— Pinkalicious, a group of gay and transgender people from Oklahoma, is kicking off its first week of its new phase, the Oklahoma City LGBTQ Coalition said Friday.
In addition to the new memorial hall and LGBT cultural center, the organization plans to host a panel discussion on the history of Pinkalikes and to offer support to LGBTQ Oklahomans in their time of need.
Pinkalikes have been a group in Oklahoma since before the Civil War, when Oklahoma’s first monument was dedicated to them in 1869.
But for decades, Oklahoma had a law against interracial dating, and some of the most vocal advocates of the LGBT community in the state were from Oklahoma City, according to the LGBTQ Coalition.
The state’s LGBT community was particularly vulnerable to discrimination, said Kari D. Pohlman, an LGBTQ advocate who worked as a legal advisor for the Oklahoma legislature for the past two decades.
Many Oklahoman residents didn’t even know that gay people could marry in Oklahoma, she said.
It was not until decades later, when the state repealed its discriminatory anti-miscegenation law, that Oklahos law was changed to allow gay couples to marry.
“For the past 20 years, we’ve been fighting for equality and equality and for justice for all,” Pohlmann said.
“The state has done nothing.”
Pohlman said her group, along with other LGBT groups, has been trying to reach out to Oklahoms, but there’s been a “terrible lack of understanding” of how important this new phase of Pinkalis history is.
For example, Oklahoma City’s new memorial will have a new, interactive screen to help Oklahomes learn about Pinkalike history.
Additionally, the group plans to create a book to explain the LGBT history of Oklahoma.
It will be published by Oklahoma’s Pinnacle Press.
Oklahoma is the latest state to legalize gay marriage.
In addition to Oklahoma, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and Washington have passed legislation that allows same-sex marriage.
The Oklahoma City Pride Festival, which kicks off Friday, is one of the few events in the country to welcome same-gender couples.
Oklahoma City Mayor Andy Berke, who has been outspoken against anti-gay laws in the past, said that the Pride Festival will not be held during the first week in October.
He said the group is planning to have a celebratory dance for Oklahomians.