Posts Tagged ‘LGBT Pride Month’

LGBT Pride Month 2015 – The Year of the “T”

IMPORTANT NOTE: Lots of Useful and Interesting LGBT and Pride Month Links at the bottom of the blog! Any many links throughout the main article! Check them out.

The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, Universally considered the beginning of the modern Gay Rights Movement in the US

The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, Universally considered the beginning of the modern Gay Rights Movement in the US


Traditionally, June is LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride Month commemorating the “Stonewall Rebellion” in Greenwich Village, New York in late June 1969. Led by a set of brave drag queens, patrons of the Stonewall Tavern boldly stood up to police harassment.

In my annual LGBT Pride Month blog this year I want to focus on the “T” (or transgender) in LGBT. Why? This seems to be a watershed time with a significant increase of focus on the transgender segment of our community.

Over the past 12 months as I delivered LGBT workshops and trainings across the country, mostly in a human resources professional setting, about 80% of the questions during the “Question and Answer” time are about transgender issues. Questions like:
• What do we need to do HR policy-wise to be more supportive of our transgender employees?
• How do we make the business case to our senior executives that we as a company should be providing gender transition health benefits for our transgender employees, and that medical treatments and surgeries should be considered necessary and not “optional” care?
• What kind of training do we need to provide to the co-workers of an employee who may be undergoing gender transition?
• What bathroom should a transgender person be using? What should we do if another employee complains about a transgender employee using a certain bathroom?

I believe there are several reasons for this increased focus:
• High profile celebrity transitions (Chas Bono a few years ago and more recently Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner) have made transgender people much more visible. (LATE EDIT: Link to this cool Vanity Fair magazine cover featuring Caitlyn Jenner!)
• Transgender characters are featured as mainstream in a more positive light such as Laverne Cox (link to Time Magazine Interview) in “Orange is the New Black.” In fact Ms. Cox was the first transgender person to be featured on cover of a Time Magazine issue last year with the title “The Transgender Tipping Point – America’s Next Civil Rights Frontier.”

Transgender woman Laverne Cox made history by being the first transgender person on the cover of Time Magazine (May, 2014)

Transgender woman Laverne Cox made history by being the first transgender person on the cover of Time Magazine (May, 2014)


• With a large majority of Fortune 500 companies now providing full inclusion for gay men, lesbian and bisexual people covered under “sexual orientation,” they are now addressing the transgender area (gender identity and expression) that may have not been fully addressed earlier.
• The younger generation now emerging into more leadership roles are much more “gender fluid” and not as tied to strict gender stereotypes and roles.

(NOTE: As a University of Chicago graduate I was delighted and proud as am alumnus to see the Jan-Feb Alumni Magazine include an alumni essay called “On Common Ground” written by transwoman Christina Kahrl AB’90 about her finding acceptance as a transgender women as a baseball writer and television analyst.)

In fact, while I was in the middle of writing this blog, Mr. Val Boston III of Boston and Associates, one of my experienced consulting mentors forwarded me an announcement : Dr. Jamison Green, a pioneering world leader in transgender advocacy (who I even worked with early in IBM’s days of addressing transgender employees) has announced a strategic partnership with the Diversity & Inclusion Center to education organizations about transgender issues in the workplace.

Since it was several transgender people who took the bold lead in the original Stonewall Rebellion in 1969, it is totally fitting that the “T” should be front and center for LGBT Pride 2015!

# # # # #

Here are some additional past blogs that can serve as LGBT Pride Month Resources:

LINK to last year’s LGBT Pride Month Blog On the Importance of Being a REAL Ally.

LINK: Five things to never say to gay people

LINK: Five things to never say to transgender people

LINK: Five common misconceptions about gay people

LINK: Five Heroes of the early US Gay Rights Movement

LINK: Five Ways CEOs Can Show Support for LGBT Diversity

A Guest Blog: LGBT Gay Diversity in Direct Sales

LINK: Four Quick Points around LGBT Economic Development

LINK: The Intersection of LGBT and Aging

LINK: LGBT and Housing Issues

8 Lessons in my Journey as an Out Gay Man

A more personal blog as we near the end of LGBT Pride Month, June, 2014. See last’s month’s blog about being an ally that also includes links to half a dozen other LGBT Pride blogs.

Blog author Stan Kimer (on the left) with his partner of 23 years Rich Roark on a recent vacation in Morocco.

Blog author Stan Kimer (on the left) with his partner of 23 years Rich Roark on a recent vacation in Morocco.


In April, I was invited by our local PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to share my life journey as an out gay man. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies united with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and societal acceptance of LGBT people through its threefold mission of support, education and advocacy. PFLAG now has over 350 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states.

As I prepared my presentation, I ended up coming up with 8 key lessons to share during my almost 25 year journey as an out gay man:

1. It is great to be true to myself, and others will respect that. Life has been so much better living fully and honestly into who I really am!

2. Being super nice works a lot better than being super nasty. When my father was initially cool to the idea of me being gay and having a boyfriend, my boyfriend won him over by going over and doing my parent’s yard work after my father broke his ankle.

A later newspaper article in the Durham Herald Sun about out LGBT employees in the work place featured blog author Stan Kimer while at IBM.

A later newspaper article in the Durham Herald Sun about out LGBT employees in the work place featured blog author Stan Kimer while at IBM.


3. Sometimes the optimal time to come out simply appears. Grab it and run! I had not initially planned to publicly come out when I did, but an opportunity to participate in a newspaper story when IBM announced domestic partner benefits provided an excellent platform for me to share some of my story.

4. You never know who is watching and what good may come of it. After coming out, I spoke on a number of diversity panels at IBM as an out gay employee, not realizing that IBM’s VP of Diversity Ted Childs was listening. He liked what he heard and offered me the position of IBM’s global corporate LGBT Diversity Manager, which was the most fun job I ever had!

5. Building allies and not having a “single issue focus” is important. I served many years on the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches advocating for racial justice, education improvements, economic justice, health issues, etc., and even as an out gay man was elected President.

6. As a visible gay man in a leadership role (President of the NC Council of Churches), I knew I had the added responsibility of being a good representative of the LGBT community.

7. Take the hate with a grain of salt and chuckle at the absurdness of it all. When I was elected President of the NC Council of Churches, 98% of the publicity was positive (example – link to Associated Press story), but one over-the-top negative article asserted that my hidden agenda was to visit junior high Sunday School classes to seduce young boys. How ridiculous!

8. It’s now time to enjoy my remaining years! As I approach 60 years old, I am going to do the things I like the most and walk away from any aggravating or demeaning environments.

I really enjoyed sharing my journey and these lessons at that April PFLAG meeting, and am very open to speaking or sharing at similar venues – you can email me at Stan@TotalEngagementConsulting.com

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