Kerry Poynter Biography

Kerry has over fifteen years of experience working with LGBTQIA+ students in higher education at a number of institutions including Duke University, Columbia University, and New York University. However, he began his career in the Midwest at Western Michigan University where he coordinated the LGBT Office as a graduate student and received his M.A. in Administration of College Student Affairs in Counselor Education & Counseling Psychology.  He received a B.G.S. (Bachelor General Studies) from Ball State University in 1996 and is completing a Graduate Certificate in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Among his experiences he has managed a 2500 sq. ft. LGBTQIA+ location; coordinated four LGBTQIA+ Safe Space Ally Programs; written and awarded a number of grants; conducted numerous trainings on LGBTQIA+ and allied issues with faculty, staff, and students; assessed campus climates and services for LGBTQIA+ people in fraternity/sorority life, residence life, health services, and human resources, among others; empowered students through peer education; and has lead advocacy efforts for more inclusive policies for transgender students.

His research and writing interests include the development of heterosexual allies of LGBTQ people, the use of technology in multicultural education and LGBTQ people of multiple cultural identities. He is the editor and author of Safe Zones: Training Allies of LGBTQIA+ Young Adults (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2017), The first comprehensive resource for developing Safe Zone programs and educational workshops to support LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults. He has articles that appear in About Campus, The Journal of LGBT Youth, The New Directions in Student Services series, and The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work.

A free DVD called SAFE on Campus, chronicling his safe space ally program training, was funded in part by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and has been used by hundreds of colleges and universities across North America. In 2001 he was awarded the Diversity Award, by the President of Duke University, which is given to a single employee that has shown a consistent commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus. Additionally, his work with Lavender Graduation ceremonies was cited by Instinct magazine as the “best of LGBT offerings” on college campuses.

Outside of his professional life, Kerry dreams of being a superstar DJ; loves extreme weather and thus would love to chase tornado’s; loves dinosaurs, sci fi, Captain Janeway & Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager, and anything Star Wars; and is a bit of a tech geek. Check out his free electronic dance music DJ mixes “Club Kerry NYC” on your fave podcast app.

Publications/Scholarly Activities

Poynter, K. (2016, October). Safe Zones: Training Allies of LGBTQ Young Adults. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Weiss, E. & Poynter, K. (2013). Femininity and masculinity: An exploration of the relative elements of gender identity. In M. Murphy, & E. Ribarsky (Eds.), Activities for Teaching Gender and Sexuality in the University Classroom, Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield.

Poynter, K. & Tubbs, N. (2008). Safe zones: Creating lgbt safe space ally programs. Journal of LGBT Youth. 5, 2, 121-132.

Poynter, K. (2007) Campus expert: Top ten tips for setting up safe zones on campus. In Princeton Review (Ed.) Queer guide to college life: Everything students & parents should know.

Poynter, K. & Washington, J. (2005). Multiple Identities: Creating Community on Campus for LGBT Students. In R. Sanlo (Ed.) New Directions in Student Services: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Poynter, K. (2004, May/June) Digital video brings lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender training to life. About Campus. 9, 2, 25-27.

Poynter, K, (Producer) & Wang. C. (Director). (2003). SAFE on campus DVD: A training and development resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender safe space ally programs [Motion Picture Case Studies]. (No longer available from Duke University,, 02 West Union Bldg. Durham, NC)

Gray, J. I., Poynter, K., & Zimmerman, J. (1999). Developing a speaker panel program to provide curriculum content on gay, lesbian, and bisexual people in baccalaureate social work education. The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 4, 121–127.

Poynter, K., & Schroer, S. (1999). Heterosexual allies on campus, Michigan Journal of College Student Development, 3, 6–8.

Poynter, K. (1996). Challenge bigotry: An educational training video/booklet for gay,lesbian, and bisexual speaker panels, (funded by a grant from the Chicago Resource Center) Ball State University, Muncie, IN.