Happy New Year!! My top seven blogs of 2015

Happy New Year from Stan Kimer, President of Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer and aspiring competitive adult figure skater!

Happy New Year from Stan Kimer, President of Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer and aspiring competitive adult figure skater!

I had some much fun looking at my website statistics the past two years and listing my top seven most read blogs of the year that I decided to now make this an annual New Year’s feature. I normally blog about my two areas of consulting a few times each month: Diversity with a specialization in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace; and career and skills development based on my innovative Total Engagement Career Mapping process. And once in a while I throw in a more personal blog or rant about something that is irking me. (I plan on 3 rants in January so be looking for them.)

Here are the “Top 7 of 2015” in reverse order:

7. The seventh most read blog was actually published at the end of 2011; “The End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – One Year Later.” I summarize about how all the horrible things some detractors predicted never happened, but instead the removal of the ban contributed to a fully open, accepting and diverse environment with everyone performing and contributing at their peak.

6. My most popular blog of 2013 was actually googled quite a lot and finished as number 3 in 2014 and number 6 this year: “Five Common Misconceptions about Gay People.”

5. From March, “Religious Freedom Restoration Act – Discriminatory, Unnecessary and Harmful.” A bill was filed in the North Carolina state legislature similar to the earlier one signed by the Indiana Governor that caused all kinds of back lash. Fortunately, it was withdrawn and never voted upon.

4. After the US Supreme Court made marriage for same gender couples available nationwide in late June, I wrote, “Congratulations on Your Wedding, Condolences on Losing Your Job.” Though now all couples can marry, an LGBT person can still be fired in a majority of US states simply for being a gay or transgender person.

3. A personal blog I published at the end of 2014 finished 3rd, “Finding A New Passion at Age 59.” I share my journey of actually getting on the ice to start figure skating at age 59, and the absolute joy of discovering a new passion. Getting older does not mean I can’t embark on new life adventures!

2. Also from June, I wrote a follow on blog to one in May about a rural NC teacher who read a book about two princes getting married to address bullying and gay slurs in his class, “This Black Gay Third Grade Teacher Under Fire Should be North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year!”

1. And the top most read blog was also the top blog in 2014 and was actually published way back in 2011! As many people search for online resources about diversity training, they found and read my 2011 blog “Three Components of Diversity and Inclusion Training,” where I discuss the three major components required for diversity training and exactly who within an enterprise should be trained. I have also updated that blog to include links to more resources including to a new blog sharing the sample contents of diversity and inclusion training.

Thanks to all the readers who enjoy and share my blogs. In 2016, if you want to be notified each time I do publish, you can like my business facebook page (Link), or if you subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, I include a short summary and links to the past month’s writings.

Wishing all my readers a wonderful 2016 filled with much contentment and success!

My annual discussion on “DADT” and LGBT diversity progression in the US Armed Forces

Major Daniel Toven and Johnathan Taylor at the Main Post Chapel, Ft. Bragg.  (Elizabeth Frantz, Fayetteville Observer

Major Daniel Toven and Johnathan Taylor at the Main Post Chapel, Ft. Bragg. (Elizabeth Frantz, Fayetteville Observer)

I have written blogs about the ending of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” within the US Military for the past three years. Actually, I did not intend to write another blog on this subject, but then I always seem to get some new exciting news around the annual anniversary of DADT’s repeal. (This repeal came in late December 2010 … see links later in this blog.)

I started my consulting practice in the Fall of 2010 and one of the first events I attended was a business matchmaking session which seeks to promote business between large corporations and government agencies with small entrepreneurs. Some representatives were there from the nearby Ft. Braagg US Army base in Fayetteville, NC. I introduced myself as a diversity consultant and trainer with a deep expertise in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), and mentioned that DADT may soon be repealed and that many military and support business would likely need some training on how to respectfully interact with out LGBT people. He rolled his eyes as if to be saying “Not in my life time!” And then just a few months later DADT was indeed repealed. Here are the links to my two original blogs at that time – part 1 about why this was a good move for our military, and part 2 about the training and work needed to productively move forward.

In January 2013 I provided an update (link) that showed mostly positive progress, like studies that proved that morale in our armed forces had not declined as many of the repeal detractors had forecast. But there was also some isolated examples that showed that training was still needed; a military spouses group here in North Carolina denied membership to the wife of a female Army lieutenant colonel married legally in New York.

The ruling of the US Supreme Court in late June of 2013 declaring many parts of DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional further opened the military establishment up to recognizing the same-gender marriages throughout the country. Another major milestone was reached last month in North Carolina when Major Daniel Toven married his boyfriend Johnathan Taylor at the Main Post Chapel at Fort Bragg on December 21, 2013. Unfortunately, because North Carolina has a constitutional amendment banning same-gender marriages, the event was officially a “blessing ceremony” and the two legally wed in the District of Columbia. However, I applaud the US military for being more open and permitting this ceremony on base. (Link to article from the Fayetteville Observer.)

Let’s hope that this positive momentum continues in the US Armed Forces and even spreads to some areas in our country that still do not offer LGBT citizens their full equal rights.