Oklahoma City Pride Alliance organizers are bringing events to spaces throughout the city this June for Pride Month.
But even as their exposure broadens and more advertisers change their logos to include rainbows in June, advocates said they continue to struggle for their rights year-round in Oklahoma.
“Its incredibly important that our struggle for equality not be limited to just our communities, and so we’re always thrilled to see other people getting involved,” Allie Shinn, Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director said. “That said, Oklahoma is by all available measures one of the most difficult places in the country to be queer or transgender.”
Oklahoma Senate Bill 2 attempted to ban transgender youth from playing sports this legislative session but did not make it to the governor’s desk.
“Every year, we are faced with bills that try to affect the rights of members of the LGBTQ community, and every year we have to fight back,” said Michael Redman, ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director.
An LGBTQ+ business climate index conducted by business advisory group Out Leadership scores states annually based on discriminatory legislation, work environment and employment opportunity, and health access and safety, among other measures.
Oklahoma sits at 45th in the nation in 2021.
“We exist to make sure that families know that there is nothing wrong with who they are, who their children are, so we think visibility is very important,” said Rachael Leonhart, OKC Pride Alliance board member.
Pride events throughout the month will be hosted throughout downtown.
“It’s really the heartbeat of the city. So, we feel like it’s really important tapping back into those revolutionary acts, what Pride is about, we have to continue to fight, we have to continue to stand up and be who we are,” said Hannah Royce, OKC Pride Alliance president.
The OKC Pride Alliance caps off their events this month with a festival in Scissortail Park, the last weekend in June.