Interview with Michael Frazier, October 15, 2018

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Beginning of OutSource

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Partial Transcript: Uh, my name is Adriana Sisko and the date is October 15th.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier outlines the beginning of the student organization group OutSource, which helps LGBTQ students at the University of Kentucky. Frazier describes the University of Kentucky campus culture that precipitated the need for OutSource.

Keywords: "Guardians of lives"; Attempted suicide; Cats Cab; Donations; Events; Faculty; Fraternities; Frustrating; Greek life; Hometowns; Issues; LGBTQ; OutSource; Positions; Rivals; Shelter; Sororities; Step up; Student Government Association (SGA); Student Resource Center; Traumatic; Treatment; Unaware; University of Kentucky Police; Verbal abuse; William T. Young Library, Lexington (Ky.)

Subjects: Ability; Administration; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Mental health.; College students--Social conditions; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Discrimination; Dynamics; Food; Lexington (Ky.); Luck; Money; Poverty; Sexual orientation; Stereotypes; Students; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:07:57 - Involvement with the OutSource board

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Partial Transcript: The first--my first experience with the board...

Segment Synopsis: Frazier discusses his involvement with OutSource and the difficulties that the organization had with the University of Kentucky administration in attempting to establish the organization's legitimacy.

Keywords: Campus; Chair of board; Diversity board; Inconsistent; Interviews; Mary Bolin; OutSource; Personable; Unacceptable

Subjects: Administration; Bureaucracy; College administrators; College environment; College students--Social conditions; Experience; Lexington (Ky.); Meeting; Staff; Students; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; Well-being

00:11:42 - Free speech issues

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Partial Transcript: So, with the OutSource, we also had another issue pop up. It--a--caused by the environment, what was going on nationally.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier recalls the issues with free speech at the University of Kentucky in the early 2010s following the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. The presence of hate speech protesters at the university and the policies of the university in relation to the First Amendment are detailed.

Keywords: Anti-hate speech; Background; Columbia Ave., Lexington (Ky.); Competing values; Dangerous; Enforcement; Events; First Amendment; Free speech; Frustrated; Hate preachers; LGBTQ; Limestone St., Lexington (Ky.); March for Equality; OutSource; Policies; Presence; Realization; Shooting of Michael Brown; Trayvon Martin; Weaponized

Subjects: Administration; Change; College administrators; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Mental health.; College students--Social conditions; Ferguson (Mo.); History; Lexington (Ky.); Meeting; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:17:30 - Trayvon Martin event controversy at UK / LGBTQ student dropout rate

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Partial Transcript: You know, we had--we got invited to come to an event and to help out and to be there as guests.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier illustrates the controversy that ensued during an event that was designed to be a venting session for University of Kentucky students following the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012. The toll of being an LGBTQ student at the University of Kentucky is emphasized by the high dropout rate of this cohort of students.

Keywords: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); Dropout rate; Events; Hateful; LGBTQ; Mary Bolin; Obligation; OutSource; Responsibilities; Shades of Pride; Students of color; Trayvon Martin; Venting sessions

Subjects: College dropouts--United States; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Mental health.; College students--Social conditions; Lexington (Ky.); Sexual minorities.; Sexual minority college students; Sexual orientation.; Students; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:21:57 - Founding of the LGBTQ Resource Center

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Partial Transcript: So when I see the LGBT Resource Center, I have mixed emotions about it.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier shares his reactions to the founding of the Office of LGBTQ Resources in 2014. Frazier expresses his opinion on the treatment of OutSource by the university and the struggles of OutSource to get a resource center for LGBTQ students.

Keywords: Abuse of power; Angry; Board; Chair; Culpable; Excited; Figurehead; Hard work; Help; Hierarchy; Important; LGBTQ; Mixed emotions; No power; Non-students; Office of LGBTQ Resources; OutSource; Relief; Reorganize; Resentful; Retention rates; Student organization; Unanimous; Unfair; Vote

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Dynamics; Equality; Lexington (Ky.); Responsibility; Sexual minorities.; Sexual minority college students; Sexual orientation.; Students; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; Victims; Violence; Volunteers; Work

00:27:40 - Saving OutSource

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Partial Transcript: We got--2014, we got notice that we were going to get a new student center.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier highlights the difficulties that OutSource experienced in 2014 during which the University of Kentucky administration prompted the organization to justify its usefulness to the student population. The work of the Office of LGBTQ Resources and other advocates and alumni to save OutSource are detailed.

Keywords: Advocates; Alumni; Aware; Committee; Count; Diversity plan; Ellen Riggle; Faculty; Friends; Full-time staff; Initiatives; Institutional diversity; Insulting; John Herbst; Kentucky Council On Postsecondary Education (CPE); Mary Bolin; Offers; Office for Institutional Diversity (University of Kentucky; Office of LGBTQ Resources; Outsource; Sacrifices; Shared values; Student Center; Team; VIP Center; Vice presidents

Subjects: Administration; Budget; College administrators; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Dynamics; Email; Lexington (Ky.); Sexual minorities.; Sexual minority college students; Sexual orientation.; Space; Speech; Staff; Students; Uncertainty; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky; Work

00:34:37 - LGBTQ Liaison / Free speech incident

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Partial Transcript: We also got another call from Jake Ingram, who was SGA president...

Segment Synopsis: Frazier briefly talks of a new position created through the Office for Institutional Diversity called the LGBTQ Liaison. Additionally, Frazier discusses an incident involving an act of free speech that occurred outside of the University of Kentucky's appointed free speech zone that a Student Government appointee disallowed. Frazier recorded the incident, which was orchestrated by the Baptist Ministry of the University of Kentucky on National Hug Day. The footage that Frazier recorded was broadcast on Fox News. At the University of Kentucky, controversy ensued over this incident.

Keywords: Advocates; Baptist Ministry; Concerning; Conflict; Diversity & inclusion; First Amendment; Free speech; Free speech zones; LGBTQ; LGBTQ Liaison; LGBTQ groups; National Hug Day; New positions; Office for Institutional Diversity; OutSource; Policies; Programs; Recording; Student Government Association President; Student survey

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Demonstrations; Fox News; Lexington (Ky.); Sexual minorities.; Sexual minority college students; Sexual orientation.; Students; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:38:03 - Meeting with administration after free speech incident

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Partial Transcript: The next thing I knew, I was being called to a board room in the Main Building.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier describes his meeting with the administration over his recording of the free speech incident with the Baptist Ministry on the University of Kentucky campus. The tone of the administration is illustrated.

Keywords: Baptist Ministry; Chief of Police; Concessions; Constitutional rights; Deputy Director; First Amendment; Free speech; Free speech zone; Future; General Council; Illusion of appeasement; John Herbst; LGBT students; LGBTQ; Main lawn; Outsource; Plaza; Student Government Association President

Subjects: Administration; College administrators; College environment; College students--Social conditions; Intimidation; Lexington (Ky.); Meeting; Public relations; Students; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:44:24 - Issues with the Student Government Association

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Partial Transcript: The OutSource and SGA president's office was right across the hallway from one another.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier articulates some of the issues that OutSource had with the Student Government Association at the University of Kentucky.

Keywords: Angry; Attitudes; Community; Consequences; Damaged; Free speech; Inconsiderate; LGBT Liaison; Office of LGBTQ Resources; OutSource; Regrets; Relationships; Student Government Association; Student Government Association President; Students of color; Trayvon Martin; Unprofessional

Subjects: Administration; College administrators; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Culture; Ferguson, (Mo.); Lexington (Ky.); Sexual minorities.; Sexual minority college students; Sexual orientation.; Students; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:49:28 - Fairness Campaign

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Partial Transcript: Um, earlier, you mentioned fairness, is that part of the same time period? When did that happen?

Segment Synopsis: Frazier discusses his involvement with the Fairness Campaign of Kentucky, which is a political organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights and protection against discrimination.

Keywords: Agenda; Bigotry; City Council meeting; City office; Director; Fairness Campaign; Fairness ordinance; Friends; Hiring committee; Lexington Fairness Campaign; Mayors; Naive; Office of LGBTQ Resources; Transgender; Vote

Subjects: Clay City (Ky.); Conversation; Gay community; Gay rights movement; Gay rights--United States.; Gay rights.; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Intimidation; Kentucky--Politics and government; Lexington (Ky.); Mutual friend; Sexual minorities.; Sexual orientation.; Tactics; University of Kentucky

00:54:02 - Transgender issues at the University of Kentucky / Fairness Campaign continued

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Partial Transcript: Like I did with the VP of Diversity, I went up to Eli Capilouto's office.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier describes an event concerning transgender issues following the suicide of a transgender student at the University of Kentucky. Frazier then discusses his work on behalf of the Fairness Campaign in his hometown of Clay City, Kentucky. Frazier emphasizes the bigoted nature of the City Council and the residents of Clay City towards the Fairness Campaign. Frazier shares that he was threatened by angry residents of Clay City because of his sexual orientation and involvement with the Fairness Campaign. Frazier talks of the alienation he felt from his hometown after this experience. Lastly, Frazier details the support he received from parents of LGBTQ students at Powell County High School, who were bullied and mistreated by other students at school.

Keywords: ACLU of KY; Alienated; Attorneys; Bigots; Bullying; Clay City (Ky.); Clay City Council; Clay City Times; Connected; Courthouses; Discussion; Doctors; Eli Capilouto; Emails; Events; Fairness Ordinance; First Amendment; Friends; Harassment; In-favor; Issues; Lesbians; Mayors; Mothers; Mutual friends; Opening prayers; OutSource; Outsiders; Police; Powell County High School; Preachers; Rants; Rebuttal articles; Shocked; Small town dynamics; Speech; Stories; Students; Terrified; Threats; Trans-inclusive; Transgender; Uncomfortable; Universities; Unsupportive; Values; Verbal abuse

Subjects: American Civil Liberties Union; College administrators; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Mental health.; College students--Social conditions; Gay community; Gay rights movement; Gay rights--United States.; Gay rights.; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Kentucky--Politics and government; Knott County (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Powell County (Ky.); Sexual minorities.; Sexual minority college students; Sexual minority youth; Sexual orientation.; Southeastern Conference; Suicide; Transgender people.; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

01:06:02 - Changes to Powell County after vote / Views on freedom of speech

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Partial Transcript: I cannot express what their vote symbolized to people there.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier describes some of the changes that Powell County experienced after the failed city council Fairness Ordinance vote. Frazier then provides his opinions of free speech and the First Amendment.

Keywords: Accents; Alienated; Busy; Dry county; Fairness ordinance; First Amendment; Free speech; Friends; Hometown; Impact; Interconnected; LGBTQ; OutSource; Progressive; Vote; Wet county

Subjects: Changes; Clay City (Ky.); Culture; Gay community; Gay rights movement; Gay rights--United States.; Gay rights.; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Kentucky--Politics and government; Powell County (Ky.); Sexual minorities.; Sexual orientation.; Stereotypes

01:10:01 - Threats to OutSource / Failings of OutSource

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Partial Transcript: We all sat around because we were told we might have to get rid of Lance.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier talks about a threat to OutSource following a Tennessee law that prohibited the funding of LGBT offices at public universities. Frazier also lists some of the shortcomings of OutSource throughout the years, and provides a few solutions to correcting these issues.

Keywords: Board of Trustees; Changes; Connections; Different; Failures; Fight; Full-time position; Hiring practices; Honors Program Director; Inviting; LGBTQ Offices; Morality; More intentional; Necessity; Non-discrimination policy; OutSource; Policy; Programming; Shortcomings; Solutions; Trans-inclusive; Transgender

Subjects: College administrators; College environment; College students--Attitudes.; College students--Social conditions; Keeneland (Lexington, Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Meeting; Sexual minorities.; Sexual minority college students; Sexual orientation.; Students; Tennessee; Threats; Universities and colleges--Administration.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

01:15:27 - Changes to the LGBTQ community

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Partial Transcript: I have some other questions leftover from last time that I'd like to pose to you--

Segment Synopsis: Frazier articulates some of the changes that have occurred to the LGBTQ community throughout the years.

Keywords: "White-centric"; Action; Breaking down stereotypes; Campaigns; City community; Cliquey; Community; Elitism; Feminine issues; Fundraisers; Gender stereotypes; Identities; Improving; Inclusiveness; Inner criticism; Inter-group divisions; Internal racism; Intersectionality; LGBTQ community; Mentality; Observation; Organizations; Preservation; Problem; Progressing; Rivalry; Trans-inclusive; Tribal; University life

Subjects: Ageism; Blessed; Change; Criticism; Discussion; Gay community; Gay rights movement; Gay rights--United States.; Gay rights.; Generations; History; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Kentucky--Politics and government; Lexington, (Ky.); Marketing; Money; Respect; Sexual minorities.; Sexual orientation.; Social media; Stereotypes; Students; University of Kentucky

01:28:27 - Coming out and identity / Gay stereotypes

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Partial Transcript: Um, so I know that coming out is a perpetual process.

Segment Synopsis: Frazier discusses his identity and his difficulties with coming out. Frazier also explains how coming out is a perpetual process for him. Frazier then details the common gay stereotype and how it is sometimes problematic to overcome this stereotype, especially in Kentucky.

Keywords: Authentic self; Canvassing; Eastern Kentucky; Internal; Jim Gray; Male; Perpetual battle; Perpetuating; Problems; Selfish; Senate; Social circles; Straight; Struggle

Subjects: Body image; Clay City (Ky.); Climate; Coming out (Sexual orientation); Conservative; Conversation; Culture; Gay community; Gay men; Home; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Powell County (Ky.); Proud; Sexual minorities.; Sexual orientation.; Stereotypes

01:33:42 - Hope for the future

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Partial Transcript: So, last one is, what gives you hope for the future?

Segment Synopsis: Frazier explains what makes him hopeful for the future, which is the increasing unity and inclusive nature of the LGBTQ community.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Collective; Community; Community organizations; Complaining; Conflict; Dedication; Disagree; Ernesto Scorsone; Federal judges; Future; Impact; Impatient; Internal fighting; Internship; Issues; LGBTQ; Motivation; Office of LGBTQ Resources; Outspoken; Powerful; Together; Unity

Subjects: Ability; Experience; Fleming County (Ky.); Gay community; Homosexuality--Social aspects.; Hope; Inspiration; Menifee County (Ky.); Powell County (Ky.); Sacrifice; Sexual minorities.; Sexual orientation.; Undergraduate; Unique