Megan E. Gandy-Guedes, Ph.D., LCSW

“My wife and I moved to Norman from North Carolina because I got a job at OU. So, a few months before we were scheduled to move, we visited Norman to look for housing. We came from the South, so we were used to some anti-LGBTQ sentiment, and we expected to encounter either neutral or anti-LGBTQ views when we came to Oklahoma. When we arrived, the first place we went for lunch was The Diner. We walked in to some old school country music blaring on the radio, heard some country accents from the conversations of other customers, and jumped to the conclusion that we would just “lay low” and be inconspicuous about our relationship for fear of some sort of negative reaction. We ate our lunch, went to the counter to check out, and I caught a glimpse of a rainbow card that said “All Are Welcome.” I was stunned! I pointed it out to my wife, and she was equally surprised. I mentioned it to our server, who enthusiastically declared that The Diner is most definitely welcoming to LGBTQ people, and then told us all about the fun time she just had that weekend at the OKC Pride event. My wife and I were ecstatic! We never expected to encounter such enthusiasm and support for LGBTQ people, and especially not at an old school diner in the middle of the country. This interaction painted the remainder of our visit to Norman with much brighter expectations than when we first started. Now that we live in Norman, we are pleased to see such community-wide support for LGBTQ people, which is easy to find with the rainbow cards. Without The Welcoming Project’s signage at The Diner, we would have laid low and never experienced the warmth and inviting response to our relationship that we received that day. Ever since then, The Diner has become a favorite spot of ours to eat out and we love being able to “be ourselves” there without fear of being ostracized or shamed.”