Progress is personal


Lance Poston

The Southeastern region of the U.S. is often stereotyped as being bigoted and intolerant toward lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender Americans, but Lance Poston said his experience tells a different story.

“I think it doesn’t tell the complete story of Southern culture,” said Poston about negative perceptions of Southerners. “In so many of the things I do, I find it helpful to not think in terms of stereotypes.”

Originally from South Carolina, Poston said that although his overall experience was positive, growing up in the South was not without difficulty. He came out as gay at the end of his undergraduate studies, a period in his life he said allowed him to discover his true identity.

Poston arrived at UK in May after being appointed as the first director of LGBTQ* Resources. He said Lexington is an example of a Southern city with progressive attitudes. Lexington elected its first openly gay mayor in Jim Gray and elected Ernesto Scorsone, the first openly gay member of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Lexington was also the first Kentucky city to adopt a local fairness ordinance that protects LGBTQ* people from discrimination based on sexuality or gender identity in the workplace, regarding housing and public accommodations.

“This has been a city that has been asking some hard questions in good ways for a long time,” Poston said. “I find this city to be a place with lots of opportunities … in terms of culture and education.”

His primary duties at UK are to advocate for issues affecting the LGBTQ* community and to provide educational resources to break stereotypes and build a more inclusive community on campus.

“In so many ways, education is the greatest tool,” Poston said.

Aside from being an advocate, Poston also identifies both as a gay man and a Christian, and said these two identities are not at conflict with one another.

“I have always seen them as cohesive,” Poston said. “I’ve found religious communities that are very supportive of inclusion in so many ways and look to create spaces for everyone to be who they authentically are.”

Poston reflected on 2015, which was a revolutionary year for the LGBTQ* community with the Supreme Court’s nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage.

Poston was reading the Supreme Court’s blog with a friend when he first saw the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, and soon after he and his partner of seven years became engaged. They plan to marry in June.

“It was, for me personally, a very significant moment,” Poston said. “I’m happy about what that means for us.”

By Cheyene Miller

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