History of OkEq: 1980 – Today
Oklahomans for Equality / OkEq (formerly Tulsa Oklahomans for Human Rights / TOHR) was founded in 1980 by a small group of people concerned about human rights and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals.
In the 1980s, OkEq sponsored several high-profile social events for the LGBT and allied community, operated a speakers bureau, launched the first gay pride picnic and sponsored the nationally known “Southwest Invitational” softball tournament. With the advent of HIV/AIDS, OkEq sent medical professionals to health conferences to return and advise the community on the transmission of the virus and other dangers. OkEq then opened Northeast Oklahoma’s first anonymous HIV Testing Clinic, becoming a state leader in HIV/AIDS testing and education. In 1998, H.O.P.E. (Health Outreach, Prevention & Education) became a separate non-profit organization. Today, OkEq and H.O.P.E. continue their partnership with health testing.
OkEq opened Oklahoma’s first LGBT Community Center in October 1996. The Center quickly became the focal point for the community and subsequently moved to two larger locations over the years. In October 2005, thanks to the success of the Pyramid Project capital campaign, OkEq purchased an 18,000 square-foot facility to house the permanent home for the community. After a year of renovations and the help of 275 volunteers contributing over 7,000 hours of labor, the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center opened on January 23, 2007.
Thank you for supporting the mission of equality with your resources, time and talent.