Supporting a dozen (actually more) non-profits!

My major philanthropic work in the Kimer-Kamba Center in Kenya

I am a solopreneur diversity and career development consultant and trainer, and 2021 has been my best year ever. I truly believe that when a business succeeds, even a small micro-business like mine, I should give back to the community.

When I went back and looked at my financials, I saw that I contributed to over a dozen various and diverse nonprofits throughout 2021 in addition to continuing to give 5% of my gross billings to my community development work in Mtito Andei, Kenya.

So below is a quick summary of the various non profits I was proud to support in 2021 with links to the organization or a past blog I have published about them. Please do explore the links!

GROUP 1 – LGBTQ+ Diversity. Naturally since one of my core areas of expertise with my training and consulting is LGBTQ+ diversity, several organizations are in this arena
• The advocacy organization EqualityNC which helps assure equity and equality for all LGBTQ+ people in North Carolina
• Gay Sons and Mothers. I have recently been elected to the board of directors of this organization with the mission to collect, curate, celebrate, and preserve narratives that educate, inspire, and bring hope to audiences about the significance of this emotional bond. Earlier this year I published an interview I had with their founder Rick Miller.
Qnotes, which is the bi-weekly LGBTQ+ printed and online newspaper for the LGBTQ community in North an South Carolina.
• The Trans Justice Funding Project, which I highlight in my 2021 blog about taking action on the Transgender Day of Visibility.
• Naturally the LGBTQIA Center at Georgia Tech, of which I am a proud graduate. FYI I was Georgia Tech’s LGBTQIA alumni of the year in 2018.
• And locally, the LGBT Center of Raleigh.

The North Carolina Councils of Churches brings people to faith to together to address societal wrongs like racism, islamophobia and homophobia

GROUP 2 – Organizations with a focus on racial justice equity
• I continue to provide financial support both personally and through my business to the North Carolina Council of Churches. I have served on their board for two decades and am currently on their racial equity committee
• As a long time figure skating fan and now adult skater myself, the FSDIA – Figure Skating Diversity and Inclusion Alliance.

I applaud and support US Figure Skating’s fund to support figure skaters of color.

• In addition, I have supported US Figure Skating’s Mabel Fairbanks Skatingly Yours Fund, which financially assists and supports the training and development of promising Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) figure skaters with the goal of helping them realize and achieve their maximum athletic potential.
• The Justice Theater Project, (link to my most recent blog about them) whose mission is to produce compelling theater experiences that create community dialogue and give voice to social concerns.

Bridge II Sports provides many opportunities for people of all ages and disabilities to participate in sports

GROUP 3 – Serving people with disabilities
Bridge II Sports, a wonderful local NC organization that provides adapted sports programs for people with physical disabilities, both youth and adults.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers, a New York City based theater which produces shows featuring actors with a wide range of disabilities.

GROUP 4 – General philanthropic work. Since I do have clients in the state of Texas, I made donations to emergency food organizations in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas following their February deep freeze and power crisis.

Perhaps you can join me in supporting one or more of these worthy organizations in 2022!

Yet One More Way to Oppress Transgender Americans – an Editorial

Clockwise from top left: Rhodes Perry of Rhodes Perry Consulting, LLC; Elaine Martin of The Power of Diversity; Ames Simmons of Equality NC; and Dr. Christine McGinn of the Papillon Gender Wellness Center (one sentence bio with links at bottom of blog)

I have a young cousin (actually he is my first cousin’s son) who is about to enter the Social Work Masters Program at NC State University. He is a hard working young man who has worked almost full time while paying his way through college. And he is an enlightened straight white male who truly cares about diversity issues; in his latest graduate class he wrote a series of papers on the mass incarceration of African Americans in the US and some ways that can be addressed. In fact, I will be asking Brandon to write a few guest blogs for me on this issue.

Brandon often likes to send me some interesting thoughts and articles on diversity since he knows that I am a diversity consultant. Being quite aware that my fastest growing segment is assisting companies in assisting their transgender employees who choose to go through gender transition while remaining in the workplace, Brandon will often send me his thoughts along with some interesting articles. I remember when the newly elected President Trump took initial steps to end support for transgender students in school, Brandon texted me, “How horrible is this strip of protection by the Trump administration. So transgender students have no protection over the bathroom they can use now? And pretty much all transgender people are going to migrate to the liberal states where they feel protected like New York, Colorado and California?” (see a full blog I wrote on this discussion, More NC HB-2 Discussion – Two Business Perspectives)

In terms of transgender rights, there has been great progress, but also disappointing regression. Many more companies are now understanding the value of a skilled diverse workforce, including fully supporting transgender employees. Yet at the same time, the current federal administration is oppressing America’s transgender citizens by actions such as trying to remove them from the US Armed Services.

Brandon this past month sent me an article that has quite an interesting and provocative perspective on the recent Federal Government’s seizure of the “Backpage” website, asserting that it promoted human trafficking and prostitution. (Link to article). This particular article asserted that this action disproportionately affects transgender people who may need to resort to more dangerous street work to make a
living when there is no other alternative to arrange work online. See also a NY times article on the shut down of “Backpage.”

I ask, would these two Philadelphia transgender sex workers be in this profession if they had better economic opportunities? (Photo from Joseph Kaczmarek, Philadephia Daily News)

To be fair, most transgender people work in typical jobs, but we still have many in our society, including political leaders, who demonize transgender people and treat them as sub-human. This unfair and disturbing hate coming from national, state and local leaders harms this community and gives others in society license to discriminate against transgender people. (see my blog, “Five negative impacts of NC’s HB2 on transgender people.”)

Three important closing points:

1) Instead of continually doing things to shut down transgender people’s access to making a living, non-discrimination laws need to be passed to protect the working rights of all LGBT people.

2) Ostracizing any subset of Americas as “less than” stymies them from contributing fully to our economy and community and therefore harms all of us.

3) Instead of cutting down and hating transgender people, we are a society should fully accept them and provide educational and vocational assistance along with total respect so they can thrive along with all Americans.

* * * * *
One line bios with links of the four transgender Americans in the photo collage at the top of this post:

After a robust and diverse career, Rhodes Perry formed Rhodes Perry Consulting and hosts his weekly Podcast, “The Out Entrepreneur.

Following careers as a bank executive and as owner of an aviation company, Elaine Martin has formed her consultancy, “Power of Diversity,” offering Transgender Consulting Training and Coaching for employers and their employees.

After more than a decade of in-house counsel practice at a healthcare consulting company based in Atlanta, Ames Simmons moved to North Carolina to become Equality NC’s Director of Transgender Policy.

Dr. Christine McGinn is one of the world’s leading gender transition surgeons, and the founder of the Papillon Gender Wellness Center.