expands its mission to encompass an urgently needed new community center—the fourth such iteration in St. Louis—the stakes of failure are even greater.

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