2009 Review - Oklahomans for Equality

Title

2009 Review - Oklahomans for Equality

Subject

2009 Review - Oklahomans for Equality

Description

2009 Review - Oklahomans for Equality

Creator

Oklahomans for Equality

Source

Oklahomans for Equality

Publisher

Oklahomans for Equality

Date

2009

Contributor

Oklahomans for Equality

Text

Oklahomans for Equality
2009 Review
Oklahomans for Equality seeks equal rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
(LGBT) individuals and families through advocacy, education, programs, alliances, and
the operation of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. Serving LGBT Oklahomans and
their allies since 1980, it is the oldest continuously operating LGBT advocacy
organization in America’s heartland.
The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, our headquarters is located at the corner of 4th and
Kenosha in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma in the vibrant east village and actively involved
in the revitalization of the urban core of Tulsa County. The Equality Center has been
recognized by the National Preservation Historic Trust as an excellent example of repurposing
a historic structure. Originally a 1920’s oil refinery office with 18,000 square
feet was purchased and renovated in 2005. It now serves as the epicenter of the vibrant
LGBT community in Northeastern Oklahoma. In June 2009 the Equality Center was
featured on the Preservation Trust website “This Place Matters”.
From the earliest days of the founding of our organization, advocacy on behalf of the gay
community has been front and center. We have found that speaking up for ourselves is
the most effective route in addressing discrimination. Working closely with local and
state legislative bodies and familiarizing elected officials about our issues is a continuous
effort. Small businesses and larger companies and corporations can benefit from our
diversity in the work place workshops. Occasionally, a confrontational response is
required when an individual targets our community with hate speech. Our opponents
have learned we will not be silent when persecuted.
Most of the time, when insensitive comments are made towards a certain segment of a
community it comes from a lack of education. We offer a speaker’s bureau that in 2009
spoke on 9 college campuses and 3 high schools and even a federal agency. We maintain
an exhaustive lending library that is heavily utilized by our members and visitors to the
Equality Center. Archiving our story in Oklahoma is critically important so we
established the history project where hundreds of memorabilia, stories, and documented
events are cataloged and added monthly to the substantial collection. Throughout the
calendar year we have lectures that feature some of the top experts in LGBTQ studies.
Our goal for our membership is to equip them to be the best citizens in our community.
Oklahomans for Equality has created 38 different weekly programs that serve the needs
of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Grief recovery, mental health
support, legal clinics, children’s events for those raising a family, health and fitness
activities to help us comply with Oklahoma’s new vision for a healthier state are just few
of those programs. Each program is volunteer led by trained and certified professionals.
In 2009 Oklahomans for Equality partnered with 13 area non profits in special events or
projects that served Tulsans. We have turned into the anchor city for the heartland region
in LGBTQ advocacy work. Visitors from bordering states come to study how we have
created an effective outreach in one of the most conservative sections of the country.
In 2009 14 cities sent teams to visit the Equality Center

Files

Citation

Oklahomans for Equality, “2009 Review - Oklahomans for Equality,” OKEQ History Project, accessed August 6, 2020, https://history.okeq.org/items/show/286.