Mapping LGBTQ St. Louis 1945 – 1992

“Welcome to Mapping LGBTQ St. Louis — a project that explores how the region’s LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) communities have changed over time, from the end of World War II in 1945 through the passage of St. Louis’s first gay and lesbian-inclusive civil rights ordinance  in 1992.  This project explores community spaces of all types  — the bars, the bathhouses, and the drag balls.  It notes the emergence of other community spaces by the 1960s — shops, community centers, churches, dances and self-help groups.  It documents as many sites as possible, from protests and organizing, to where people met for friendship and for sex.

The distribution of LGBTQ space across metropolitan space wasn’t random. Instead, the geography of St. Louis’s LGBTQ spaces has always been related to the region’s history of racial segregation, socioeconomic inequality, suburbanization, and urban decline and renewal. St. Louis’s LGBTQ history isn’t somehow separate from the city’s wider history — it’s embedded in everything else.

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