Hello folks! Welcome to Tulsa. If you are new to Tulsa, or even if you have lived here your whole life, you may have heard that we are a red city, in a red state, in a red region.
Consequently, you may have assumed that it is basically impossible to be a queer person in Tulsa. I am here to address these assumptions and to tell you that it is okay to be gay in Tulsa.
Which brings us to our first LGBT resource on our very gay tour of Tulsa: the Little Blue House.
It is easily identifiable, because it is literally a little blue house.
It is always open and everyone there is affirming and kind. It houses United Campus Ministry, which supports a number of student groups, including Pride. Join us at 12 o’clock on Wednesdays for a free vegetarian lunch!
Our second stop is at the 6th largest gay community center IN THE WORLD: the Dennis R. Neill Equality center, which houses Oklahomans for Equality. OKEQ is led by Tulsa’s “gay mayor” Toby Jenkins.
There are activities taking place at the equality center every single day of the week, and it is open 365 days a year. Find more information on their website: www.okeq.org.
OKEQ is also responsible for the Equality Business Alliance, where you can find basically anything you might need (bakers, doctors, financial advisors, and also everything else).
If you are under 21 and looking for a club: Club Majestic, downtown, is the place for you! If you go on the right night, you might bump into the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. It will be very clear who they are.
If you are looking for a support group off campus, you should contact Vic Weiner (they/them) firstname.lastname@example.org. You will make friends and your pronouns and name will be respected.
The other support group option takes place right here on campus: what I like to refer to as super-secret LGBT support group, which is a totally confidential group that meets at a secret time and place. Contact email@example.com if you are interested.
Are you a religious queer person? There are a vast number of local churches that will LOVE you and affirm your identities (there are also some that won’t, avoid those).
Christian options include All Souls Unitarian, St. Jerome’s Ecumenical Catholic, Boston Avenue United Methodist, College Hill Presbyterian, and Fellowship United Church of Christ.
There are some options for people who are not Christian as well (although they are fewer, because Tulsa is largely Christian): the Islamic Society of Tulsa is open and affirming, as well as Temple Israel Synagogue. There are many other examples on the OKEQ website.
So basically, it is okay to be gay in Tulsa. I’m not going to lie, some people will discriminate, and not everyone will be kind.
However, compared to the occasional burst of bigotry or hate, the amount of kindness, love, affirmation, and support is overwhelming. Tulsa is the very heart of the heartland and it shows.
Full disclosure: Tara Grigson is Presbian (president/lesbian) of Pride at TU, the on-campus LGBTQSIA+ advocacy organization. Pride meets at 9pm on Thursday in the Little Blue House (behind Chapman Hall).