Five Intersections – LGBTQ Pride Month and Black Lives Matter

Every year since the Stonewall Rebellion in Greenwich Village, New York City in late June, 1969, June has been traditionally observed initially as Gay Pride Month, and now LGBTQ Pride Month. But this year, all in person June celebrations and parades have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now everything has been overshadowed (and rightfully so) by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. His murder combined with the additional recent unaddressed murders of Breonna Taylor (Louisville, Kentucky) and Ahmaud Arbery (South Georgia) has now led to ongoing mass demonstrations around the world against racism and police brutality.

So I do feel it is important for the LGBTQ+ communities to pause and recognize the intersections between racism and “The Black Lives” matter movement with LGBTQ Pride and ongoing battle for LGBTQ equality. Here are 5 intersections:

1) Built upon the base. Though June is LGBTQ Pride Month, we all must place the highest priority on the most recent events around the murder of George Floyd, and the need for community and national engagement with the never-ending work that must continue around addressing systemic racism (see my earlier blog on personal and systemic racism). LGBTQ+ people and allies must be involved and take action around racism, recognizing that much of LGBTQ+ equity progress has been built upon the foundations of racial equity work. Let us never forget and be always grateful of the path Black Americans and racial justice activists paved for LGBTQ+ equity.

Bayard Rustin was the main organizer of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington on leading gay rights advocate in the 1970s and 1980s.

2) Intersectionality. Everyone is comprised of a complex mix of their own unique diversity attributes, and we really cannot simply separate one attribute of our diversity and consider it in isolation of our full selves. We have to consider our own race, gender, abilities, etc. as we consider our queer identities.

3) Oppression and issues. Many of the same issues impacting communities of color also impact LGBTQ communities. These include issues of healthcare discrepancies, issues around education, economic development and employment, etc.

4) The importance of allies. Racism is an issue that the white majority must own and take strong action to fix. The issues around racism cannot be laid at the feet of black people to fix; it is the white majority in power that built and controls the mechanisms that perpetrate systemic racism. In the same way, the LGBTQ community must rely and value the work of our straight and cisgender allies who advocate for our equality. Furthermore, many Black organizations, like the NAACP, have been strong allies to the LGBTQ community and include our issues prominently in their work. Link to archive of the NAACP’s LGBTQ equality work.

5) Commons foes. Communities of color and LGBTQ communities must realize that we do face commons foes; whether it be well-intentioned people who may not know how to engage us in the best way, or mean-spirited bigots who want to hold on to their power and oppress others. Marginalized communities must unite to engage and build allies while building larger coalitions to fight discrimination and oppression.

May we all work together to build a stronger nation and stronger world where we all leverage our diversity for the common good of all.

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Blog author Stan Kimer is a diversity consultant and trainer who handles all areas of workplace diversity and with a deep expertise in LGBT diversity strategy and training,  Unconscious Bias and Employee Resource Groups.  Please explore the rest of my website and never hesitate to contact me for your diversity speaking or training needs, or pass my name onto your HR department.  [email protected]

Carolina House – Addressing Eating Disorders with a Special Outreach to the LGBTQ Community

Blog author Stan Kimer (at right) with Beth Howard (left) and Rachel Porter (middle) on the grounds of “The Estate.”

For my 2018 LGBT Pride Month blog this year, I want to focus on an enterprise that has a wonderful outreach to the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) community. Our community is now moving from tolerance and acceptance to now having organizations that understand and focus specifically on our needs.

One such organization located in North Carolina (but serving clients up and down the east coast) is Carolina House. Recently I visited and toured their six-bed facility (called “The Estate” ) with Rachel Porter, Clinical Care Advocate and Lead Therapist at the Estate, and Beth Howard, Director of Clinical Outreach. I also interviewed Rachel over lunch.


Stan: What is Carolina House?

Rachel: Carolina House is an eating disorder program, which provides two residential houses in Durham, NC and partial and intensive outpatient programming in Raleigh. We provide a safe and inclusive space for individuals to engage in the work of healing from an eating disorder and associated struggles. We provide an experiential approach to prepare people to return to their full lives. Our original 16-bed facility is called “The Homestead” and exclusively serves women, and our newer 6-bed you are visiting today is called “The Estate.”


Stan: What makes “The Estate” unique?

Rachel: The Estate is Carolina House’s first all gender inclusive residence that opened in September 2017 in Durham, NC. Our clinical and medical team is dedicated to competently and compassionately serving the LGBTQ population who are facing challenges with eating disorders. The Estate is a six bed colonial home that allows for tranquil healing situated on more than 10 acres.


Stan: So are there particular unique challenges that LGBTQ individuals with eating disorders may face?
Rachel: Because the LGBTQ community are so often dramatically underserved and poorly served, very often by the time they get to Carolina House, they have heightened difficulty and are sometimes in a more severe state. Sometimes incompetent and callus care has caused them to not reach out for help. And the gender dysphoria that the transgender community faces may make it even more difficult for trans folks to find peace for their bodies – something that the vast majority of people with an eating disorder can relate to.


Stan: There certainly has been much more focus and discussion lately about the transgender community and many more transgender individuals feel safer with coming about who they are undergoing gender transition. Can you elaborate more on the impact being transgender may have on eating disorders?

Rachel: For many transgender people, they only way they found for their body to match their gender was to starve, binge on food, and use other disordered eating behaviors. Sometimes it is more deeply engrained, further compounding these issues. Getting to a point of recovery can be difficult as they find acceptance for their bodies. The fear of fatness that so much of our society fears is heighten in those with eating disorders and is sometimes even more heightened in the trans and gender fluid community. The gender fluid individuals I have worked with want their bodies to appear in a more ambiguous way, and they don’t have many role models of larger bodied individuals.


Stan: Is there anything else you would like to share, including your own personal philosophy about your work?

Rachel: My philosophy is to believe people for who they say they are, to accept people as they are, and to believe in their lived experience.

Stan: Rachel, thank you so much for your outstanding work with our often underserved and misunderstood community.


For more information about the Carolina House, check out their website, https://www.carolinaeatingdisorders.com/ or call (919) 864-1004.