The Welcoming Project celebrates LGBT History month

Meredith Worthen, President of The Welcoming Project, at the OKC Pride Parade 2012. Photo Provided.

With a recognized need to increase the visibility of the LGBTQ community in their city, Merideth Worthen and Brian Eddins created The Welcoming Project (TWP) in 2011. Worthen wanted to make her town; Norman, OK, a more welcoming place to allow businesses, churches, and organizations to show their patrons that all are welcome, no matter their gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion or other differences.

TWP offers free advertising and "All Are Welcome" rainbow signs to businesses, health care providers, organizations and churches in Oklahoma and across the world who wish to show that they are LGBTQ-friendly both on their websites and in their places of business.

As part of LGBT History month, TWP is also announcing their very first annual $500 Undergraduate Scholarship.

“The Welcoming Project will award a $500 scholarship to an undergraduate student enrolled in a degree granting institution who provides an outstanding contribution to LGBTQ activism,” said Merideth Worthen, President of The Welcoming Project. “The award winner will be announced at our anniversary celebration in April, 2013 in Norman.”

Application can be found on The Welcoming Project website at www. Application deadline is March 1, 2013.

Also to celebrate October as LGBT History Month in Norman, TWP is sponsoring three exciting events:

October 6: 9am-4pm. TWP Mobilization Day, Don Cies Real Estate, 1203 Brookhaven Blvd, Norman - Volunteer to help recruit new businesses to join TWP in Norman.

October 11: 7-9pm. The Laramie Project Screening and Panel Discussion, OU Meacham Auditorium, Norman. Come watch the critically acclaimed HBO film, The Laramie Project, and stay for a panel discussion with three esteemed panelists. $5 donation for entry.

October 27: 2-4pm. TWP Halloween Pet Costume Contest, St. Stephen's Welcoming Church, 1801 W Brooks St, Norman - First Prize: Vet Care Package from Westwood Veterinary Hospital $5 donation for entry into the contest.

Eddins is an instrumental part of TWP, working with businesses, as a board member for PFLAG and in other areas of the community. He has been in the Real Estate business since 2003 and works with Don Cies in Norman.

Worthen received her Ph.D. in Sociology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2009 and joined the University of Oklahoma faculty in the fall of 2009 as an Assistant Professor of Sociology, elected faculty member of the Women's and Gender Studies Program, and affiliate faculty member of the Center for Social Justice.

Worthen is also actively involved in the Sooner Ally Program, which is dedicated to helping LGBTQ students succeed at OU by making them feel safe, supported and included on campus.

“We need your donations to keep The Welcoming Project alive and flourishing,” added Worthen. “We are excited to see our visibility growing with more than 200 Welcoming Places throughout the world and media coverage on local newscasts, newspapers, blogs, and newsletters. But none of this could be possible without your support.”

You may make donations to TWP by mail or PayPal (

As a 501(c)(4) non-profit, all donations can be claimed as charitable deductions. Receipts will be emailed to all donors for your records.

Those interested in joining TWP can do so for FREE by signing up at