2/11/23 Community Submission - "Reality" 

A few days ago, I was called a “munchy mommy” by a stranger on social media and I was confused.  She “kindly” informed me that it was short for Munchausen Syndrome. Today, another person equated parents supporting (though she called it encouraging) their transgender children to Munchausen Syndrome. To quote, “Putting their kids through horrific psychological and physical trauma for attention and social contagion.”  I’m almost certain she meant Munchausen by proxy, and this assessment would be laughable if these individuals didn’t really believe that adults are pushing children to be transgender. Unfortunately, that is the narrative being pushed by anti-transgender groups. Parents and medical professionals are considered part of the problem, and that position couldn’t be further from the truth.

My son first came out to me as bisexual in third grade and his identity under the lgbtq+ umbrella changed multiple times over the next few years.  As a parent, all I wanted was for my son to be happy and healthy. I also grew up with a gay family member and had worked with lgbtq teens for many years.  I was open minded and I often joked with him about not being able to keep up with his identity, but I knew he wasn’t straight. Sometime during the summer of 2019, he informed me that he identifies as transgender and my stomach dropped.  I wanted him to identify as anything but transgender and I didn’t understand my reaction. It didn’t really matter to me how he identified, I was going to love my child unconditionally. My reaction was out of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of others opinions, fear of my parents reactions. That fear is still there and I don’t know that it will ever be completely gone. My resolve to support, defend, and protect my son, however, has only grown.

Since claiming his identity in 2019, my son has made two attempts to live as a cisgender female, both times directly after a breakup.  The first time, I was so excited.  My child might get to live a relatively normal life without the extra struggle of living in a world that refuses to accept him for who he is. The second time, I was well aware that this was a coping mechanism and that he would be back to presenting as masculine once he healed from the heartache. He has been bullied, talked down to by teachers, pushed out of a church youth group, spent countless hours in therapy, met regularly with a psychologist, received inpatient care 3 separate times, participated in self harm more times than I will ever know and now, now he is finally seeing his life in a positive light.  Now he has hope and energy and he talks and he smiles.  Now, I have hope but I’m also terrified, because Oklahoma wants to make it illegal for myself and my child’s doctors to provide the care that is best for him.

I can’t speak for any other parent but I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who didn’t jump straight to treatment when my child came out as transgender. Not only was that not my first instinct, it wasn’t even my second.  I tried to ignore it because if you pretend it’s not real, it will just go away.  It did not.  “It” being my child’s identity.  Months went by before I gave in and purchased his first chest binder. And that was only because I learned about the damage that could be caused by incorrect binding. Every step of this journey has been painful and amazing. To hear people talk about parents wanting this struggle for their children, just so they can get attention, is insane. I cannot imagine my son any other way.  I love him unconditionally but this is not at all the path I imagined or would have picked for him or our family.  It is exhausting, and while I would never want to change my child, I do wish I could change the world for my child.

2/23/23 Community Submission - Content and trigger warning

Trigger Warning: child molestation, sexual abuse, sexual assault, discussion of being groomed. Please proceed at your own pace and do not read if the capacity is not there. 

We all have that one "me too" story, or more. Well, me too. A couple of them. When I saw the post on Facebook I thought…ok here is my chance. My chance to release this from my mind. You know as women we live our lives with an imaginary hand over our mouths. A voice in our heads saying” just keep it to yourself, no one wants to hear about it” You know what? We should not have to remain silent. We should not be afraid to speak our truths. I wish to remain anonymous for my own reasons, but here are my truths.

I can remember as young as 4th grade being objectified by guys because I developed early. I always heard the whole “boys will be boys” and “maybe he has a crush on you” or “just ignore him”. Well it comes to a point when the “harmless words” go further than that. As a female we have always been made to feel as if it was our fault that if we had dressed differently, didn't send mixed signals, or didn't entice him then it would not have happened. That is not true. We NEVER should feel at fault for being attacked… NEVER.

Freshman year. I was out with my friends at a movie, as you do as a teenager, and it was late so the trolley in our area wasn't running and we didn't have money for the pay phone. ”Luckily” a guy my best friend and I knew pulled up about that time and asked if we needed a ride. Of course we said yes. There was a guy we didn't know with him but it was a good friend of his so we didn't think much of it. We ended up at a lookout on a mountain that people went to make out. I was freaked out so when they opened the door I went to hop out with my friend (the other guy had “graciously” given her the front seat) . Well he blocked me from getting out. Tried to climb on top of me and I tried to fight him off (I can still smell the mixture of cinnamon gum and sweat). Had the guy we knew not thrown the door open, well you get the picture. That was the first time I was assaulted.

The second was way worse. This time it was a man. He was 26 and I was 16. He was part of the family through marriage. He groomed me by buying me things, taking me to cool places, giving me money, picking me up and taking me to work when I needed a ride. All the time he was engaged to a wonderful woman I adored and looked up to. She had no clue he was a predator and when she found out she kicked him to the curb. After a time of grooming and gaining my trust he started making advances. I used to stay the night at their house all the time because they were family. He would tell me how beautiful I was, how he wished I were older so we could date and how he would spoil me. I started getting very uncomfortable and told him. This made him more aggressive. He began exposing himself to me, so I asked him to stop. By this time I stopped going around as much. But because I adored his fiance I would stay over when she asked if I wanted to hang out.  The end game was when I woke up to him fondling me in my sleep. I never told because I felt like I was to blame. I never told anyone until I was married and I told my husband.

I have only ever told my husband of these situations. It was so hard to write these words so I thank you so much for the opportunity to write it and tell my stories. Please keep doing this for those of us who are afraid to talk. Please don’t attach my name to the story but feel free to use it. If it encourages one person to speak up then it's worth it.

What's AABA doing in February?

We have spent the last month getting the ball rolling on Pride Fest in BA for 2023 and are ready to keep it going. Thanks to our friends at Twisted Arts, we've been busy learning all about writing grant proposals and how to connect within the arts community to bring the most fun and engaging performances to our events. We can't wait to partner with them on even more things throughout the rest of the year. We've also been steadily increasing out network or resources and are excited for everything that 2023 will bring. 

Here is what to look forward to during the month of February:

Love is Love conversation hearts t-shirt fundraiser opens on Friday, February 3rd. 

We have partnered with MillerCruze Apparel for a sweet treat of a fundraiser. Keep an eye out for the order form link and more instructions on how to order. This will be a pre-pay sale. We want to thank students from the design class at Vanguard Academy for coming up with this design as well. 

Oklahoma Legislative Session opens Monday, February 6th. 

With an astounding 28 bills targeting LGBTQ+ rights, mainly targeting trans humans and drag performers, it is vital for our entire community and every ally to organize and get to work. Letter writing, calling, and emailing your representatives is the strongest course of action you can take. Get in touch with us if you need help finding your legislator, but we would suggest you visit http://www.oklegislature.gov/findmylegislature.aspx 

We have found it to be the best and quickest way to get all of your representatives’ contact information in one place. 

We can’t put into words how valuable this resource from the ACLU is. It is very important to identify the bill you are contacting them about and this is a hub that has every bill that affects the LGBTQ+ community. 

V-Day equals Voting

Not sure what you’re voting on? Did you know that you can go to okvoterportal.gov and see sample ballots for your upcoming elections? It’s true!

MOD Pizza fundraiser

All day at MOD Pizza, in the Tiger Hill complex at 71st and Lynn Lane, you order food and mention Advocate Alliance of Broken Arrow or show the fundraiser flyer (find it on our socials or the events page on this website), we get 30% from your purchase. We also want to have fun and gather together so, if you’re free, meet us there at 5 for an early family dinner!

Launching Dear AABA

Later this month, we are so excited to introduce another support resource on a more personal level. Everything from relationship advice to what to name your new pet hamster… we are here to navigate it with you. Stay tuned to our socials for more details and the official launch date. 

December 31, 2022 - "Year" in Review

It hasn’t truly been a year for Advocate Alliance of Broken Arrow yet, but we wanted to hop on the trend of re-visiting the things we experienced in 2022. From March until now has felt like several years and I still can’t believe it hasn’t even been a full 365 days yet.


To say that none of us planned to be in this position at this point in our lives is an understatement. In March, someone on Facebook suggested that a Pride event wouldn’t get the publicity that other events get from the city leadership. That sparked the idea of putting together a small Pride Fest. Five individuals that had never met in person came together at the Neinheus pavilion to talk about it and on April 1, 2022, the first Pride Fest in BA had its special event application submitted. We held a community meeting at Broken Arrow Brewery and met with lots of potential sponsors and volunteers.


April 13, 2022 – AABA became an official not for profit corporation. Thanks to the help of Kirk Hamilton, we filed and received our articles of incorporation and became a legal nonprofit in the state of Oklahoma.


May 2022 – We received our final letter of nonprofit status from the IRS and had officially received sponsorships through our payment portal with Youth Services of Tulsa. The crew there were integral in helping this stay funded and organized financially.


June 11th brought us our first big fundraiser in the community. We weren’t sure what to expect on the day the Big Gay Garage Sale took place, but were pleasantly surprised at the amount of people that stopped by after seeing our Big Gay Garage Sale signs. I think it was on that day we realized that we could make this happen. A week later, we had our last event at Broken Arrow Brewing Company. It was a very small Gayme Night but we had a lot of fun.


July rolled around and we really felt things starting to get real and ramp up. Meetings with city coordinators and vendors for tents, porta potties, and more, coupled with media interviews made life interesting for all of us. As introverts, we jumped in with no flotation devices and weren’t sure how to tread the water. Looking back, I still don’t know how we did it. July also brought lots of negativity from a small group of people that didn’t agree with the LGBTQ life. People spoke at city council meetings, commented on social media, and at one point, we were advised to file a police report because one man was harassing us with articles about events being met with violent protests. I would be lying if I said we weren’t concerned and even a little fearful at times, but there was no way we were backing down at this point.


Once we got to August, it was an absolute whirlwind of emotions and events. Media coverage only increased because of the very vocal opposition to our last fundraiser before Pride Fest. Now it’s time to meet Drag Your Bike to Brunch, the event that almost broke me. We were originally slated to host the event at the Broken Arrow Brewing Company before they opened on a Sunday. We would have beermosas and mimosas, breakfast burritos catered in, a drag show and lots of fun after the Pride Ride with This Machine around the Rose District. Sadly, we were notified by our partners at This Machine that the Brewery was backing out of the event and we would need to find a new location. The ride was still on but brunch was hanging in the balance. Thankfully, after a mad dash and scrambling to contact other possible locations, Rattlesnake Café swooped in and saved the day. Marketing kicked back in full gear and it was the most successful and FUN event we’d had leading up to Pride Fest. Granted, the protestors made it slightly uncomfortable for our guests and the staff at Rattlesnake, it was still a huge success and helped push our funds over the edge towards our goal.


In the final week, I don’t think I slept more than an hour a night because of excitement, nerves, and anticipation. We made lists, checked them twice, hydrated to the point of bloat, and willed the temperature to stay below 100. So much paperwork and scheduling took place that I genuinely don’t remember the events unless I list them chronologically. The morning of August 13th hit, and all of our hard work became tangible. It was far from perfect and there are SO many things we are going to change for 2023, but history was made. Our community was strengthened, and people just kept thanking everyone all day. We had some intense protestors throughout the day. Thankfully, BAPD and our security team from First Strike acted quickly and set clear boundaries. Mix 96.5 became legendary when they kept moving their live broadcast van to try and drown out the protestors with loudspeakers. One group that was across the road continually shouted to me that I was an abomination and tried to get me to come talk to them. I just smiled and drove by on the golf cart. The event was a mess, but it was a beautiful mess and full of love, compassion, strength, and JOY. Remember us partnering with Youth Services of Tulsa? We were able to donate $1700 to the LGBTQ program thanks to the sponsors, vendors, and kind people that supported us financially. I can’t wait for PFIBA 2023.


Now, we get into the meat of what AABA was about. Our goal was to build a safe place for the underserved and overlooked. We wanted to help elevate the voices of those that went ignored or were continually being silenced. To us, that looked like community events and resources.


Being brand new, having a very small, almost non-existent budget, and still not knowing what we were doing lead to timid event planning. Our first small scale event was Pumpkins in the Park the week before Halloween. Then we kicked off our annual Winter Accessories Drive in November. This is one of my favorite initiatives. We gather as many gloves, hats, scarves, etc in youth sizes and distribute to elementary schools in BA. We hope to continually expand our reach with this project and are proud to say that we donated 81 scarves to Rhoades Elementary as well as 195 pair of gloves, 88 beanies, and 12 ear warmers to Timber Ridge Elementary. Once again, this was only possible through donations and our two sponsors hosting donation boxes at Hamilton’s Bud & Bloom and AfterFX Spa & Salon.


In December, we made history in BA one more time by being the first LGBTQ presence in a parade. It was freezing but we took part in the BA Civitans Christmas Parade and handed out 240 rainbow candy canes and invites to our final community event of the year, A Very Merry Skate Jam. Speaking of, we hosted the event at BA Roller Sports with free Santa Pictures, a snowball fight, gifts for all the kids, and lots of fun. We were able to reserve spots for 50 skaters and their families, rented a photo booth set up from Laurie Biby Photography, and Santa Scott Claus was on hand with Mrs. Claus to take pictures with and throw snowballs. Each kiddo got to go home with a stuffed snowball and a green monster ball. We had several people ask if it would be a yearly event. Psst, it will be.


In the final week leading up to the holiday rush, we were able to sneak in one last donation to Forest Hills Care and Rehabilitation Center of 30+ pairs of fuzzy socks with grippers on them and a blanket as well.


All in all, I learned that imposter syndrome is real, I’m ok at this planning thing, I’ve got lots to work on as far as leading and managing, and nonprofits are a business. I can’t wait to see what an entire 365 days will look like if this is what we accomplished in just 8 short months. I’m so thankful for what this process has brought into my life and the passion it has ignited in me again. Can’t wait to share our goals and plans for 2023 with you all. Thanks for everything!