Ben Pogue
Charleston County

“Our expression of love and gender is a critical part of our identity. Without the freedom to be who we truly are, and to accept others as they are, we cannot effectively connect with one another. The lack of those personal freedoms inhibits our societal growth and economic growth as much as it does our individual growth. It is a key issue for the entire state, especially in a relatively socially progressive area like District 110. SC Equality is the state leader in advocacy for LGBT civil rights. By partnering together, we can ensure that District 110 becomes a keystone district to achieve both tangible results and an acceptance of the true nature of equality throughout our state. That’s what our campaign can be. As a Democrat whose success is dependent upon support from across the political spectrum, we can actively advocate for equality without constraint from others in our party. We can simultaneously engage support from progressive Republicans, to give them a voice, and they are already reaching out to support us.”

“My work for LGBT individuals and the LGBT community has been on a personal level rather than a formal one. My first experience was as a Resident Assistant in college, creating educational programs for the students on my hall. I was honored to act as a sounding board and ally as my friends came out in the 1980’s and 1990’s. But during that era, I found that many friends were still inhibited by social stigmas that limited the expression of their true sexuality.”

“One of my best friends, who was married with three kids, came out to me in 2003. It was only then that I realized I had perhaps helped perpetuate the stigmas that held him back, by not being more of an advocate myself. That experience has led me to believe that we cannot simply stand by and think that a culture of equality will evolve on its own. I have marched in LGBT marches in Washington D.C., and gone to Pride events in Charleston. But it’s not enough. We need advocates in the statehouse to ensure the rights of the LGBT community remain protected. Partnering with SC Equality is the way to maximize that advocacy.”

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