Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’

Veteran’s Day 2017 Blog – Comprehensive Coordinated Support for Our Veterans

Photo sources: The C-Square and myreporter.com

Please do share this blog with a veteran or their family member who can use many of the useful links to help find needed services!

Within the diversity and inclusion sphere, Veterans are very often included as a key diversity constituency. Many companies do have Veterans groups within their portfolio of Employee Resource Groups and hiring initiatives to support veterans. And veterans are also one of those diversity groups that truly intersects all the others: gender, race, LGBT and certainly people with disabilities given the physical and mental challenges many veterans face when returning home.

There years ago I was pleased to publish the blog, “The Value of Hiring our Veterans.” And I was proud to share that I was now a member of the North Carolina Governor’s Working Group on Veterans, Service Members and Their Families. And I was pleased to present “Introduction to LGBT Considerations in Mental Health Challenges,” at the May, 2015 working group meeting. It is important to note that our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service members serving our country truly deserve the same respect and support as all veterans.

At our most recent working group meeting in October, Ilario Pantano, formerly the State of North Carolina’s Director of Veteran Affairs and now Senior Director for Community Services with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) presented a stirring overview of the excellent progress over the past three years and the importance of our work.

What is special about what the working group, NCServes, AmericaServes and the Institute for Veteran and Military Families? Over the past three years, these teams have worked together to foster networking across the many different private and governmental agencies that support veterans in many different ways.

The NC Vets Resource Guide is published annual with scores of various resources with contacts for assistance.

There is certainly no lack of resources and efforts to support veterans in areas such as physical and mental rehabilitation, transitioning into civilian employment, housing and food needs, and more. But the top challenge for veterans, according to recent surveys, is knowing exactly where to go for assistance with particular issues. So providing a comprehensive resource like the 130+ page NC Vets Resource Guide is helping speed matching veteran needs to the best resources.

Ilario, in addition to reminding us that each person’s contribution to this effort, even in saving a single life, is so valuable, provided a 5 point outline for how NC Serves and the IVMF.
Build a community effort to coordinate services
Sustain by continually enlisting support from public and private stakeholders
Partnering which expands the impact of each individual effort
Pioneer by evolving into the broadest set of state and local support services
Transform by enhancing the technological support mechanisms to effectively serve more people most effectively.

It is great to see a community come together and work to share across various initiatives instead of remaining siloed. This is a great example of how networking and team work can make all parties involved more effective. I am proud to be a part of this effort.

“Getting Up” From a Life of Hiding and Deception

The joy of “getting up” to live an honest and authentic life clearly shows in Jim Manchester’s brilliant smile.

This is now my seventh monthly “Get Up” blog based on US Figure Skating’s popular “Get Up” campaign which shares the message that life, like the ice, is hard, and we can certainly fall on it. But the more times we get up and persevere, the stronger we become.

So often we can fall down in our lives by living in a web of hiding and deception where we are not totally honest with ourselves and others. Getting up and moving into a life of integrity and honesty can be so empowering and fulfilling. I would like to share the story of a close friend, Jim Manchester, who actually created and maintains my business website.

Jim shares, “After trying to live 45 years of my life pretending to be a straight married man for 15+ years and making huge mistakes along the way, that double life simply caught up with me in a disastrous way. I had been afraid that I would lose my 4 close friends if they knew I was gay. In fact, I did lose 3 of them and the other one moved away.

“But after much therapy and recovery counseling, I started living a fully-integrated life and found appropriate role models in the gay community – one of whom was Stan Kimer. They all became close friends and confidants. I intentionally changed my old decision-making habits and undertook a new journey in life. They helped me realize that my purpose in life was to help build and encourage close LGBTQA communities that would allow others like me to thrive. I redirected my business efforts – along with everything else I do in life – toward that model.

“One very important step was taking full responsibility for my past actions and decisions and realizing that I need to take the steps to change my direction. So now at almost age 65, I have so much business in my web design, social media promotion, and smartphone app development business (IYI Creative – link) that I must schedule new clients into my available time. And instead of just 4 close friends, I now have hundreds of them.

Jim delivering a toast at a wedding among several dozen friends he made while rebuilding his life.

“In addition, I offer my professional services to many Community organizations who supported me in my new journey such as the LGBT Center of Raleigh, St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church, the Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina, Crape Myrtle Festival, and the Raleigh Business and Professional Network – Raleigh’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

“I owe all of that to the hard work it took to change old patterns of secrecy and deception, and to the people who helped guide me through my own process of ‘Getting Up.’”

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To read my 6 other “Get Up” blogs, link to my figure skating blog page.

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