When Kelly White was younger, she left her small town in Oklahoma for the bigger cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City. There, she was pleasantly surprised by the inclusiveness the LGBTQ community encountered. When she returned to her hometown about 15 years ago, she decided to try to bring some of that inclusiveness with her.
Now, 15 years later, she’s still at it. White is the co-founder of a new LGBTQ film festival in McAlester, a small Oklahoma town better known for being the site of the state’s penitentiary than for its LGBTQ community.
“I think with Pride month anywhere from June to September, it’s a great time to celebrate Pride,” White said. “We don’t have a Pride event here in McAlester, so this is our way of providing a diversity weekend.”
The festival, called Glitter!, opened on Wednesday and continues through Saturday in McAlester, population 18,000. The festival highlights full-length features, documentaries, shorts, screenwriting and more. An estimated 40 filmmakers from all over the country are taking part in the inaugural festival.
Each night there is entertainment, including drag shows. Fat Mary’s Lounge and Cabaret is hosting the event with a few screenings at a local coffee shop as well.
“Fat Mary’s Lounge and Cabaret is basically the only gay bar in southeast Oklahoma,” White said. “It’s such a diverse club, because the majority of people who come here are probably straight. The straight community keeps this…