Local and statewide organizations will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday evening at the Goddard Center to discuss a wide array of issues facing LGBTQ Oklahomans.
Area residents who identify as members of the LGBTQ community, members of the local group Southern Oklahoma Pride, and their friends and family members are invited to attend and share their views and concerns.
Among those slated to attend the town hall style meeting is a state-wide community education and advocacy group from Oklahoma City, Freedom Oklahoma. The chairperson of the organization’s board of directors, Brett Baldwin, said their goal is to include Carter County as part of a broader effort to better engage people across the state to advocate on behalf of LGBTQ Oklahomans.
“We want to help everyone understand how they can effect change that leads to positive outcomes for LGBTQ Oklahomans,” Baldwin said.
Other agencies who will be in attendance include Restoring Lives, Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Centers and the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma. While mental health, medical care and advocacy are important needs for many in the community, Baldwin said community education is also key.
“Bullying and hate crimes exist statewide and may even be slightly more prevalent in rural communities than in the OKC metro,” Baldwin said. “The important thing to remember is that while LGBTQ people are more likely to be underemployed or living in poverty overall, the issues facing LGBTQ Oklahomans know no socioeconomic or geographical boundaries.”
Freedom Oklahoma focuses a lot of attention on legislative issues in our state’s capitol, but Baldwin said it’s important to recognize that those concerns affect all Oklahomans, and we all have a stake in what happens under the dome.
The event will include discussion from LGBTQ community members, allies and service providers. No RSVP is required for the event.