Archive for September 2016

The Nightmare Continues – Five Impacts of North Carolina’s Infamous HB2

Recently, the US court of appeals sided with trans teen Gavin Grimm that he may use the restroom corresponding to his gender identity in his high school

Recently, the US court of appeals sided with trans teen Gavin Grimm that he may use the restroom corresponding to his gender identity in his high school

As a workplace diversity consultant, with a specialty in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), and working with multiple businesses and organizations across North Carolina, I am deeply entrenched in our infamous anti-LGBT HB2 law passed earlier this year. Though it has multiple components (link to the actual bill), the one part that has grabbed the most attention is the provision that transgender individuals must use the restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificates in public facilities.

I have previously written two blogs about this bill
“Why do we all need someone to hate on? … and now in North Carolina, it’s transgender people” on how I believe it is politics of hate and division which motivated HB2.
“North Carolina’s HB2 – don’t boycott us, Cyndi Lauper-ize us!” which provides an alternative to boycotting our state.

Now that the law has been on the books for a while, I am following up with these “Five Impacts of HB2.” The first two are focused on broad economic impact and the final three are focused on various personal impacts.

1. Negative Business Impact: North Carolina has lost millions of dollars of revenue and thousands of jobs as various entertainment and sports events have been moved out of state, and various planned corporate expansions into North Carolina have been cancelled.

2. Impact on talent recruitment: I have heard from several of my clients that they are having a far more difficult time recruiting top talent for key positions, including enticing people to take internal transfers from other states. North Carolina is now viewed by many professionals as a “backward bigoted anti-diversity” state that they do not want to live nor raise a family in.

3. Overall safety and self-esteem of transgender individuals. This state law that singles out transgender people as “abnormal” and “not fit to use the bathroom of their gender” both stigmatizes transgender individuals as well as making them an increased target of hate crimes and ridicule. In addition, it diverts law enforcement from more pressing issues and increases the chances of vigilantism and violence.

4. Impact on transgender children. With a higher number of high profile transgender people “coming out” and more acceptance of transgender people in corporate America, more children are feeling safer about coming out to their parents and getting the support to live in their true gender. However, now in NC schools they are singled out in terms of restroom and locker room usage, and this undue attention also opens them up for additional schoolyard bullying.

Cisgender people (like female cancer survivors who lost their hair) my now be getting questioned about their rest room usage.

Cisgender people (like female cancer survivors who lost their hair) my now be getting questioned about their rest room usage.


5. Impact on cisgender* people who may appear “gender non-conforming,” particularly “butch-looking” women or gender ambiguous people. For example, this law may make it very uncomfortable for a female cancer survivor who has a mastectomy and lost her hair who uses the women’s room and has her gender questioned.


This horrific law has caused so much harm at some many different levels, immediate and total repeal is truly the only reasonable option. And even with that, it may still take years for state economic and personal psychological harm to be reversed.

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Cisgender* – refers to people who have no issue expressing their gender in the typical manner of someone born into that gender. Cisgender is to transgender as Straight (or heterosexual) is to gay

Take my transgender diversity 12 question self assessment to see if you organization is truly supporting transgender employees and clients.

I have added a new transgender consultant, Elaine Martin (link to the announcement) to assist me in providing transgender diversity workplace training, policy development and program management. Please contact me at Stan@TotalEngagementConsulting.com or 919-787-7315 to discuss how we can assist your organization around transgender diversity.

The Intersection of Islam and LGBT

One of the largest gay pride parades in a predominantly Muslim country is in Turkey.         (Photo credit OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the largest gay pride parades in a predominantly Muslim country is in Turkey. (Photo credit OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

This blog is loaded with lots of links – please do explore them!

This is my third and final segment of my blog series on Muslim diversity. In June I published “Islamophobia – a growing US diversity issue,” where I provided some background and issues with Islam in America. Then in late July, I published “Workforce Diversity – Islam (Muslims) in the workplace,” where I discussed three particular items to consider about supporting Muslims in our workplaces. And since I am a diversity consultant conversant in all areas of diversity, but with a deep expertise in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), I always like to include a little more information about LGBT issues within various diversity discussions.

Three main points:

1) LGBT people exist within the Muslim religion and culture just as they do in every single country and race on the face of the earth. Though there are still some people who believe sexual orientation is a choice, most medical professionals and now a majority of US citizens believe it is an inherent characteristic that people are born with and that pervades all aspects of humanity.

2) There is a diversity of views within the Islam community about LGBT and how it relates to that religion. In fact, there are many parallels with the issue of LGBT within the Christian faith.

a. There are some Muslims who believe that being LGBT is a grave sin and against the tenets of Islam

b. There are some Muslim LGBT people and allies who believe that the original and pure teaching of Mohammad does not condemn LGBT people but instead welcomes and respects all. One such ally is Ani Zonneveld of Muslims for Progressive Values (link)

Nemat Sadat in his CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, who's based in London and airs her nightly global affairs show that's broadcasted to 200 million households and hotel rooms around the world.

Nemat Sadat in his CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, who’s based in London and airs her nightly global affairs show that’s broadcasted to 200 million households and hotel rooms around the world.

c. And there are some Muslim LGBT people who believe that Islam at its core is a violent and anti-gay religion that needs to be rejected by LGBT Muslims. One example is self-described “Afghan American ex-Muslim LGBTI Rights activist” Nemat Sadat (photo to the left.) (Link to his Linked in profile). See also his Huffington Post article, “When Will LGBT Equality Reach the Muslim World?”

3) There is a variety of resources and organizations addressing the issue of LGBT tolerance and acceptance in the Muslim community. My own pastor in Kenya (see information on my community work in Africa) received a grant from the Arcus Foundation to hold workshops with Muslim clerics on being more LGBT tolerant. In my own state, the North Carolina based Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (link) includes acceptance of LGBT people in its work. Additional national and global resources and supportive organizations can be found in this short post from “Islam and Homosexuality.”

Bottom line, I feel strongly that all kinds of organizations: companies, governments and yes, even religions need to strongly promote acceptance and inclusion of all diverse people and eliminate all forms of hate and ostracism.

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