Southern Pride: A Guide to Tulsa, OK's LGBTQ Scene

Looking for a fun, inclusive city with great food and an endless list of things to do? You need to check out Tulsa.

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Tulsa OK

Courtesy of STAN ACUFF under a CC 2.0 license.

Southern Pride is our monthly column exploring and celebrating LGBTQ culture in Southern cities. This month we're heading to the Sooner state to check out the scene in Tulsa. 

A city that allows you to immerse yourself in arts and culture and enjoy a vibrant nightlife with a supportive community sounds like a dream, right? Well, we're happy to report that Tulsa delivers on all of this and more. But this growing city isn’t just for art-lovers and extroverts. Sports fans, music lovers and especially our LGBTQ sisters enjoy an extra warm welcome when they settle in this northeastern Oklahoma spot.

Tulsa was named one of Livability's Top 100 Best Places to Live in America, so there's no doubt that it's a great place to live for all. Here are a few reasons Tulsa is an especially great place to live for members of the LGBTQ community.

Arts & Culture & More

There’s no downplaying the incredible arts and culture scene in Tulsa. The city is home to one of the top 10 music scenes in the country — and the list of famous musicians from the area is indeed impressive. Live shows are enjoyed at venues like the iconic Cain’s Ballroom most nights of the week, with all genres represented on the diverse concert calendar. LGBTQ individuals interested in making their own music can join the Council Oak Gay Mens Chorale or the Sisters in Song, where they can meet like-minded friends and perform for the community.

Similarly, north of downtown Tulsa is a certified cultural district. Art enthusiasts enjoy perusing pieces created by the likes of Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso at the Philbrook, a world-class museum with two locations. Additionally, the Gilcrease Museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Western art and artifacts and celebrates the history of North America. Locals have access to next-level art 365 days a year.

Play Ball

LGBTQ athletes have no shortage of sports teams to join in Tulsa … and the rough stuff isn’t just for the guys. Tulsa Threat is a women’s tackle football team that is team-owned. Queer women looking for a full-contact sport can choose between joining the Threat or getting involved in women’s rugby. The Tulsa Women’s RoughNeck Roller Derby is another fantastic female-forward high-impact sport for queer women who love to roll.

Additional active options for LGBTQ men and women who want to get their game on include softball, basketball, bowling and tennis. You can keep up with all of the local queer sports opportunities at the Equality Sports Alliance of Tulsa website.

Beyond Pride

Hosting Pride events goes a long way toward making LGBTQ individuals feel welcome in a city. Tulsa has an incredible parade and Pride in the Park weekend event. The community fills the streets along the route to show their support for their queer friends and tons of fun is had. But Tulsa’s Pride isn’t limited to that lone weekend. The city holds events throughout the year that raise awareness and funding for the queer community. 

Some events you’ll want to keep your eye out for include the More Color Art Show which is a celebration of Pride through the fine arts put on by Oklahomans for Equality (OkEq). The event features both visual and performing art and artists and is free to the public. The Annual Equality Gala is another large fundraiser that LGBTQ individuals and allies can attend. Smaller events include the Rainbow Run and Drag Queen Bingo. The bottom line is that elevating inclusion and equality is a year-round activity in Tulsa, making queer members of the community feel valued and supported. 

Queer Girl Power

Tulsa’s abundance of high-impact sports offerings for queer women is no small deal. Female identifying LGBTQ individuals often struggle to find their community even in large cities. Along with sports teams, Tulsa’s offerings for queer women include Sisters in Song and the OkEq Ladies Social Club which is a Tulsa-area “monthly-ish” social meetup. The Ladies Social club hopes to offer women a space to create connections and friendships outside of the bar scene. In its description, the group points out that it is inclusive and open to all who identify as a woman and non-binary/gender non-conforming individuals.

Community Resources

The list of LGBTQ groups and resources in Tulsa is long. There are support groups for the young and old, and the family and allies of queer individuals. The Oklahomans for Equality Center keeps an extensive list of LGBTQ-friendly businesses and medical and mental health facilities on their website for locals to use when in need. Transgender resources include a Gender Support Group, a transgender law clinic and the Diversity Center of Oklahoma

Anchorage, AK
Frank Flavin

5 Surprisingly LGBTQ-Friendly Small Cities

Big cities like San Francisco are known for being LGBTQ-friendly, but if you're looking for a change of pace, these unexpected small cities and towns deserve a second look.

Finding a new home that feels truly welcoming can be a challenge for LGBTQ individuals. The Tulsa community covers the basic must-haves with its incredible art scene and active nightlife. Then it takes inclusion to the next level by offering awesome events, resources and athletic opportunities for queer individuals with a variety of interests. It just may be the perfect place for you.

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Southern Pride is our monthly column exploring and
Southern Pride is our monthly column exploring and celebrating LGBTQ culture in Southern cities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annette is a writer, editor and photographer from Portland, OR. Her work appears in a variety of publications including Bust, Red Tricycle, Motherly and Domino. When she’s away fro... more

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Fri, 08/02/2019 - 13:57