Today the Cimarron Alliance launched an awareness campaign intended to help the general public gain a greater understanding and acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgendered (LGBT) community.
Its sponsor is the Cimarron Alliance, a leading education and advocacy organization for (LGBT) Oklahomans. The group said it is believed this is the first such campaign launched here, said alliance director Scott Hamilton.
The film takes does not take an activist, “in your face” approach, but rather focuses helping straight citizens realize they regularly interact, work with are served by and friends of people of different sexual orientations.
The organization says it estimates about 365,000 Oklahomans are gay.
Hamilton said the campaign’s timing is also related to the alarming increase in media coverage of youth suicide, some connected to school bullying due to presumptions about sexual orientation.
Hamilton said the campaign starts with an educational video which will be posted on social media sites and other available, heavy traffic, online outlets. Cimarron hopes to expand the campaign to commercial media.
Hamilton said, however, there are limited resources to pay for commercial campaign exposure. The organization hopes to establish partnerships and sponsorships to expand their message’s scope to the public via commercial media outlets.
Organizers and participants were wearing gray t-shirts saying, “…and I’m a gay Oklahoman.” The idea is for those seeing the shirts to think of the first half of the message as something along the lines of “I am a basketball coach…and I’m a gay Oklahoman; I’m a doctor …and I’m a gay Oklahoman; I am a grocer…and I’m a gay Oklahoman; I’m friend and your neighbor…and I’m a gay Oklahoman,” said Hamilton.
Supporters attending were approximately equally divided among gay and straight Oklahomans, many in positions of influence.
They included, but were not limited to: Bob Lemon, who has been active in politics; Nathanial Batchelder, President, Central Oklahoma Human Rights Alliance; Tamya Cox, deputy director, American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma; Jeff Riles, President of the University of Oklahoma Student Bar Association and businessman Stephen Kovash.
The campaign launch was held along at Istvan Gallery at Urban Art, 1218 N. Western, just west of downtown.
“We recognize this campaign will be controversial, but the time is right for us to take a giant step forward on behalf of all LGBT Oklahomans,” said Hamilton.
Cimarron Alliance is a 501(c) (3) organization which lists among its mission’s goals supporting educational efforts that validate personal identity, promote public enlightenment, and advance equality for LGBT. The group’s web site is www.cimarronalliance.org
Editor’s Note: For an expanded story with additional photos, further information about the film and other pertinent information, see the June 9 issue of The City Sentinel.