The second annual Gender Conference East, a gathering aimed at supporting children and youth across the gender spectrum as well as their families and the professionals working with them, is scheduled to take place Nov. 13-14 at the Radisson North Baltimore Hotel, 2004 Greenspring Dr. in Lutherville-Timonium.
The conference is co-sponsored by Gender Spectrum, PFLAG-Howard County, the Ackerman Institute’s Gender and Family Project, and is joined this year by FreeState Legal Project and Chase Brexton’s LGBT Health Resource Center (LHRC). It will be divided into two segments: a Professional Day on Friday, Nov. 13 and a Family Day on Saturday, Nov. 14.
The Professional Day activities will include workshops, discussions and networking for education, legal, medical, mental health, and social service professionals to better understand serving transgender youth. The workshops will include: “Schools in Transition” and “Family Acceptance and Rejection Panel.”
In addition, there will be a networking happy hour for professionals who want to linger and discuss their learning and cement new contacts and a meet and greet for families travelling from out of town. In 2014, 150 professionals participated and 250 are expected this year.
The Family and Youth day offers tracks for the kids and workshops for the parents. Workshops include: “Teen-2-Parent/Parent-2-Teen: Opening the Door for Dialogue” and “Bringing Our Whole Selves to the Table: A Panel of Parents and Young Adults.” Last year, 300 participated while this year organizers are anticipating over 400.
“Gender Conference East is the culmination of my dream, seven years ago, when my family finally understood our child to be trans and had to travel to the West Coast for a family-focused conference about gender in our children,” Catherine Hyde, Mid-Atlantic regional director of PFLAG, told the Blade. “Our professional day is aimed at helping increase the number of trained professionals supporting our children and their families. The family day is for the children and their parents and caregivers to find a safe space to learn more and meet other people on a similar journey of raising trans and gender creative children.”
The conference was motivated by studies that indicate transgender children are at high risk of bullying in school, suicide attempts and homelessness. More than 40 percent of trans children will attempt suicide before they are 18.
The deadline for online registration is Nov. 1. To register, visit genderconferenceeast.org/join-us22.html.