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The Healthcare Equality Index is a national benchmarking tool that ranks hospitals based on whether their policies and practices include equal treatment for the LGBT community. Missouri’s standing in this index jumped from 37th  in the nation to 6th in just one year.

I spoke with Andrew Shaughnessy, Public Policy Manager of the Missouri LGBT advocacy organization PROMO, about why this ranking is so important and what it means for Missouri. 

    

Missouri schools were unsafe for LGBT students in 2013

Nov 17, 2014
William Murphy via Flickr

A National School Climate Survey conducted by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network revealed that Missouri secondary schools were not safe for LGBT student in 2013.

Same-Sex Unions Pose Challenge To Hospitals

Jul 24, 2014

The absence of legal protections for same-sex couples made the news last year when a Kansas City hospital denied a man the right to stay by his male partner’s bedside.

Now many area hospitals are trying to make themselves more accommodating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families.  

Nearly two years ago, Kris Saim received some harrowing news.  He was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer. But the diagnosis wasn’t the only thing he was worried about.

Tod Martin wasn’t going to let 20 words keep him from marrying David Gray.

While it took more than 20 years, St. Louis officials last week issued Martin and Gray a marriage license. They’re among eight people who are testing the state’s nearly 10-year-old, 20-word ban on gay marriage.

Sean MacEntee / Flickr

An honors-caliber college student says he was denied readmission to a Baptist school in Hannibal, Mo., because he's gay.

Twenty-year-old Chase Martinson of suburban St. Louis spent his first two years at Hannibal-LaGrange University. He temporarily withdrew in October due to illness but hoped to return in the fall.

missouri capitol
Jacob Fenston / KBIA

  Last week, it was hard to miss the huge news coming out of Columbia.

Former University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam came out to ESPN last week. He could be the first openly gay NFL player after the draft in May.

"I'm not afraid to tell the world who I am. I'm Michael Sam: I'm a college graduate. I'm African American, and I'm gay," Sam said. "I'm comfortable in my skin."

rainbow flag
Ludovic Bertron / Wikimedia Commons

Only a day after Michael Sam’s announcement that he is gay, the wheels were already turning in the state capitol.

michael sam
Karen Mitchell / KBIA

Former Missouri Tigers football player Michael Sam publicly came out as gay Sunday in interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports.

Our neighbors in St. Louis and Kansas City are two of 25 cities in the U.S. to get a perfect score on the 2013 Municipal Equality Index, or MEI. Columbia and Jefferson City fell further down the list. The MEI is conducted by a national organization working for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. The study looks at equality issues including nondiscrimination policies in cities and states.

Missouri cities score well in LGBT study

Dec 11, 2013
Rainbow flag
File Photo / KBIA

St. Louis and Kansas City are two of 25 cities to get a perfect score on the 2013 Municipal Equality Index. The MEI is conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, which works for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

The MEI is the nation’s only rating system of LGBT inclusion. The study looked at 291 cities across the nation, including five in Missouri, rating each city with a score of one through 100. Cathryn Oakley is the author of the index. She said she is very impressed with Missouri

KBIA

The Columbia City Council Monday changed the definition of a family in the city code to include domestic partnerships.  

Alexandra Olgin / KBIA

In November we told you about the debate in the Missouri legislature over including sexual orientation and gender identity in the Human Rights act. It would offer protection to make sure LGBT aren’t discriminated for housing and employment discrimination. There are two groups trying to achieve the same goal in two different ways. One organization is trying to get the state legislature to change policy, while another wants to leave the decision to voters on the ballot in 2014.

LGBT rights activists rally at the statehouse

Mar 27, 2013
Jenn Cooper / KBIA

Dozens of people rallied at the Missouri Capitol today for what a gay and lesbian rights group has promoted as "Equality Day."

The gathering coincided with the second day of U.S. Supreme Court hearings into the Defense of Marriage Act and related issues. Several Democratic lawmakers attended the event.

Claire Cook is a regional field organizer for PROMO, the LGBT advocacy group that organized the Jefferson City rally. She said her group wants to bring awareness both to the community and to legislators.

Should certain state benefits be limited only to married couples, even though that could discriminate against gays and lesbians in Missouri?

That's one of the questions the Missouri Supreme Court will be considering after hearing arguments today in the case of Kelly Glossip, whose partner, Cpl. Dennis Englehard, was killed in the line of duty as a state trooper.

Missouri Supreme Court
Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

The state Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments this week in cases involving school transfers and survivor's benefits for the gay partner of a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper.

Both cases are to be argued before the high court Wednesday.

Cpl. Dennis Engelhard was killed in 2009 while investigating a Christmas Day accident on Interstate 44 southwest of St. Louis. His partner sued for survivor's benefits, but their 15-year relationship is not recognized by the state.

David Shane / Flickr

A Missouri House Representative is pushing for new school bullying policies. Representative Sue Allen’s House Bill 134 was heard at a public hearing this morning by the Committee for Elementary and Secondary Education.

Truman State adds to non-discrimination policy

Dec 4, 2012
Ian Monroe / Flickr

The Truman State Board of Governors voted to add sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy on Saturday.

Alexandra Olgin / KBIA

The current human rights act in Missouri says, to discriminate against any person because of “race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, or familial status” is illegal, but it doesn’t cover gender identity and sexual orientation. It’s not just in Missouri, right now 29 states have no protections for sexual orientation and 34 have no discrimination protections for transgender individuals.

Aaron Malin is the co-founder of Missourians for Equality, an organization that is attempting to take the issue of employment and housing discrimination of LGBT members to a ballot in 2014. The proposal would be an amendment to the current legal definition of discrimination in Missouri.

stethoscope
vitualis / Flickr

A wealth of factors are leading to poorer health outcomes within Missouri’s LGBT community.

Datchler / Flickr

LGBT Missourians are disproportionately impacted by various health problems according to the Missouri Foundation for Health’s August 2012 “Responding to LGBT Health Disparities” report. These statistics paint a picture of how LGBT Missourians experience the world.

Regional news from the KBIA Newsroom, including:

  • The University of Missouri Press will remain open
  • Report says LGBT Missourians tend to be less healthy, have less access to care
  • Cole County judge strikes down language in Mo. health care measure
  • Lawsuit challenges Mo. on cellphone tracking
Lindsey Turner / Flickr

A new study finds Missouri’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has poorer health outcomes and less access to healthcare than the general population.

MU Medical School focuses on LGBT health

Jul 2, 2012

Health for the LGBT, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender population is expected to become a focus of the MU Medical School.

Smoking in the LGBT community

Jan 4, 2012
Willem van de Poll / flikr

Missouri has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation -- at 21 percent, it's double the rate in states like Utah and California. But some segments of the population smoke even more. In this week's Health & Wealth update, I talk with MU researchers who have found that the smoking rate among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Missourians is much higher than in the population at large.