Oklahoma Universal Human Rights Award Honorees
Organizations are underlined.
Nominated by Dr. Marilyn Byrd
Sage Mauldin was born and raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He has been a full-time resident of Norman since 2015. He has a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma, where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Adult and Higher Education.
Professionally, he is Director of Policy at Equality Arizona, an Instructor of Human Relations in the Department of Human Relations and Chair of the LGBTQ Employee Resource Group at the University of Oklahoma, a Human Rights Commissioner for the City of Norman, and serves on the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma Board of Directors.
Nominee’s Community Involvement:
Through his transformational work in LGBTQ advocacy, Sage Mauldin is often called upon to speak at symposiums, on legislative panels, to members of the press, and at local, national, and international conferences related to queer liberation. These have included a national legislative panel titled, “Conversion Therapy Bans: Policy that Changes Lives” (2020), a local legislative panel titled, “Engage in Being Heard: LGBTQ Town Hall” (2019), a presentation titled, “The Road to Banning Conversion Therapy in Oklahoma” (2019) at the International Gender and Sexuality Studies Conference, a presentation titled, “Conversion Therapy: Ethical Challenges and Science” (2019) at the Gender Diverse & LGBTQ+ Symposium, and interviews with The Norman Transcript, The Oklahoman, The Gayly, and Telemundo, among others.
Sage’s LGBTQ advocacy in the State of Oklahoma and in the City of Norman is most noteworthy. In 2018, Sage championed a statewide movement to prohibit licensed mental health and medical professionals from practicing so-called conversion therapy (a medically discredited practice that endeavors to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity) on LGBTQ youth. He accomplished this by petitioning the Oklahoma Legislature, drafting legislation to prohibit the practice, recruiting a legislator to sponsor the legislation, and urging legislators to pass the legislation out of committee. His work in this particular area is historic. For the first time, the Oklahoma Legislature is (ostensibly) for, not against, a prohibition of so-called conversion therapy.
In the City of Norman, Sage has been integral in protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination as a Human Rights Commissioner. In 2019, he influenced the Norman City Council to pass a resolution that explicitly states so-called conversion therapy is prohibited in the City of Norman. Also in 2019, he helped pass out of the Human Rights Commission, and then the Norman City Council, comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community in housing, employment, and public accommodations. This effectively made the City of Norman the first and only city in Oklahoma that has such protections for the LGBTQ community.
The vision of Sage’s work in human rights can be summed up in his own words. In an interview with The Norman Transcript in 2018, he said, “As an activist, educator and advocate, my vision is for Oklahoma to be a place where everyone, regardless of identity markers, can live free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”
For Sage’s transformational work in LGBTQ advocacy, he was selected by Norman Pride to be a Grand Marshal for 2019’s Norman Pride Festival and Parade, received the Hero in the Community award from Free Mom Hugs National, and then was recognized on the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s popular radio show titled, “The Report with Scott Hamilton” in 2020.