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Written by: Maggie Green
Training and Outreach Coordinator
She / They

A few weeks after joining the team at Amplify, I drove back to my hometown in Western Oklahoma for a Pride event. As soon as I got there, a family friend began pulling me from booth to booth, saying with glee, “Do you remember Maggie, Robin and Bobby’s kid? Well, they’re working in sex ed up in Tulsa now.” It’s clear to me now, as it was clear to me then, that the 2SLGBTQ+ community truly understands the importance of sexual health as a cornerstone of wellbeing.  

The 2SLGBTQ+ community has historically been excluded from public health institutions. Only 50 years ago, being 2SLGBTQ+ was classified as a mental illness. Even more recently than that, the 2SLGBTQ+ community suffered countless deaths during the HIV/AIDS epidemic while people in positions of power allowed the epidemic to continue. Despite (or maybe because of) these significant adversities, the 2SLGBTQ+ community makes it a point to amplify sexual health through education, community building, and advocacy. 

A few months ago, a gay man at an Amplify event told me he wished he could have had inclusive sex education when he was in school. The unfortunate reality is that, even now, 2SLGBTQ+ young people are not always included in sex ed programs. As a queer person in the sexual health field, though, I felt immediately welcomed when I heard the gender inclusive language that Tulsa sex educators use when they talk about relationships, bodies, and resources. These educators effortlessly champion inclusivity to ensure that 2SLGBTQ+ people are not an afterthought. They are included and welcome in every lesson and in every classroom, always.*  

There are a myriad of organizations here in Tulsa that can provide that welcoming inclusion for 2SLGBTQ+ people! Youth Services of Tulsa’s GSA programs help 2SLGBTQ+ young people feel safe and affirmed. Black Queer Tulsa hosts community events and programming that brings awareness, inclusion, and safe spaces for a stronger community. Freedom Oklahoma keeps our community updated on policies, current events, and available resources in Oklahoma. Oklahomans for Equality and the Prism Project advocate for and support equality initiatives to improve the 2SLGBTQ+ experience in Tulsa and Oklahoma. These organizations are a great source of community building, and they can also help 2SLGBTQ+ people and their loved ones to get connected with resources and educational opportunities. 

At one of our Parent and Trusted Adult Group meetings, one of the members said that advocacy means listening to the people you advocate for. This comment really stuck with me. Maybe that means calling elected officials or volunteering or educating your social circle. Or maybe it means being a support system when 2SLGBTQ+ people feel disheartened. For 2SLGBTQ+ people, your voice and your commitment are no small thing. It is a promise of a better future for 2SLGBTQ+ Oklahomans and the action needed to make it a reality. 

Going to the Western Oklahoma Pride event reminded me of the importance of community for 2SLGBTQ+ people, especially in areas that are less supportive. That event in Western Oklahoma was important to me because I never thought I would see it happen. I didn’t have inclusive sex education. I didn’t have a 2SLGBTQ+ community to lean on, and I didn’t have much hope that people in positions of power would take action to protect 2SLGBTQ+ people. But I knew then, and I know now, that our state is better, kinder, and brighter when 2SLGBTQ+ people are truly welcomed here. There is no magic phrase or checklist that I can give you to set you on the path for the progress we are seeking. I can only echo the community members at the heart of this work – listen to 2SLGBTQ+ people when they emphasize the importance of inclusive sex education and affirming communities. That’s why I stay in Oklahoma when things feel hard, and it’s why I do the work that I do. 

Happy Pride Month!

Maggie Green

*Despite policies by the Oklahoma State Department of Education that may make schools less safe for 2SLGBTQ+ youth, sex educators are an inclusive and affirming trusted adult.  

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