Keynote Speakers
Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or, MSW
JQ International
Creating a Public Narrative: The Story of Self, Us, Now

We have all heard stories about people and thought, “That’s the way I want to live my life.” We admire their ethics and values and are inspired to create and live by our own moral code.  We too have stories that inspire others even if we haven’t recognized or understood them. Who we are and the work we do speak to our determination to make ourselves better people and our communities better places to live in.  In this workshop, through writing, small group discussion, and power point presentation, we identify and tell these stories. We find examples of how we have made crucial changes in our lives and in our communities. As we each develop our Public Narrative, we see how we become heroes and role models for others. Then when they hear our stories, they will think, “That’s the way I want to live my life.”

Jeremy Treat, LMFT
Penny Lane Centers - Department of Research & Evaluation
Developmental Traumas and LGBT Youth

As children grow and develop their identities, traumatic interpersonal experiences can present challenges that affect the formation of a strong sense of self and echo throughout life.  LGBT youth face unique aspects of minority stress, including stigma, prejudice, and discrimination that can result not only in complex trauma, but also in a strong sense of resilience.  We will address these impacts on identity formation in LGBT youth, as well as strategies for working with LGBT youth and adults that will help combat the effects of chronic traumatic stress.

Sassafras Lowrey
Don't Trust Anyone Over 30 (even me): LGBTQ Youth Homelessness and Programs That Work

How are adults failing queer youth movements? How can LGBTQ service providers embrace youth leadership?  From formerly homeless queer youth, to author and national advocate, Sassafras Lowrey will share what ze has learned growing up in the movement and together we will explore how as LGBTQ adults we can embrace our own histories, identities, strengths and limitations in order to get out of the way of youth leaders. Centering the importance of building chosen family for homeless LGBTQ youth, service providers will be challenged to queer the idea of “success stories” and hand control of program designs to youth leaders.

Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice
Timothy Vallez DPO II
Associate Clinical Social Worker
LGBT Youth and Juvenile Justice

LGBTQ youth are over represented in the juvenile justice system. This work shop will explore the different avenues that LGBTQ youth enter the system. Identifying these entry points is critical in developing appropriate interventions to prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system, as well as providing for appropriate interventions if they are detained.  A panel from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Los Angeles County Juvenile Health Court Services and The Los Angeles County Probation Department will be available after the presentation to discuss positive changes that have occurred and will also be available to answer questions.

Ange Castellanos
Los Angeles LGBT Center
LGBTQ Youth and Healthy Relationships


In part one, we’ll go over the binaries and spectrums used to define gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation, including non-binary identities. We’ll then spend some time going over relationship/sexual health risks for the vast and varied LGBTQ+ population.

In part two, we’ll troubleshoot these specific risks and delve into what discussions around relationship health and safety can look like with LGBTQ+ youth. We will give special considerations to trans* and gender nonconforming youth, as their relationship risks are different from cisgender individuals.

Health:  Wellness and Homelessness
Crystal Cedillo
Essential Access Health
Best Practices for Communicating about Sensitive Sexual + Reproductive Health Topics: Supporting GLBT Youth in Foster Care

In recognition of the unique sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs of GLBT youth, this session is designed to increase program staff and case managers’ knowledge of health disparities impacting GLBT youth in foster care, particularly regarding STDs/HIV and unplanned pregnancy, and develop skills and techniques for discussing sensitive SRH topics. Discussion will emphasize recommended SRH health services and screenings for GLBT youth, key sexual risk reduction messages, and resources from Essential Access Health and related organizations. Group activities will highlight practical applications of motivational interviewing techniques for sexual risk reduction.

Essential Access Health is a leading champion for quality SRH care for all. In Los Angeles, Essential Access works in close partnership with the Los Angeles County Public Health’s Division of HIV and STD Programs and providers to implement best practices in STD prevention and case management. Through innovative program design and project management, Essential Access provides support to a variety of stakeholders and community partners sharing a common goal of reducing the spread of STDs throughout California

Princess Murray, BS
Stars Behavioral Health Group
The Invisible Community

Training Description:  African Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS since the epidemic’s beginning, and that disparity has deepened over time.  African Americans account for more new HIV infections, people estimated to be living with HIV disease, and HIV-related deaths than any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S. The epidemic has also had a disproportionate impact on African American women, youth, and gay and bisexual men, and its impact varies across the country. African American men who have sex with men (MSM) and women but who do not identify as gay or disclose their bisexual activities to main female partners, also known as men “on the down-low,” have been cited as the main reason for the increase in HIV infections in black women. Moreover, a number of challenges contribute to the epidemic among Blacks, including poverty, lack of access to health care, higher rates of some sexually transmitted infections, lack of awareness of HIV status, and stigma. Despite this impact, recent data indicate some encouraging trends, including declining new HIV infections among African American women. However, given the epidemic’s continued and disproportionate impact among African Americans, a continued focus is critical to addressing HIV in the United States.

LGBTQ Advocacy
Christine Graham, MSW
Stars Behavioral Health Group
Teaching Public Speaking and Storytelling; A Key Part of Cultivating LGBTQ Youth Advocates and Instructors in LA County

The LGBTQ “Public Speaking and Storytelling” Training is part of a larger curriculum created to engage, empower, and enlist LA County LGBTQ Youth and other TAY to learn how to advocate for themselves and how to communicate pro-LGBTQ education. This workshop will describe how this project seeks, through providing essential tools and supportive instruction, to cultivate each youth’s capacity for leadership and advocacy and to talk to others with confidence, authenticity, and assertiveness regarding issues related to LGBTQ people.

David Meadow, MA
Loyola Marymount University
Advocacy in 140 Characters

This workshop is, at its core, about building good old evergreen advocacy-writing skills. However, being experienced with social media, I will foster those skills through the lens of posting effective messages on Twitter. This famous social-media platform will be very familiar to some of you, and baffling to others of you, but that’s great; I’m seeking a diverse, multi-age group whose participants empower each other with new ideas for concise, hard-hitting content. While we can’t cover all the ins and outs of Twitter, you will all leave with more tools for effective writing, anywhere. As we touch on everything from hashtags and trending topics to just plain good phraseology, you will learn how to boil down any material that resonates with you into a memorable tweet – whether that material is a news article, a think piece,  or your own personal experience.

John Sovec, MA
The Life Group, LA
Putting out the Welcome Mat: Making your agency, school, or organization welcoming to the Transgender Community

Creating a safe space for the transgender community starts from the very first points of contact and needs to be practiced to the very highest levels of any school or organization. And yet for many agencies there are gaps in policy that can make a transgender client feel excluded and shamed. This workshop will explore: The points of contact that are vital to making a transgender client feel safe and welcome, building language and communication tools to train staff, understanding biases and agenda that may influence the experience of a transgender client, examining community based messaging and how it is perceived by the transgender community.

John Reed, PhD
Penny Lane Centers
The Power Within YOU

Everyone has a power within to reach goals set during one’s life. However, many do not know of their power or are not secure enough to use it. This workshop is meant to provide tools and an understanding that will aid in breaking the stereotypes, not only of gender and race, but of all humanity.  The workshop will open with a short lecture, which will be followed by a group discussion allowing the participants to interact in a safe and nurturing environment.

Mental Health
Maribel Mancillas
Maribel Mancillas, MSW
Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
From the streets to Detention Embracing Identity - A Clinical Approach.

To increase awareness of the incidence of LGBTQ population in juvenile detention facilities and its correlation with family rejection as youth struggle to find there identify within their family unit. National statistics will be shared to identify the rate of LGBTQ youth in recent studies. An overview of Camp Joseph Scott will be identified to provide the audience with the rate of LGBTQ in one of our detention facilities. Mental Health statistics will be used to highlight the risk (suicide) factors of LGBTQ whom are rejected by their family members. This will bring attention to the growing problem of LGBTQ youth in detention as those that don’t engage in self-harm  behaviors and suffer family rejection will experience a host of risk factors homeless, noncompliance with school attendance (as a result of discrimination, and bullying) or substance abuse related charges  that will bring them to detention (camp/juvenile hall). A greater part of the workshop will identify clinical intervention to both parents and the youth with the hopes of supporting the youth to embrace their identity and reducing and potentially eliminating risk factors of returning to detention. Finally community resources will be identified that continue to support our youth and parents process.

Janet Lazar / Bryan Schnebelt
Janet Lazar/Bryan Schnebelt
Penny Lane Centers
Art therapy and Identity Building in the LGBTQ community

Art therapy is a therapeutic approach that has increasingly been used in the mental health field as an experiential and transformative process to externalize one’s experiences. By looking at how art therapy approaches relating to gender identity have evolved over time, there will also be an emphasis on how it is currently being used to assist clients in learning to courageously embrace who they are, wherever it may fall on the LGBTQ and non-binary spectrum. The presenters will provide examples of case studies to demonstrate specific examples of the effectiveness of the art-making process used with clients, as well as a community building exercise to help participants embrace the identities of each other.

Estela Andujo, PhD, LCSW
USC, Suzanne Dworak Peck School of Social Work University of Southern California
Knowing and Experiencing Gender Fluidity through the stories of Three Transgender youth: What Therapist’s and other Helping Professionals Need to Know

A transgender, nonconforming (TGNC) person’s experience of gender is shaped by various aspects of identity (e.g., age, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation). These different aspects of identity may evolve across the life span of an individual and thus create conflict as the individual attempts to integrate gender identity with movement through life transitions.

Research has demonstrated that LBGTQ (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, questioning) and gender nonconforming individuals are at higher risk for a variety of psychosocial challenges, such as depression, abuse, suicide, bullying, substance misuse and homelessness.

This presentation will explore changes over time since transgenderism was considered problematic, to present day understanding of gender fluidity. The workshop will explore ways in which therapists and other helping professionals can enhance their understanding of gender issues and become more effective with their clients.

Drawing upon the presenter’s experiences within a clinical setting, the journey and stories of several transgender adolescents will serve as a focus for understanding and experiencing the transgender journey of change. Three specific stories will be used. family and culture, transgender experience in an academic institution, and a personal journey of discovery via individual and family therapy.

Cadyn Cathers, MA
Antioch University Los Angeles
Becoming an LGBTQIA-Affirmative Therapist: Why Simply Being Friendly Isn’t Enough?

Becoming an LGBTQIA Affirmative therapist takes education, training, and self-exploration.  Although empathy is healing, this isn’t “good enough” to help LGBTQIA clients work through the minority stressors that come with growing up in a homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic world. This is further compounded with LGBTQIA clients of color dealing with racism, LGBTQIA differently able-bodied clients dealing with ableism, etc. Furthermore, empathy cannot happen unless someone has a grounded enough Self to be able to authentically vicariously experience someone else. A psychotherapist must explore their own biases and work through their own internalized oppressions to see the client as a whole individual, challenge defenses, and assist a client in working through their own internalized oppression(s). Addressing these issues will free the client from their own inner demons and to achieve their full potential. This workshop will introduce prospective psychology students and novice therapists to LGBTQIA Affirmative theory and practice, where to get training, how to find LGBTQIA affirmative supervision or consultation, and how to develop a LGBTQIA Affirmative psychotherapy practice. In this interactive workshop, graduate students, MFT interns, and MFT trainees will share their own strategies and perspectives in a panel discussion format, which will be moderated by the presenter.

Wendy Ashley, Psy.D, MSW / Allen Lipscomb, Psy.D, LCSW
California State University Northridge
Collaborative Safety and Treatment Planning with  Transgender Youth of Color in Mental Health Settings

Transgender youth of color (TYC) face stigma related to race/ethnicity and gender identity. In addition, transgender youth of color face safety challenges where gender conforming youth frequently do not.  Contexts such as home, school, communities, foster care, and juvenile justice systems are often the backdrop for bullying and victimization.  Disrespect for their identity or punishment for identity expression can result in denial of public restrooms, exclusion from activities, disproportionate discipline and ongoing marginalization.  Additional consequences of harassment and discrimination include depression, substance abuse, violence, suicide, and risky sexual behaviors.  Thus, safety is a critical element in treatment planning with this population. An unfortunate result in the clinical environment is that youths’ identities, rather than their presenting problems or safety concerns become the focus of intervention.  The authors propose collaborating to create an Inclusive Safety Plan of Care (I.S.P.O.C.). This collaborative activity will provide a framework, encouraging client and therapist to co-create a plan to bring together concerns, ideas, strengths, and members of support so that to help transgender youth of color meet their basic needs and achieve their goals.  The ISPOC facilitates practitioners and family members support for the safety and well-being of transgender clients without pathologizing their identities.

Jen Bailey, Psy D,
HOPE Counseling Center
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being Bisexual: Forming Healthy Identities on the Sexual Orientation Spectrum

From a lack of media representation, to a dearth of visibility in LGBTQ communities, to casual oversights from well-intentioned service providers, bisexual and pansexual youth often get the message that they simply do not fit in anywhere. Harmful myths about bi/pan individuals are supported where you would least expect them:  in counselor’s offices, at home and at school, even in the “safe space” of “Gay/Straight” alliances. Dr. Jen and Jami bring personal and professional experience of the unique challenges faced by bisexual individuals on their path toward self-acceptance and healthy identity formation. We will share our own stories about realizing and embracing our bisexual identities, learn tools for making our services more open and welcoming for bisexual/pansexual youth, and provide a safe environment for participants to examine our histories, biases, and assumptions about people who exist somewhere in the middle of (or entirely separate from) the sexual-orientation spectrum. You will leave with renewed awareness of myths and realities faced by bisexual/pansexual youth, skills to help bi/pan youth develop strong and healthy identities, and a plan for how you can make personal and professional changes in order to help our communities truly embrace the ‘B’ in ‘LGBTQ’.

Summer Davidson, LCSW
Penny Lane Centers

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-24 – and LGBTQ youth from rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGBTQ peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.  Most LGBT youth are living with straight families who may or may not have information about LGBTQ issues.  This presentation provides a short introduction to the LGBTQ community and provides tips for caregivers of LGBTQ youth, giving caregivers the ability support their LGBTQ youth and enable them to thrive.

School Based: Safe Schools, Neighborhoods, and Housing
Anthony Eftimeo
Anti-Defamation League
Creating an Ally Culture

“Creating an Ally Culture” empowers youth and adults to become effective allies in incidents of bias and bullying by increasing their understanding of the impact of name-calling, bullying and other bias behaviors on the LGBTQ community, educating them about the specific role of being an ally, teaching them a process to assess the safety of intervening, and providing them with opportunities to develop and practice the variety of alternative responses to take action against name-calling and bullying.

Jonathan Skurnik, Director
Youth & Gender Media Project
Screening of the award-winning documentary Becoming Johanna

Screening of the award-winning Youth & Gender Media Project documentary, Becoming Johanna, about a trans Latina who faces rejection at home and school, but with the help of allies and a resilient spirt, Johanna finds a foster family who love her and an alternative school principal that takes her under her wing, enabling Johanna to graduate and thrive. Following the screening, a panel moderated by Judith Sandino, Director of RFA/FP/Adoptions at Penny Lane Centers, will discuss how to enhance positive outcomes for trans youth of color in the foster care system and elsewhere. Panelists will include the filmmaker, Johanna, Johanna’s DCFS case worker, her high school principal, and a fellow trans teen, along with her mother.

Chris Tompkins, BSBA
A Road Trip to Love
Messages from the Playground: Embracing All Youth and Preventing Bullying Before it Begins

Oftentimes, when a child experiences bullying, they internalize the experience before they let someone else know. Usually, a loved one, family member, or teacher recognizes a change in behavior before they realize something has occurred. My goal with this workshop is to:

  1. Prevent. To prevent is much more effective than to treat. If we can uncover a word, a message, a label a child hears on the playground, we can prevent it from becoming internalized.
  2. Uncover. Once something is internalized, it becomes part of our belief system. For an LGBT child, being in the closet, hearing certain societal messages, and growing up in a heteronormative world can cause shame and a feeling of unworthiness. If any of us feels guilt or shame, we unconsciously seek punishment, including – unhappiness, unhealthy relationships, and self-deprecating behavior (drug and alcohol abuse, high risk sexual behavior, etc.).

Children need to be affirmed for who they are. Children will also learn anything we teach them. If we can equip a child with an understanding of something before it’s communicated otherwise, they experience acceptance of others and acceptance of self.