Freedom Oklahoma

Shots Fired At Oklahoma LGBT Center: “We Will Not Be Intimidated”

"No matter what somebody’s differences of opinion, they shouldn’t be shooting up people’s workplaces."

Windows at an Oklahoma LGBT advocacy group were riddled with bullets over the weekend, according to its director.

Troy Stevenson, who heads up Freedom Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, said that, on Sunday, a cleaning crew discovered bullet holes had penetrated a reinforced glass wall at the entrance on North Classon Street. One panel was shattered, and four others damaged. Staffers were last in the building Saturday evening at about 9:30pm, suggesting the incident occurred some time later that night.

“Freedom Oklahoma serves a vital function as Oklahoma’s advocates for the queer community, and we will not be intimidated by cowardly acts of violence aimed at invoking terror in our community,” the organization said in a statement. “We will continue to act with vigilance and without fear.”

“This is violence,” Stevenson added. “It’s not acceptable and, no matter what somebody’s differences of opinion, they shouldn’t be shooting up people’s workplaces, or their homes.”

The Oklahoma City Police Department is searching for suspects and motivation. Stevenson revealed the center received threatening phone calls about two months ago, when it was helping a gay man who claimed his house was burned down.

“It was a gruff voice, calling and saying ‘I’m going to kill you,’” Stevenson told NBC News. “I would block the number, and they would call back a couple days later, the same voice at 7am on my personal cell.”

In the past 16 months, numerous other LGBT centers have been shot at, vandalized or even set on fire, including offices in Topeka, Dallas, New Jersey, Florida and Tennessee. The Tulsa headquarters of the Oklahomans for Equality Center was hit with 13 bullets back in March.

“This is only the latest in a string of attacks on LGBTQ organizations around the nation, and just as our colleagues did, we will clean up and continue to march forward.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery