A joint statement from Oklahomans for Equality and T.A.C.O. (Trans Advocacy Coalition of Oklahoma)
Our hearts are broken for the Oklahoma 2SLGBTQIA+ community and for the family, friends, and loved ones of Nex Benedict.
While we are still learning all of the facts surrounding the death of the 16-year-old Owasso student, we are certain that every student has the right to a safe learning environment, free from deadnaming, misgendering, outing, and violence, as well as appropriate medical care.
The persistent, vitriolic legislation and rhetoric being championed by our state leaders are breeding animosity, inciting violence, and harming the queer community, especially our youth.
As we grieve and acknowledge this loss, we are reminded of the work yet to be done because our lives depend on it. Nex Benedict and the countless 2SLGBTQIA+ teens like them deserve better from our state and medical facilities. They deserve the chance to fully be themselves. They deserve to grow up.
Rest in power, Nex.
Oklahomans for Equality needs immediate assistance. We are nearly at the point where we will have to close our doors.
Unfortunately, a former volunteer (from 2014-2022) is under investigation for embezzling upwards of $130,000. The Board has done a phenomenal job implementing internal financial controls (that should have always been in place) to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. The current Board and staff have also been dedicated to rebuilding trust with the community and making the Center a place where every single person feels welcomed.
Due to the suspected embezzlement, we did a forensic audit and then a financial audit in 2023. The financial audit was the first one that OkEq has had since 2014, which means we have lost out on years of potential grant funding because we did not have an up-to-date financial audit. Thanks to the extensive financial controls we put in place, our 2023 external audit came back clear - confirming our controls are working and our funds over the last year have been used in the manner they were supposed to be used.
Oklahomans for Equality is vital to the fabric of the Tulsa community. OkEq provides social connection, a place for people to gather safely, gender-affirming health care, support groups, and mental health counseling. We uplift queer artists, performers, and stories. The library provides access to books that are being censored for students in school. People across the state look to OkEq as a beacon of hope and light when state legislators try to invalidate people’s identities and strip away our human rights. The work that happens at the Equality Center is truly life-saving and life-giving.
If you believe Tulsa and Oklahoma need a 2SLGBTQIA+ Center, if people want the Equality Gala or Pride, we need community support to keep our staff employed, our services available, and our doors open. Whether you have $5 to give or thousands, we need everyone’s support right now. Please donate - every single donation helps.
Join us for an unforgettable experience at the Annual POC Brunch on February 25th at noon!
We'll be serving a delicious breakfast, along with bottles of champagne, mimosas, and much more! You won't want to miss out on the electrifying performances by the best Black Drag artists in town, including Sasha V. King, Drevion Dior, Nalaa Jade, Robyn D. Fierce, Londenn D. Raine, and Scrappy Legacy.
Get ready to indulge in a day filled with great food, drinks, and entertainment! Mark your calendars and come join us!
Join us for Tulsa Pride Bingo on Saturday, March 16th
Stand a chance to win prizes from the Equality Business Alliance, and enjoy delicious food and drinks while watching some spectacular drag entertainment, and compete in our Best Sunday Bonnet contest.
Featuring performances from your 2024 Tulsa Pride King Haze Davenport Jade and 2024 Tulsa Pride Queen Sara De La Hoya, along with Scrappy Legacy and special guest performer
Doors open at 6:30 PM | All proceeds benefit Tulsa Pride
Additional Bingo Cards can be purchased at the door for $5.
Oklahomans for Equality seeks equal rights for 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and families through intersectional advocacy, education, programs, alliances, and the operation of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center.
Serving the community and allies since 1980, Oklahomans for Equality is home to a diverse, vibrant, and engaged community, knowledgeable staff, and dedicated volunteers.