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To better serve the community, Metro Trans Umbrella Group forges needs assessment

Woman with short black hair wearing grey cardigan, black turtleneck, and long silver chain smiles at the camera
Avery Lea Rogers
St. Louis Public Radio
Michaela Joy Kraemer is the interim executive director at Metro Trans Umbrella Group in St. Louis.

After serving the region for 10 years, Metro Trans Umbrella Group is doubling down on the support it offers in the greater St. Louis area.

Metro Trans Umbrella Group has provided food, clothing and peer support to thousands of transgender people in St. Louis. After years of growth and service, the organization wants to learn what the needs of queer and trans St. Louisans are. Michaela Joy Kraemer is leading this research in order to guide the organization to better meet the needs of local trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals.

“I can come up with [plans,]” Kraemer told St. Louis on the Air, “but if I am not listening to the community, what's the point?”

Kraemer began her interim position in May 2022 and will remain in that role for at least one more year. As a transgender woman of color from St. Louis, Kraemer offers important local context while managing and creating specific support groups, such as QTPOC for Queer and Trans People of Color and FemSpec for trans women and trans feminine individuals, within the Metro Trans Umbrella Group organization.

“It's no secret; we have a really segregated city,” Kraemer said. “That makes a huge impact on what resources and networks people have and how people can get help.”

In 2022, Metro Trans Umbrella Group expanded services to include incarcerated transgender individuals. This began when Kraemer was approached by Kendall Martinez-Wright from the organization Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Martinez-Wright asked Kraemer if Metro Trans Umbrella Group could provide peer support for Amber McLaughlin, a transgender woman on death row whose execution had just been scheduled. Kraemer spent the next few months pleading for clemency and bringing community to McLaughlin — including on the day McLaughlin was executed.

“If our mission is to bring community together, we need to serve the most impacted people, people who need it the most.”

Hear about upcoming events hosted by Metro Trans Umbrella Group by listening to St. Louis on the Air on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or by clicking the play button below.

To better serve the community, Metro Trans Umbrella Group forges needs assessment

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org

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Avery is the Production Assistant for "St. Louis On The Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
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