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PRIDE 2019

PRIDE 2019

This year Arch Apparel is launching our 2019 Pride Collection with the help of some amazing leaders and activists in St Louis' LGBTQ+ community.

In the month of June, America celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month. June holds significance to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in Manhattan - this year, June 2019, is the 50th anniversary. In 1969 a group of LGBTQ+ patrons stood up to authorities in retaliation against an unprecedented raid of Stonewall Inn in Greenwich, New York. This raid was just one of many targeted attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, who had been continually subjected to social discrimination from authorities. This prejudice still exists in society today and is ingrained in many laws on both the state and federal level.

Thankfully organizations like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), PROMO, and Pride STL are dedicated to supporting and promoting diversity and equality, and to eradicate these discriminatory attitudes in society. We believe, as do they, that everybody should feel comfortable, empowered and safe to be and love who they are.

As well as commemorating the Stonewall Riots -which acted as a catalyst to promote and excel LGBTQ+ rights and liberation- Pride Month acknowledges the positive impact that members of the LGBTQ+ community have had on the nation and world. Across the country celebrations are held; tens of thousands line the streets in parades, workshops are performed to educate, and memorials are held to honor lives lost to LGBTQ+ hate crimes and HIV/AIDS.

Arch Apparel, although still in its youth, has released a Pride Collection for the past 3 years. This year we had the honor of partnering with some of St Louis’ most prominent leaders and activists in the LGBTQ+ community to model our 2019 Pride Collection. Learn more about these empowering individuals, their roles in the LGBTQ+ community and how they are setting the standard for human rights and fighting for equality for all.

Aaron standing in a black t shirt holding a pride St Louis rainbow flag over his shoulder

Aaron Finnegan

"HRC works tirelessly to fulfill their vision of a world where ALL LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights"

(He/Him/His) Aaron is a volunteer leader with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in St. Louis, the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the nation. HRC works tirelessly to fulfill their vision of a world where ALL LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

HRC St. Louis partners with local organizations to help spread awareness and grow support for countless issues pertinent to the LGBTQ community. They help raise the capital necessary to fund our fight at the federal level, engage in pro-equality candidate campaigns on both sides of the river and lobby Capitol Hill for federal LGBTQ protections, such as the Equality Act, currently under review in the House of Representatives. HRC St. Louis was honored as the National HRC Steering Committee of the Year in 2019, but they know their work is far from over. HRC St. Louis is focused on expanding their volunteer group to be more reflective of the diverse St. Louis community and is committed to leading with the values of equity and inclusion. Come visit the HRC booth at Pride to learn how you can get involved!

Photo of Gabby smiling, bending forward in front of a Rainbow St Louis flag.

Gabby Moore-Souza

"I feel as though we don’t get enough support and love, especially with the increasing number of African American trans women that are being murdered."

(She/Her/Hers) More recently and after being the first minority trans person to participate in the HRC EMDT 5.0, I’ve been looking to do more with and for my trans community. I feel as though we don’t get enough support and love, especially with the increasing number of African American trans women that are being murdered. Here in St. Louis, it is my wish to bring more visibility to the trans community, whilst also gaining support and understanding from our LGB_QIA community. It’s what we need right now more than ever. And it’s also my hope that I’m doing so I can help cultivate and better the relationship of the trans community and HRC. 

Photo of Shira sitting on the ground smiling in a white tank top.

Shira Berkowitz

"We envision a Missouri where everyone has full equality in the hearts and minds of people"

(They/Them/Theirs and She/Her/Hers) I work as the Manager of Communications at PROMO, Missouri's statewide organization advocating for LGBTQ equality through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community action. We envision a Missouri where everyone has full equality in the hearts and minds of people, in all areas of the law, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Today, our focus is to gain nondiscrimination protections across Missouri by adding the protected classes "sexual orientation and gender equality" to the Missouri Human Rights Statute. It is still perfectly legal in our state to refuse to hire, deny housing, and/or deny public accommodations to LGBTQ people.

In order to gain legal protections, we find it invaluable to change the hearts and minds of people across our state. We lead cultural competency trainings focused on training healthcare and education professionals addressing LGBTQ cultural competency, inclusive policies, and best practices.

Chasity Valentino

"Chasity is a prominent and award winning entertainer among the St. Louis LGBTQ community."

(She/Her/Hers) Chasity is regularly featured at Rehab Bar and Grill where she is on cast of the popular Saturday night 'Divas of the Grove' drag show and acts as one of the show directors. Chasity is a professional dancer and has dedicated herself to the work of spreading her talents and the art of dance to young people as a studio instructor.

Chasity is an inspiration to many in the LGBTQ+ community as a transgender woman of color. Through her art form, Chasity brings awareness to the struggles and adversity transgender and gender nonconforming people face—from workplace discrimination, to securing identity documents, to finding culturally competent health care, to family and parenting issues, and most crucial of all —combating violence. Her strength inspires others to be more comfortable and confident in living their true authentic lives. Chasity has been a staple of the community and has recently reigned as St. Louis' Queen of Pride in 2017 and Miss Cosmopolitan in 2017.

Photo of Jesse standing on the street holding up a Pride St Louis flag behind his head

Jesse Doggendorf

"Pride St. Louis has been working to ensure that the underrepresented members of our community are not left behind in the community's fight for equality."

(He, Him, His) I went to St. Louis University as an undergraduate and Washington University in St. Louis for law school. I am currently a corporate and securities attorney at a large firm here in St. Louis and spend most of my free time with friends, at the movies, or doing things as the current Assistant Director of Sponsorship of Pride St. Louis! 

Pride St. Louis has been working  to ensure that the underrepresented members of our community (especially people of color and trans* people) are not left behind in the community's fight for equality. Pride St. Louis organizes and operates the annual St. Louis PrideFest, one of the nations largest free festivals and a time for the LGBTQ+ community to come together and celebrate as one. Additionally, Pride St. Louis operates the region's only LGBTQ+ Community Center, which provides services to the St. Louis LGBTQ+ Community and serves as a meeting spot for other community organizations.

Photo of Elizabeth with a large feather boa around her neck, smiling in a grey St Louis tank.

Elizabeth Fuchs

"We are the strongest, most resilient people I’ve ever met."

(She/Her/Hers) Social Justice Activist; Political Strategist and Nonprofit Consultant; Community Healer. From bartender life to that capitol life. As a young lesbian growning up, Catholic, in South St. Louis County, I was isolated. I didn’t know who I was or where to find my people. I will never forget what it felt like to walk into the original Novak’s (where Tower Tattoo shop is now) and see all the women and all the pictures on the wall. I thought to myself, “I want to be in those pictures. I want to be part of this community."

I was an HIV Case Manager and Transgender Health Researcher at St. Louis Effort for AIDS, and the Manager of Public Policy and Lobbyist for PROMO. I was named, The Champion of Equality, for Missouri in The Advocate in 2018. Currently, I am The Policy Consultant and Support Group Facilitator Coordinator for the Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG)

Our community is badass. Never forget where you're from when you look at how far we are from where we want to be. We are the strongest, most resilient people I’ve ever met. It is my great honor and privilege to be a trusted member of our beloved community, and I will never stop fighting for our human rights, integrity, and bodily autonomy.  #BlackLivesMatter #TransRightsMatter #AbortionIsAHumanRight".

Arch Apparel will be donating 20% of proceeds from our Pride Collection to HRC St Louis. To find out more information about HRC and the other amazing organizations mentioned in this article, check out their websites below:

HRC St Louis


Pride STL


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