Amplifying LGBTQ+ voices

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“I feel like everyone here is gay.”

So says senior Maxi Glamour, a philosophy major at Webster and drag performer, who considers the university a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community.

In its DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) statement, Webster recognizes that “diversity and inclusion cultivate academic excellence.”

Graphic by Max Breckwoldt

Throughout its history, Webster has spotlighted LGBTQ+ voices, such as openly gay comedian Jason Stuart for the school’s “Noontime Comedy Break” in 1995, and celebrity drag queen Trixie Mattel as the Fall 2021 headliner. In its film series, the university has screened films like “The Brandon Teena Story,” a documentary based on the murder of a transgender individual. In 1995, the school hosted Pink Triangle United, a club promoting LGBTQ+ inclusivity. 

Now, students can join clubs like the LGBTQ+ Alliance, which plans to bring back the Webster Drag Ball, featuring student performers. The Drag Ball began in 1997 but paused during the pandemic.

Caroline Bush, president of the LGBTQ+ Alliance, says the club is taking steps toward growing the group.

“Basically we’ve been trying to include everyone that’s either allies or is in the community. So we’ve had game nights, movie nights – we’re actually doing a trans panel about what experience [is] like for the transgender community and non-binary folks,” Bush said.

Lawmakers in Missouri banned transgender girls and women from participating in sports activities in early 2023. Even though metropolitan areas such as St. Louis and Kansas City continue to fight against the bill, it was signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson.

“I think that the only thing that has caused us to gain more or less of a voice than we’ve had before as a community on campus; and in St. Louis, is the current battle with trans rights. And so I think it caused – as a result – queer people to really value this campus as a safe space,” said junior KP Benton, a School of Communications senator for SGA (Student Government Association). 

As Webster faces changes within its university leadership, Benton is not concerned that this will impact Webster’s LGBTQ+ community. 

“I think that we are a large community here, that no matter what happens to the university, we will still be here,” Benton said.



 

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Griffin Wiebelt-Smith
Staff Writer | + posts