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About St Louis Gender Foundation

Statement of Purpose

StLGF shall be a non-sexual, not-for-profit society, which serves the social, educational, and recreational needs of Transsexuals; male and female Transvestites, Cross Dressers; Androgynous; Gay & Lesbian and all their supporters. StLGF will work toward universal understanding of gender and gender roles while providing a means for networking that will promote acceptance, self-awareness, confidence and support for all people regardless of gender/gender roles, sex or sexual orientation.




The origin of the St. Louis Gender Foundation (StLGF) dates to the early 1970’s, according to oral history recollections of current members, who knew members from that period. 

The oral folklore portrays StLGF as a break-away group, splitting off from the local chapter of the national Tri-Ess (Society of the Second Self), an organization created exclusively for heterosexual crossdressers. . The split with Tri-Ess was motivated by StLGF members in the 1970’s wanting to be inclusive of all self-identified gender-variant feminine individuals, irrespective of sexual orientation. A recurrent theme of “broadening inclusion” has always been a factor in the history of StLGF’s evolution.

The StLGF written history starts with the original edition of our first Gazette newsletter, published in 1984. We have uploaded over 200 back issues of the Gazette to the members-only portion of our web site. The uploaded issues dating as far back as 1988; some years had bi-monthly editions, other years monthly editions.

By all accounts, StLGF’s founder was Sherri Enteman. Sherri remained active with StLGF from the early 1970’s through the first decade of the 21st century. According to an article in the November 2009 issue of the Gazette newsletter, Ms. Enteman passed away on August 16th, 2009.

The original name for StLGF was the St. Louis Gateway Femmes. The name changed to the St. Louis Gender Foundation in 1990 when our organization again desired to broaden its membership scope, this time by the inclusion of trans-men. A trans-man was subsequently elected StLGF President in 2004, after serving several years as an annually re-elected Vice President.

The tradition of ten monthly membership dinner meetings dates back to the early days of our organization and continues to this day, with dinner meetings scheduled in all months except July and August, generally on the 3rd Saturday of the month.

StLGF has a long history of privacy and secrecy. In 1843 St. Louis enacted a municipal ordinance making it a misdemeanor to appear “in a dress not according to their sex”. It was not until 1986 (more than ten years after StLGF was founded) that such “masquerading” laws were finally ruled as unconstitutional. In this legal history context, it’s not too surprising StLGF started out as a rather secretive group. The tradition of holding the dinner meetings at locations only known to members still exists today.  

Today, StLGF continues the practice of confidentiality to protect the identities of some of our semi-closeted members, as well as members who are in the “questioning” stage of their search for gender identity, thus not yet at the decision-point to “come out” fully to others.

Up until September 2022, our dinner meetings had historically been held at hotels or motels with both a meeting room for the dinner AND a guest room where members could change clothes prior to (and after) the meeting. That dynamic allowed our members the option to travel to (or from) the meeting location in one gender, and transitioning to the gender they choose to present at our dinner meetings. 

That guest room had over the years been called the “alterations room” and later referred to as the “changing room”.  Over time, with greater social acceptance, the number of members who used the dinner meeting’s changing room has significantly declined.

Due to the high costs associated with the hotel meeting rooms and guest “changing rooms” the last meeting held in that format took place in June of 2022. Beginning with the monthly evening members-only gathering in September 2022, the Gender Foundation convened at restaurants in a manner somewhat similar to the monthly luncheons described below.

Sometime in the early 2000’s, the Gender Foundation began organizing monthly luncheon gatherings at local restaurants, generally held on the 2rd Saturday of every month. These lunches are more broadly open to friends and supporters, as well as members. Unlike the dinner meetings, the locations for these monthly luncheons are shown on our web site’s calendar of events.

The socialization and peer support opportunities offered by the StLGF are primarily delivered through the dinner meetings and luncheon gatherings. We have promoted StLGF with exhibit booths at Tower Grove Pride and Pride St. Charles as well as marching in the St. Louis Pride Parade. 

Over the years, special one-time group activities, such as an excursion to the Missouri History Museum for their Little Black Dress Exhibit, a make-up seminar at Sephora in West County Mall as well as cookouts and house parties at members’ residences continue to take place.

Today, the spectrum of transgender and gender-variant individuals in the St. Louis area have many more places they can participate, whether it be StLGF, the transgender support group at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, SAGE (Support and Assistance for GLBT Elders), the Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG), local chapters of TransParent, or local chapters of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians And GLBT individuals). StLGF members are free to participate, and many do participate, in the activities of these other local groups as well.

At this moment in StLGF’s history, our membership in some respects is diverse with a broad range of persons from the fully-transitioned male-to-female (MtF) transexual individuals at one end of the gender identity continuum, to some members whom still today identify as crossdressers. 

From an age perspective, the vast majority of our members are over 40 years old with one member recently celebrating their 80th birthday. 

Our by-laws allow for membership of people whom are 18 years of age and out of high school. Today we find most young adult transgender and gender questioning individuals in the St. Louis area prefer to associate with a group closer to their own age and / or their own race. We are primarily, but not exclusively, comprised of white / Caucasian folks, but one of our active past-presidents is a trans person of color, as is another one of our members.

We continue to seek the broad spectrum of transgender and gender-variant individuals and look forward to welcoming their membership and active participation in the activities of the St. Louis Gender Foundation.