Introducing a cool new organization: “Gay Sons and Mothers” and founder Rick Miller!

I got introduced to “Gay Sons and Mothers” through my friendship with out Olympian figure skater Adam Rippon and his mother Kelly.

As a diversity consultant and trainer with several areas of deep expertise including LGBTQ+, I always enjoy discovering new groups that are doing innovative work within the diversity and inclusion space. And recently I discovered this unique organization focusing on the relationships between gay sons and their mothers. I thank Kelly Rippon, mother of Olympian figure skater Adam Rippon, who invited me to a webinar discussion on her new book “Parent Up,” with Gay Sons and Mothers’ founder Rick Miller. Please enjoy this brief introductory interview I recently had with Rick:

STAN: First Rick, can you tell us a little about yourself?

RICK: I am a gay man, who was the youngest of three kids , and used my status of mom’s favorite with my siblings throughout our growing up years, and maybe into adulthood as well. On a more serious note, I am also a psychotherapist, author and Executive Director of the nonprofit Gay Sons and Mothers.

Gay Sons and Mothers founder Rick Miller


STAN: What inspired you to start “Gay Sons and Mothers?”

RICK: Aside from wanting to share my special status with the world, while writing a book for mental health and medical providers about working with gay men, I was surprised to see that no literature about this topic existed about this. I decided that I wanted to share the message with people of all cultures, races and ethnic groups that a mother can be a savior to her gay son. This is especially important since historically, in the psychiatric and medical field, mothers were often blamed for making their sons gay.


STAN: What exactly is the mission of “Gay Sons and Mothers?” What do you hope to accomplish?

RICK: The mission for Gay Sons and Mother is to collect, curate, celebrate, and preserve narratives that educate, inspire, and bring hope to audiences about the significance of this emotional bond.


STAN: What kinds of programs and resources does “Gay Sons and Mothers” offer?

RICK: We offer education via workshops and lectures at the workplace or community settings, we share videos through our social media pages and Youtube page, we hold special live events throughout the year sharing how this unique mother son bond is profoundly significant in promoting LGBTQ+ acceptance, and we also provide support to individuals struggling with being gay or having gay family members community members.

 

My own loving mother and I enjoying dinner and wine while attending a figure skating competition.

STAN: Would you like to share an example of a positive impact that “Gay Sons and Mothers” has had?

RICK: One of the stories I feel most proud about is how a teenager in high school was leery to come out to his class mates, and his mom who he had already come out to and was affirming, suggested he chat with me and follow our instagram page. From seeing our posts, he was brave enough to build up his courage and come out to his classmates! I consider this a triumph!

Another incredible story which was beyond moving was that a 74 year old psychiatrist who lived in CA drove 7 hours to attend my Gay Sons and Mothers workshop at an international conference, and said “I never ever thought I would say this out loud in my lifetime, I am a 74 year old man who has never told anybody else before this moment, that I am gay!”

Rick Miller with his loving mother


STAN: Do spend full time with “Gay Sons and Mothers,” or do you have another vocation?

RICK: It feels like running gay sons and mothers is a full time job because it is always in my mind and the energy behind it is positive and exciting. But, actually, I work full time in my psychotherapy practice and my writing!


STAN: How can people learn more about “Gay Sons and Mothers” and how can they be in touch with you? Are there ways people can support this work?

RICK: Please follow us on Instagram or Facebook gaysonsandmothers, or visit us at our website www.gaysonsandmothers.org, or view a sample of our videos on our Youtube channel Gay Sons and Mothers and view our playlist content. Or I can be reached directly at [email protected]


STAN: Is there anything else you would like to share?

RICK: Just reminder to share your love with your mom, or if you are a mom, with your children!

STAN: Thank you for this inspiring chat! I love what you are doing to bring love and understanding into our world, and I wish you and Gay Sons and Mothers the very best of success.

LGBTQ+ Workplace Equity Toolkit Launching February 2020 with a Training of Trainers Session!

Coming very soon! A turnkey open source LGBTQ+ Workplace Equity Training Solution to empower employees to provide meaningful training and dialogue within their companies.

NOTE: This blog is loaded with links – do explore them.

In January, I wrote a blog (link) about a project coordinated by Pride in the Triangle, a collaboration of Triangle, NC area LGBTQ+ employees and allies from various corporations coming together to share best practices, work together on LGBTQ+ issues in our corporations and in North Carolina, and network with other out employees and allies. You can link to this initial blog to get:
• The history of the project
• The goals of the LGBTQ+ Workplace Equity Toolkit
• The contents of this total turnkey solution which will enable LGBTQ+ employees to set up and provide high quality trainings in their organizations.

We have also been actively soliciting sponsors to underwrite this work, and we thank these 5 generous sponsors:
• GOLD: SAS Institute and RTI International
• SILVER: BlueCross BlueShield NC, Dude Solutions and RW Baird – The Allman Bobbie Group

NOTE: Even though we are “Pride in the Triangle” in North Carolina, corporate sponsorship is welcomed from anywhere and you can still come to our area for the two-day “trainer of trainers.”

And though we have not reached our fundraising goal and still welcome additional sponsors, we have enough to start the work and commit to holding our training of trainers session on the SAS Institute Campus in Cary, North Carolina February 4 – 5, 2020.

Katherine Turner (left) of Global Citizen, LLC and myself from Total Engagement Consulting have been engaged to develop the toolkit and hold the trainer of trainers session.

The Training of Trainers, facilitated by Katherine Turner of Global Citizen, LLC and myself will be a robust 2-day training that will include:
• An overview of effective training skills
• A review of all the materials in the toolkit including going through all the slides
• “Teach backs” where participants will present parts of the presentation and give and receive feedback from other participants
• How to plan a session in your company, including engaging leadership, inviting employees, setting up a session timeline and more.

In addition to seats in the class being provided to the sponsors, we now have opened up registration to everyone. There is a class fee sliding scale from $449 – $849 based on non-profit / profit status and size of company. A $100 early bird discount is offered to all who register by October 31st. Check out the Registration Link for more details.

Space is limited, so do consider becoming a sponsor or enrolling in this training soon!

Please contact me to become a toolkit sponsor, or if you like to fund a scholarship to someone who may be unable to afford the fee. [email protected] 919-787-7315