2016 Family Programming 

The day will include sessions addressing family questions and concerns around schools and education, medical, gender and intersectionality, parenting and families in transition, legal and research, and family support.

See our presenter bios.

Schools and Education

Make Your School Trans Affirming

Lyndsay Smith and Jared Fox

The New York State Department of Education recently released the Guidance to School Districts for Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students (TGNC), which expands on the protections that Title IX and the Dignity for All Students Act have established. Several other states have recently enacted legislation as well to protect and affirm TGNC students. This workshop will explore the implications of these laws and policies for educators, students, and families as well as best practices. Participants will leave with concrete strategies and tips for making your school a safer and more affirming environment for transgender and gender non-conforming students.

From Policy to Practice: Supporting Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Students Everyday in K-12 Schools

Philip McCormick, Pat Hurley, Amy Fabrikant, Matt Amore and Elizabeth Aaron

This panel workshop explores ways of adjusting K-12 school policies and practices to best support trans and gender non-conforming students, from the administration level, to the classroom, to the overall school environment. Panelists, which include an administrator, teachers, educational consultants, and trans (former) students, will discuss some of the challenges that trans and gender non-conforming students have traditionally been faced with in schools, as well as ways of changing school processes to best support all students. Participants will also have an opportunity to ask individual questions of panelists.

Marginalized or Centralized? Using Queer and/or Trans Support Practices for All Youth

Xaelah Jarrett

This workshop will explore how to make classrooms and/or educational and recreational spaces more gender and sexuality inclusive through discussing the current climate around “inclusive” practices. Our current model for inclusive work is often to tokenize and focus on marginalized folks so much so that they become alienated in the spaces that were meant to be more inclusive of their identities. Additionally, conversations around gender and sexuality are so targeted towards or about queer and/or trans folks that 1) these conversations are never normalized and expected of all (read: cisgender, heterosexual, white) youth and 2) when these conversations are brought to dominant populations, they tend to take an approach of catering to cisgender and/or heterosexual youth’s lack of knowledge around terminology and language rather than substantive practices that will actually change how these young people see themselves as a part of the conversation on gender and sexuality. Their dominant identities do not negate their participation in systems of gender and sexuality. This workshop will provide participants with a set of tools and mindsets to think more critically about practices of inclusion in their educational and/or recreational spaces.

Gender Transitions:  A School’s Journey

Irene Pierides, Rebecca Gloede, and Grace Mauceri

When an elementary school is presented with the challenge of a student needing to transition, it is very important for all parties involved to be in frequent and meaningful communication. This session will present the story of one school as it unfolded in the transition of a fifth grade student from the point of view of the parent, the teacher, and the principal and their work together for a successful transition. We will address the development of a sequential plan for transition as well as the importance of educating the staff, the students, and the community. We will share how we planned for the child's transition with the school community, the students, and the family.

Schools, Gender and the Law

Asaf Orr, Esq.

Increasingly, legal protections are being put in place empowering families and caregivers to insist that the rights of their gender expansive children are protected at school.  California’s AB 1266 and the US Department of Education’s (DOE) clarifications about Title IX protections extending to transgender and other gender expansive students are just two examples of the shifting legal landscape.  This session will examine the various ways in which families can utilize the law to support their child’s access to safe and positive educational experience and how to work with the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights when it is not occurring.  Come learn what it means to really have the law on your side!


Getting Your Trans Care Covered:  Navigating Insurance Coverage to Get the Care You Need 

Finn Brigham, MS, D'hana Perry, MA and Ali Harris, MPH, CPH 

Navigating health insurance can be difficult for anyone, but especially complex for transgender and gender non-conforming people. The recent changes in the Affordable Care Act and different state policies regarding transgender health coverage have led to greater numbers of people trying to get medical and surgical services covered through their insurance providers.  This workshop aims to give the general community an overview of the options available for medical and surgical care, including how to obtain benefits information, get preauthorized for medical services, and request coverage for travel costs. Reviewed topics will include an introduction to important health insurance terminology, best practices to navigate private insurance policies and a troubleshooting guide of when and how to get help from knowledgeable health advocates. We will also discuss real-life experiences and important considerations in advocating for state-based coverage.

Feminizing Gender Affirming Surgery:  Options, Preparation and Aftercare

Rachel Bluebond-Langner, MD, Beverly Fischer, MD and Sean Lare, LCSW-C 

This workshop will review feminizing gender affirming surgeries.  We will discuss procedures including breast augmentation, vaginoplasty, orchiectomy, facial feminization surgery, and tracheal shave.   We will discuss the process of readiness for surgery, obtaining insurance coverage, and operative requirements.  We will also discuss potential complications and aftercare when recovering from surgery. 

Masculinizing Gender Affirming Surgery:  Options, Preparation and Aftercare

Rachel Bluebond-Langner, MD, Beverly Fischer, MD and Sean Lare, LCSW-C 

This workshop will review masculinizing gender affirming surgeries.  We will discuss procedures, including double mastectomy and periareolar techniques for chest masculinization.  Techniques discussed for bottom surgery include metoidoplasty, phalloplasty, and scrotal implants.  We will discuss the process of readiness for surgery, obtaining insurance coverage, and operative requirements.  We will also discuss potential complications and aftercare when recovering from surgery. 

From Consult to Surgery:  What Do I Do Now?

Kaylee Zheng

This workshop will provide a guide to those seeking surgery and/or parents of those seeking surgery on how to plan for the big day. The workshop will delve into topics such as when to schedule certain events and milestones, how to coordinate with providers, and how to communicate with different providers effectively.

Medical Treatment Options for Transgender Children and Youth

Carolyn Wolf-Gould, MD

This presentation will cover basic information about treatment options available for gender nonconforming and transgender youth. We will review the reversible, partially reversible and irreversible interventions that may be offered, depending on a child’s individual needs and his or her emotional and physical maturity. Participants will understand the risks and benefits of pubertal blocking medications, cross sex hormones and surgical treatments. We will discuss the importance of working together to create a therapeutic team to support children and families over time.  

Future Families:  Options for Transgender Youth

Elyse Pine, MD, Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT and Jodi Argentino, Esq.

No one knows what the future holds for their children.  But when discussing medical interventions for transgender youth, such as puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery, questions about family building may arise for youth and their families.   There are many pathways to parenthood, and we will discuss what options are available at different parts of the journey. Creating a family may involve genetic connections, adoption, surrogacy, egg or sperm harvesting, or egg or sperm donation.  We will discuss the medical, emotional, and legal considerations that come into play when thinking about family building. There will be time for questions and discussions.

Gender and Intersectionality 

Families in Transition:  The Emotional, Social and Logistical Impact of the Entire Family

Vanessa Ford, DeShanna Neal, JR Ford, Grace, and Joanna Cifredo (Moderator)

We know that family support is a major predictor in the well-being of transgender children. Many times, other identities (race, class, religion, generational differences etc.) come into play for the entire family during the transition of a loved one.  Understanding these intersections can help ensure that members of the family are positioned to provide their best support.  In this session, you will hear from a panel representative of various intersections in families as they share their experience navigating a family member's transition.  Session participants will also take part in break-out discussions around the topic to share, problem solve and gain support.  Panelist will facilitate these small groups and there will be opportunity for sharing as a large group to help all understand the intricacies of intersectionality.

Race, Disability, and LGBTQ Identities: Diversity Within and Between

Reginald Nettles, PhD, CGP

This workshop is designed to address intersectionality, or multiple identities within members of the LGBTQ community, and between LGBTQ communities and other groups in the cultural milieu. The presenter will provide a brief autobiographical sketch describing his visible as well as invisible identities, and some of the challenges associated with each. Participants will be invited to reflect upon diversity as they understand it, and will be guided through development of self-assessments of their majority and minority identities. Opportunities for small group and large group sharing will be provided. Key concepts will be defined and discussed, and a framework will be provided for understanding the inclusion of PWD and LGBTQ groups as cultural minority groups, independent of their relative numerical status in the population. Strategies for providing support for and enhancing resilience within and between diverse LGBTQ populations will be discussed.

Transgender Inclusion and American Faith Communities

Rev. Dr. Paula Stone Williams

Over half (52 percent) of Americans who identify as LGBTQ claim an affiliation with a formal religion. Almost half (48 percent) identify as Christian, an increase of 6 percent in the past six years. Yet little has been done to focus on integrating these individuals into churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions. This workshop will look at the religious landscape in America today, and will give special attention to Evangelical churches, today's major religious influencers and the most vocal opponents of transgender rights. Strategies for affecting change will be discussed and practical advice will be given on what to say and do when opportunities for influence arise.

For Such A time As This:  The Role of Faith and Religion in Family Acceptance

Rev. Elijah C. Nealy, PhD, M.Div., LCSW; Rev. Dr. Boon Lin Ngeo; Gena Jefferson, LCSW; Migdalia Santiago, David Dunn Bauer

Historically, transgender persons have been the recipients of religious transphobia and excluded from many organized faith communities. Religious beliefs about transgender identity as perversion, sin, and/or mental illness can create significant conflicts for parents of trans youth within these traditions. These experiences negatively impact trans youth, and can lead to shame, internalized condemnation and religious trauma, isolation and exclusion, and loss of biological family and faith community. With increasing evidence pointing to family acceptance as the critical mediating variable for transgender young adult health and wellbeing, finding ways for families to resolve differences between their religious beliefs and acceptance of their transgender child is essential. Representing various faith traditions, this panel discussion explores the intersections of faith and religion when working with trans and gender diverse youth. Panelists will offer resources and strategies for resolving these disputes, leading to increased family acceptance and support.

Double Rainbow: Supporting Youth on both the Autism and Gender Spectrums

Naomi Greenberg, MSW, LCSW

This workshop will present the current literature on the intersection of Transgender Identity and Neurodiversity, with an emphasis on young persons diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Clinical issues that arise when treating this population will be explored with sensitivity and an understanding of the challenges faced by the client, family, and providers. Case examples and examples from the presenters own experience parenting a Neurodiverse Transgender child will be used to synthesize the information. Finally, special considerations for providing support to Neurodiverse Transgender clients will be explored.

Family Acceptance: An API (Asian & Pacific Islander) Perspective

Clara Yoon, Virginia Ng and Joanne Lee

API mothers of transgender children will share their stories of transforming parent’s fear, shame and guilt into unconditional love and acceptance for their transgender and gender non-conforming children and the broader LGBTQ community. Participants will discuss the challenges and successes in building acceptance in their family, extended families and communities. Participants will also develop a deeper understanding of family dynamics, gain strategies, resources and support to create stronger connections within their families and the API LGBTQ communities they are part of or serve.

Dads Do It Differently 

JR Ford, John Ng, Tim Snyder and Rev. Elijah C. Nealy, PhD, M.Div., LCSW

As many clinicians and family support providers can tell you, fathers of newly “out” transgender or gender expansive children often have a different perspective, and a more difficult time, than mothers do dealing with this news and what they perceive to be a major change in their family foundation.  But in the end, many dads are their child’s greatest support.  It is a given that family support is a critical indicator in the well-being of transgender and gender expansive children. This workshop is an opportunity to hear from fathers of transgender/gender expansive children to learn about their processes and struggles and how they are different from a mother’s.  Given how dynamic modern families are these days, this session aims to show how father-figures ultimately go through life supporting a transgender child.

Parenting/Families in Transition

Not Everyone Fits in a Box: Supporting Your Non-Binary Child

Sean Lare, LCSW-C and Shawn Meerkamper, Staff Attorney at Transgender Law Center

Have you and your family struggled to understand what your child means when they say they are non-binary, bi-gender, agender, or gender fluid? Has this led to challenges for you and your family to best support your non-binary child? Would you like some additional education and support as to how to support your non-binary family member? This workshop will assist family members to better understand their non-binary family member, to develop language to use, to challenge gender binary “norms”, and to better support their non-binary family member.

Talking with Young Children about Gender: Institutional and Interpersonal Strategies

Kim Westheimer, MA

This workshop takes its inspiration from a new film about an Oakland Public Elementary School that documents how this school became a place where kindergarteners articulately recognize and interrupt gender stereotyping and fifth graders can comfortably articulate the three dimensions of gender. With the film as a jumping off point, participants will identify strategies to create spaces where young people can be gender literate and adults can reduce gender-based bullying.

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Therapy for Trans and Gender Nonconforming People and Families But Were Afraid to Ask

Laura Jacobs, LCSW-R

This workshop is designed to offer trans and gender nonconforming youth, as well as parents, guardians, caretakers, providers, and other allies the opportunity to have an interactive discussion with an experienced therapist to explore the ways psychotherapy can aid transition for youth and families together. It offers the opportunity to raise topics from philosophies of care, the roles of the individual versus the therapist, choosing a therapist, the therapy process, therapy as a safe environment to explore questions of identity and meaning, and any others. It also provides a forum to discuss therapy with someone other than their primary therapist. The workshop focuses on therapy as client-centered and trans-positive, and therapy as a tool to explore gender as part of one's evolving identity.

Rehearsals for Life: Keeping it Cool when Discussing Hot Topics in Gender

Jennifer Whitlock, MA, LPC

After experiencing so many inflammatory comments on the Internet, it would be easy to explode when somebody questions your child's gender. Of course, an angry reaction can fan the flames of conflict. This workshop helps participants keep their own temper in check, so they can better express themselves and influence others. Participants engage in guided role plays to vent feelings, explore triggers, increase empathy and rehearse responses when having difficult discussions about gender issues. Using psychodramatic methods such as doubling, role reversal and role training, the leader gives parents an opportunity to unload emotional baggage so that they can address conflicts with respect and empathy.

Love and Limits: Parenting Gender Expansive Children

Patrick Connelly, Psy.D and Lauren Picciano, Psy.D

As a parent of a gender expansive child, do you ever find yourself “letting things slide” when your gender expansive child’s behavior is inappropriate? Or find yourself being just a little more lenient or tolerant with your gender expansive child versus their sibling(s)? Raising gender expansive children is full of rewards and challenges. They need and deserve all the love we can give them. At the same time, they need healthy limits. The advice most frequently given to parents and caregivers of gender expansive children is “follow their lead” regarding their gender identity or expression – in essence, to give them sovereignty over their own identity. In this workshop we will explore if and how following our children’s lead regarding gender impacts our ability (perceived or actual) to “lead” our children by setting appropriate limits in other areas such as behavior and academics. The presenters will draw on their personal experience parenting their 13 year-old affirmed daughter and her sister, as well as their professional experience as clinical psychologists providing parent guidance to other families.

"What About Me?" Supporting the Siblings of a Transgender Child

Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT and Randi Kaufman, PsyD 

Having a transgender child affects all members of the family.  As parents and caregivers work to meet the needs of their transgender child, it is not uncommon for cisgender siblings to feel left out.  With an increased focus on the transgender child, the needs and challenges of being a cisgender sibling may be overlooked, or misunderstood.  What do cisgender siblings experience socially and in school?  What is important for parents and caregivers to know in order to support their other children?  How do caregivers balance the needs of their transgender child, the cisgender siblings of the child, their own relationship needs, and the entire family unit? This workshop will focus on how caregivers can support their cisgender children, who are in their own unique position as their transgender sibling transitions.

Sex Talking about Sex with your Gender-Expansive Teen

Julia Stern, MA 
Trans and GNC youth have a right to sexual autonomy and exploration as all teens have, but supporting them on their journey comes with a unique set of challenges. How do we talk about body parts with them? What specific obstacles can they expect to encounter in dating and intimacy? How can we give them the tools to stay safe in body and in spirit while remaining true to who they are? Caregivers of trans and gender-expansive youth often grapple with questions like these. This workshop is a space to discuss how to navigate safer sex, sexuality, dating and disclosure as pertains to non-cisgender youth. 

Navigating Advocacy: How to Survive and Thrive When You are "Out There."

Mimi Lemay, Rebecca Kling and Cathy Renna

Navigating Advocacy seeks to help families answer the following questions: What are the most productive ways in which we can share our experiences in order to advocate for our children, and how can we mitigate safety and privacy concerns as well as the emotional toll of being in the public eye? Panelists who have all contributed publicly to the national discussion on transgender youth will weigh in with their personal experiences in public advocacy as well as share their best practices and pitfalls to avoid. This session will include a discussion of sharing your story in the media, through writing, and a section on legislative advocacy.

Legal and Research

Surviving the Bathroom Backlash

Harper Jean Tobin, JD

What a year it has been! Transgender rights seemed to permeate every part of society as the entire nation was openly discussing bathrooms and safety - but underneath it all, we are discussing the basic dignity and humanity of trans people. We fought back over 50 anti-trans bills in 18 states – so far – though with a huge loss in North Carolina. Now this battle has entered the courts and the campaign trail, and anti-trans attacks are likely to continue for several years. We will talk about what this means for families and communities and how we can all shape the conversation with America to make us stronger as a community in the long run. 

Changing Identity Documents

Harper Jean Tobin, Esq., National Center for Trans Equality

More than ever before, identity documents, such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses and passports are being scrutinized in a wide range of situations.  Whether traveling abroad, obtaining various governmental benefits or enrolling in school, these legal papers play a key role in one’s ability to access rights and services.  Furthermore, for young people in school, on a team or engaged in other activities, the importance of one’s name and sex aligning with gender identity carries particular significance and can undermine privacy.  This workshop will provide an overview of the current issues, challenges and requirements for modifying such documents.  With greater recognition of the gender diversity of young people, there have been a number of positive changes in what this process looks like.  In addition, immediately following this session for the remainder of the day, we will hold an Identity Documents Clinic in which legal providers will be available to help clarify and fill out paperwork as well as speak about individual needs and situations.

The TransYouth Project: The Latest Results From the First Large, National Study of Transgender Children

Kristina Olson, PhD.

This talk will discuss the latest results from the ongoing TransYouth Project study, the first large, national study of gender nonconforming and socially-transitioned transgender children. I will describe why the study was begun, what the study entails, and our findings to date, as well as answer questions about the study or the broader research on gender nonconformity in early childhood.

Support Groups

Seeking Support:  Parents/caregivers with pre-adolescent age children

Melinda Mangin

Do you simply want to meet and talk with parents and caregivers with kids the same age as your own?  Are you looking to share your own story and hear those of others?  This session will give participants a chance to meet in small groups with others who may be facing similar challenges, asking similar questions or seeking similar resources.  My son tells me he wants to be a princess – now what?  How can I make sure kindergarten is not a disaster for my gender-expansive child?  Why are friends from kindergarten suddenly unwilling to play with my child?  What does it mean that my child keeps wishing for a different body?  What about sleepovers?  While experienced facilitators lead the discussions, these sessions will open informal spaces for sharing and connecting with others.  An excellent way to build your own network of support, both during the weekend and beyond.

Seeking Support:  Parents/caregivers with adolescent/post adolescent age children

Lori Davison

Do you simply want to meet and talk with parents and caregivers with kids the same age as your own?  Are you looking to share your own story and hear those of others?  This session will give participants a chance to meet in small groups with others who may be facing similar challenges, asking similar questions or seeking similar resources.  Doesn’t this all seem to be happening too fast?  What do I tell my child about dating?  How can I make sure they are being safe with social media?  While experienced facilitators lead the discussions, these sessions will open informal spaces for sharing and connecting with others.  An excellent way to build your own network of support, both during the weekend and beyond.

Dad’s Group

Enrique Grovas and Chris Scott

How do dads meet the societal expectations of fatherhood while simultaneously meeting the unique needs of their gender expansive child?  What personal experiences, successes, fears and triumphs are unique to this complex role?  This workshop is designed to create an environment where dads can express themselves freely about the issues, concerns, strategies and ideas they have regarding being a father of a transgender or gender expansive child.  Through open and honest dialogue, fathers will be reminded that they are not alone and need to request and offer assistance and understanding to one another in order to better succeed in fulfilling the fatherhood role.

Bi-lingual - Seeking Support:  Parents/caregivers of transgender and gender expansive children

Clara Yoon (Korean), Isolda Atayde (Spanish) and other TBD

This session will provide bi-lingual support for parents and caregivers of transgender and gender expansive children.  Do you simply want to meet and talk with parents and caregivers with kids the same age as your own?  Are you looking to share your own story and hear those of others?  This session will give participants a chance to meet in small groups with others who may be facing similar challenges, asking similar questions or seeking similar resources.  My son tells me he wants to be a princess – now what?  Doesn’t this all seem to be happening too fast?  What does it mean that my child keeps wishing for a different body?  How can I make sure they are being safe with social media?  While experienced facilitators lead the discussions, these sessions will open informal spaces for sharing and connecting with others.  An excellent way to build your own network of support, both during the weekend and beyond.