New Pro-LGBTQ+ Organization, Equality South, Launches to Support Candidates in Oklahoma, Texas, and Other States

Apr 11, 2023

Equality South, a new pro-LGBTQ+ organization, officially launched today. Led by former Oklahoma mayor, councilman and longtime political consultant Adam Graham, their mission is to support LGBTQ+ candidates and allies running for local, county, tribal, and statewide offices across Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama. Equality South (ES) is a three-pronged organization founded on the idea that the south has a deep well of talented, courageous leaders waiting for the right push and a helping hand to step up and change their communities for the better.

As one of only a handful of LGBTQ+ elected officials in his home state, Graham knows firsthand the challenges that LGBTQ+ candidates and allies face running for office in the South. “When I ran for office the first time, I did not receive the support or help from national and local organizations. Running for office is hard, but adding on being LGBTQ+ can be even more difficult to fight for many in the South. We need an organization that will uplift, empower and win local races. It’s time now we build a team of good candidates to protect equality in the South.”

“I think there is a lack of support for candidates running in the south who are open about being a part of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Alex Ruggiers, a school board member in Norman, Oklahoma. “One of the biggest challenges of making the decision to run as someone who is planning to run as an out person, was that there just aren’t a lot of mentors around. So having an organization like Equality South that’s willing to step and say, ‘We’re going to make sure that you have all the tools necessary to win,’” he said.

ES is made up of the following entities Equality South Foundation – 501c(3) pending, Equality South Action Fund – 501c(4) and the Equality South PAC.

The Equality South Foundation: Provides public workshops with the purpose of educating the public as well as future candidates on the nuts and bolts of both important issues and how to tackle them through advocating to local officials while empowering and providing them with the tools to be successful.

The Action Fund: Builds on this momentum by recruiting those candidates to run for office, connecting them to the resources, and supporting elected officials who further the goals of Equality South.

The Equality South PAC: Endorses candidates, provides funding, and helps candidates succeed with everything they need to run a successful campaign.

Through recruitment, funding, education, endorsements, and the provision of a long-term support network, ES will support and elect members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies in running for public office. The only way that this vision could be fully actualized was by creating an organization that is involved at all steps of the changemaking process from recruitment, to education, to long-term support for elected officials doing the good work to transform the South into a region that is safe and supportive for LGBTQ+ people.

For more information about Equality South or to get involved, please visit the organization’s website at or on social media @EqualitySouth.