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Brawley Honored by Missouri History Museum

On June 7, 2024, the Missouri Historical Society (MHS) announced the naming of the Steven Louis Brawley Gateway to Pride Endowment. The MHS endowment will ensure there are ongoing resources to collect, conserve, and preserve the stories of the region's LGBTQIA+ ancestors and community. The new exhibition is not an end all, but the beginning of this important work. MHS and the Project will continue to partner and grow the collection and offer educational programs. To do this work, financial resources are necessary. Your support is greatly appreciated. Learn More & Donate

Brawley Remarks at Opening of Gateway to Pride Exhibit

Remarks by Steven Louis Brawley at the June 7 opening event for the Gateway to Pride exhibiiton at the Missouri History Museum:

When I began my journey with the creation of the History Project in 2007, I knew there was a void.

But - I had no idea how big the void was.
How much of our history was:
• Hidden
• Lost
• Ignored
• Filtered
• And thrown away, yes thrown away!

Tonight, I stand before you and humbly say those days are over! History once lost - is NOW found! We ARE St. Louis!

Still under attack.
Still fighting back.
But we are seen and not silenced.

In a few moments this audience will get a first look at a first in Missouri history – the first ever full-scale exhibition documenting and celebrating our LGBTQIA+ ancestors and community.

What a moment. A moment to take a deep breath and really appreciate this groundbreaking experience.

What a journey it has been with many of you here tonight. Chosen family. Yes family.

Since 2007 I have fearlessly championed the need for the preservation and promotion of our LGBTQIA+ legacy.

So many of you have joined me in this hard work. I can't name everyone, but you know who you are. Many of you are here tonight. I so love and so appreciate you. Thank you.

I found kindred spirits in our esteemed local institutions at the State Historical Society at UMSL, Washington University, The Griot Museum of Black History, the Missouri State Museum, and others.

In 2012 I began my now very close relationship with the MHS team, first with Sharon Smith wanting to add LGBTQIA+ voices to the 250th exhibit. And, we did. Then, as rumor has it, I approached Dr. Frances Levine - even before she formally began her role here. Well, she says I did.

Within her first few months on the job, she was at my home in Kirkwood rummaging around my basement sorting through my collection. Add to that additional amazing MHS friendships. Especially Dr. Ian Darnell who found me in 2008 and has been my friend, colleague, confident, and advisor.

So, yes, promises were made, and promises were kept – not only would MHS collect the queer stuff, but they would also create a full-scale permanent collecting initiative that would entail exhibits. Like the one we open tonight.

Kudos to the entire Gateway to Pride community team so aptly led by Michael Slawin and dozens of volunteers that really did the heavy lifts to make all this happen.

Now, we all know none of this happens without the precious three:
• Time
• Talent and
• Treasure

That's why I have decided to make a legacy gift in my estate plan to support a permanent endowment to sustain the LGBTQIA+ collection at MHS. It's my way of paying forward my passion and commitment to this endeavor.

By your mere presence here tonight it is evident you appreciate and support history. So, please consider making a legacy gift of your own to support MHS.

So, here we are.

Out of the shadows. And proudly on display.
History once lost – is NOW found!
We ARE St. Louis!

Groundbreaking Exhibit at Missouri History Museum


Dear Community,

Join us beginning June 8, 2024 as we mark a monumental step forward in our journey to preserve and promote the legacies of our St. Louis' LGBTQIA+ ancestors - the grand opening of the Gateway to Pride exhibit at the Missouri History Museum.

In 2007 I began this work in earnest alongside community volunteers and partners such as the Missouri Historical Society!

This first of its kind exhibition in Missouri features 6,000 square feet of gallery space filled with artifacts, photographs, videos, and oral histories - never before seen or heard.

It's imperative we take time to appreciate how important this moment is. No one exhibit can make up for so much lost time! Most of our local queer history has been ignored, forgotten, and hidden in the shadows.

However, this groundbreaking experience will dramatically accelerate our region's understanding of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Over the next 13 months please plan to visit the museum often. Bring friends, family members, neighbors, work colleagues, and allies.

Be prepared to learn, laugh, cry, and reflect.

To the LGBTQIA+ community, please come to embrace and empathize with one another. In these turbulent times solidarity is greatly needed.

To the general community, please come with an open mind and heart to better appreciate the struggles the LGBTQIA+ community has faced - and sadly still encounters.

I want to personally express my gratitude and sincere appreciation for everyone that has helped make this exhibition a reality.

From the professional staff of experts at the museum to the many dedicated community volunteers - BRAVO!

History once lost, has been found!


Steven Louis Brawley, Founder, St. Louis LGBT History Project

Copyright Steven Louis Brawley, 2007-Present. All Rights Reserved.