The University of Tulsa has taken strides toward developing safe areas for LGBT+ students.
Whether you dye your hair to look like a rainbow or enjoy the comfort of the closet, Tulsa has the resources to help you live your best and safest life. Here are a few of the places that make up the foundations of the LGBT+ community near TU.
OKEQ/Dennis R. Neill Equality Center — Open from noon to 9 p.m. Monday–Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays, the Equality Center has an LGBT+ library, cyber center, lounge and programming for a variety of groups. They also have HIV testing (free for certain groups) and counseling services (pricing depends on income; there are options for free counseling at the Equality Center as well). Their website has a calendar of events. If you’d like to find out more about their groups, there’s generally an email for the group leader listed under each event. They’ve also got a business alliance of LGBT-friendly businesses in the Tulsa area. Best of all, it’s less than a 10-minute drive away from campus, situated at 4th and Kenosha.
The Gayly — The Gayly was founded in 1983 and has since been publishing LGBT+ news on a monthly basis for the South Central United States. It’s a great way to stay up-to-date with off-campus news about your community. They cover everything from hardline news to politics and opinion pieces.
Club Majestic — Located in the Tulsa Arts District, Club Majestic is perhaps not as much a resource as it is a way to center LGBT+ events in your nightlife if you like clubs or meeting new people with an interest in drag or similar events. And if you’re under 21, fear not! Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and are 18+ nights, so you can hang out without drinking if you want. Saturdays are reserved for adults 21 years or older. They also have Thursday Throwdowns, which are weekly drag shows.
The Little Blue House — Also known as United Campus Ministries, the Little Blue House is a safe space on campus, open 24/7. The literal little blue house is the home of Pride, Students for Gender Equality, Head Strong and Earth Matters. Pride has weekly meetings on Thursdays, 9–10 p.m. Anyone is welcome to come, play board games and color, as well as participate in the occasional LGBT+ discussion. Some of their major events each year include HallowQueens and Glitterfest.
WGS — The Women and Gender Studies (WGS) office is considered a safe space where students can talk to the professors and work-study students who keep the office open during most business hours. Both can provide other resources on and around campus, and the WGS classes often address LGBT+ issues. In their office, they also have a small library which primarily consists of scholarly books on LGBT+ subjects. The department puts on multiple events during the year that showcase speakers on the subject.
The University of Tulsa has made several steps toward being more inclusive of its LGBT+ population. Several faculty members have signs outside of their offices marking them as safe spaces for LGBT+ and other groups, there are all-gender bathrooms across campus and certain campus organizations are centered around ensuring that LGBT+ students have the resources and support they need to succeed. There’s always room for improvement though! Join a club or start your own, volunteer at the OKEQ, talk with professors or read and support the Gayly to help the community grow and develop your own spaces where you’re connected and accepted.