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.

Celebrate LGBT Pride 2017 with a new book: “Beyond the Rainbow” by Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace, author of “Beyond the Rainbow” and three other LGBT-themed business marketing books

Check out Jenn’s Amazon.com page and order her book after reading this blog!

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This month, one of the world’s leading LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) marketing experts, who I have known for over 5 years, has released her fourth book, “Beyond the Rainbow,” which ties together much of her previous knowledge to present a holistic approach to maximizing effectiveness within the LGBT market place.

After reading an early version, I provided this short summary review, “From being IBM’s Global Corporate LGBT Diversity Manager to now running my own boutique diversity consulting firm, I get the importance of understanding both the LGBTQ marketplace and workplace. Jenn T. Grace’s latest book, “Beyond the Rainbow,” which uniquely combines practical business strategies and poignant personal stories, is the ideal read for business leaders from small entrepreneurships up to Fortune 500 global mega-companies for launching or growing their LGBTQ marketing efforts.”

What is so special about this book is that it is quite interesting and fascinating. Instead of presenting a bunch of dry facts and strategies, Jenn shares much of her journey as an LGBT professional and marketing guru with interspersed stories and experiences that make you want to turn to the next page.

Celebrate LGBT Pride Month by buying and reading Jenn T. Grace’s latest book!


Some of the key principles in the book (and do buy it so you can read all the details) include:

• The importance of assuring that your motivation for reaching out to the LGBT market are good and that you back up your sales efforts with personal actions and business strategies that are sincere and authentic.

• The importance of allies, and that allies too can lead efforts to sell to and engage the LGBT market.

• There is a respectful way in which to engage the fast growing transgender community. The book provides a good primer on terms and definitions within the trans area.

• The importance of all people in an organization being trained and knowing how to respectfully interact with LGBT people. (My recent blog “Three Key Lessons from a Diversity Mishap” reinforces this key point.)

• Finally, with the recent sting of the killings at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Jenn addresses dealing with adversity and the importance of supporting a community in times of tragedy.

So get your copy today! Link to Jenn’s page on Amazon.