Support, Encourage, Love – Pride Month Series
As we continue our Pride series, our teammates are sharing their stories. Stories about fear, challenges, growth, and the support and acceptance that helped them embrace what makes them, them.
But you don’t have to take our word for it – read more from our own LGBTQ+ community.
I’m Lucas Hill and I’m the Store Manager at #107 – Champaign, IL. My journey with Buckle started back in August of 2017, the same year I came out. During that year I had many ups and downs.
Not only was I trying to figure out college, but what being “openly gay” was like. Earlier that year I came out to my friends and family, but I kept my sexuality private at my previous employers. In August when I was hired at the Carbondale Store, the teammates and managers let me embrace who I was, and appreciated me for me. From Upper Level Management to the Teammates on my team, I’m never ashamed to be who I am while at work.
I’m so lucky to be working for a company that not only supports their teammates and managers, but also celebrates Diversity within our organization. Pride Month means celebrating who you love, regardless of what sexual orientation, gender, or race they may be. Here’s to a progressive future of being “you” at work.
My story is one that those of us living in rural communities know all too well. All my life I never knew another person from the LGBTQIA+ community, so navigating through middle school and high school was a journey that I had to do all on my own. I’ve only just started to understand who I am and that being different is absolutely O.K.
I’ve made it my life’s goal to provide education and a safe place for people to ask any questions they might have on LGBTQ life because I believe that educating others is the step towards acceptance because, in the end, we are all just humans that are a little different from one another.😊
Growing up in a small town in Oklahoma knowing my entire life I was gay was the scariest thing I‘ve ever been through. I spent years trying to avoid it, trying to change it, and honestly trying to hide behind masculinity thinking it would just go away. The summer before my senior year of high school, I went to an FFA leadership camp. The title of the camp theme was “See the Change, Be the Change, Ignite the Change.” The entire camp challenged my 18-year-old self, that I truly wanted to make a positive change in the world, what about my leadership do I need to change in order to be the best version of myself to lead others.
I battled for months, knowing I had to fully accept who I was and be vulnerable to the people in my life. So, I came “out” my senior year in high school to my football team, community, and family. I was challenged by people thinking it was just a phase something I would eventually “overcome.”
After my senior year in high school, I was contracted to travel all over the country sharing my story, how I eventually began to love myself, how I received the feedback from others, and how we all have our “closets” we hide in that once we step out, we can truly help change the world.
Today, I’m beyond blessed to get to connect with people who at once may have felt alone, afraid, or lost in their faith.
I have been blessed to be supported by so many people. People who don’t see me as a “gay man,” but as a man who just happens to be gay. People who support, encourage, and love me.
And that’s my PRIDE story 🙂
Read more about the journey of pride and acceptance, including the adoption of three beautiful boys from Darren.
To read about pride through the lens of a true creator, meet Kerry.
And to read more about our teammates coming into their own, we turn to Tori, Brilen, and Robert.