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Deadly MO Twister Destroys LGBT-Affirming Church

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As search and rescue teams continue to find victims of Sunday’s deadly tornado in Joplin, Missouri, many of the town’s LGBT residents are still missing. The twister destroyed several buildings in its path, including the local gay-affirming church.

Some LGBT residents were attending Sunday service at the local SPIRIT of Christ Metropolitan Community Church when the tornado hit. Everyone inside made it to the basement in time, but the building was destroyed.

President and founder of the Joplin Pride, Lee McDaniel, tells OutQ News that he’s still waiting to hear about the status of some members of the Joplin LGBT Community.

McDaniel says he has friends who have lost loved ones and many possessions including homes and vehicles. McDaniel was out of town on a business trip when the tornado struck Joplin.

But he says he’s heard from friends about how the community is coming together regardless of sexual orientation.

McDANIEL: I don’t think anyone has asked if you are gay or lesbian or bisexual or if you were questioning your sexual identity or bi-curious. They ask, ‘Where do you live or who do I need to contact? Are you okay? What can I do to help?’

One of the gay bars in town, not touched by the tornado, opened its doors to everyone in the community as a charging station for cell phones and laptops.

In the wake of the tragedy the Pride Center still plans on holding its Gay Pride Celebration June 11th.

McDANIEL: Pride is a time to bring our community and our allies together generally speaking and this will be an opportunity about 3 ½ weeks after a tornado to give people a release.

And also a chance to heal after the deadliest tornado that has hit the US in the last 60 years.

For more information about how to donate to the LGBT Community in Joplin, you can visit the Joplin Pride Center’s Facebook page.

-Mitch Weber

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