Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) believes all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential. HMI creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth between the ages of 13 and 24 and their families. Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, HMI seeks to foster healthy youth development. HMI’s staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models.

Lillian Rivera, MPH

Our Founding Partner

The Ackerman Institute's Gender & Family Project (NY) empowers youth, families and their communities through gender affirmative services, research and education.

Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT; Randi Kaufman, PsyD; Astin Brown, LCSW; and Ben Davis, ATR-BC, LCAT.

PFLAG Howard County-Md. and PFLAG NYC (families and allies working with the LGBT community) aim to to promote the health and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, their families and friends through support to cope with an adverse society, education to enlighten an ill-informed public, and advocacy to end discrimination and secure equal civil rights. 

​Catherine Hyde, Judy Sennesh, Moriko Betz

We are deeply grateful to the staff of Gender Spectrum. Without their model and their support in getting us off the ground, Gender Conference East would not be the magical gathering it is. Gender Spectrum (Calif.) provides education, training, and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment to all children and teens.

About Us

Using collaborative principles to shape this event, the organizers seek to shape this event as the needs of families, providers and partners, and young people evolve over time. Given gender's multiple expressions and experiences, we seek to create a space that is informed by diverse perspectives and responsive to the needs of those whom we are serving.

Therefore, Gender Conference East was established to:

  1. Welcome families and caregivers of all kinds;
  2. Connect families and caregivers to one another as well as to providers and resources;
  3. Create fun and safe spaces for children, tweens and teens of all gender identities and expressions;
  4. Welcome young  adults, students and professionals to learn from one another and deepen their understanding of gender;
  5. Welcome thought-partners to keep us accountable as we learn year after year the practices that build and sustain inclusive schools, families, and communities.


Our Understanding of Gender

For many people, the terms “gender” and “sex” are used interchangeably, and thus incorrectly. This idea has become so common that it is rarely questioned. We are born, assigned a sex, and sent out into the world. For many people, this is cause for little, if any dissonance. Yet biological sex and gender are different; gender is not inherently nor solely connected to one’s physical anatomy. Instead, multiple dimensions inform one's experience of gender.

Biological Gender (sex) includes physical attributes such as external genitalia, sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, and internal reproductive structures. At birth, it is used to assign sex, that is, to identify individuals as male, female or intersex. Gender on the other hand is far more complicated. It is the complex interrelationship between an individual’s sex (gender biology), one’s internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither (gender identity) and one’s outward presentations and behaviors (gender expression) related to that perception. Together, the intersection of these three dimensions produces one’s authentic sense of gender, both in how people experience their own gender as well as how others perceive it. 

How We Choose Our Programming

We gather a variety of input into our programming through a request for proposals.

​Who We Are