Keynote Speaker

Screening of the award-winning documentary Becoming Johanna

Jonathan Skurnik

Youth & Gender Media Project

9AM - 10AM - 14:45:00


Session Overview

Award-winning documentary film director Jonathan Skurnik will introduce and screen his film, Becoming Johanna, about a trans Latina who faces rejection at home and school. After Johanna finds a foster family who love her and an alternative school principal that takes her under her wing, Johanna graduates and thrives. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A about how to enhance positive outcomes for trans youth of color in the foster care system and elsewhere. Panelists will include Johanna, her DCFS case worker and her high school principal, moderated by Judith Sandino, Director of Foster/Adoption at Penny Lane.

Bio

Jonathan Skurnik is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, educator, and activist. With the Youth & Gender Media Project, Jonathan serves as an ally to the trans and gender expansive youth community, making films and curricula which help schools and other institutions serving youth to create inclusive environments which celebrate all manifestations of gender identity and expression.
Keynote Speaker

From Faith Leader to Fierce Affirming MamaBear - Insights on Life with Christian Parents

Susan Cottrell

FreedHearts, Inc

Keynote Session #2

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

How can you come out to Christian parents? How can a Christian parent hear that their child is gay? And how can you navigate coming out to—and living with—non-affirming parents and family? Susan Cottrell has a “fierce, loving, don’t-mess-with-me, Mom vibe.” An international speaker, acclaimed author, and Mom of two LGBTQ children, Susan will share her amazing story of coming from the non-affirming, evangelical church to being the prominent voice of parents of LGBTQ children and a fierce advocate and ally. Susan will offer insight on how to come out—and how deal with difficult, broken, family relationships. You will receive wonderful counsel and hear things from an affirming Mom that your heart may be longing to hear. (Note: The keynote will also include an appeal to those in the audience who have a faith background and/or whose faith journey is important to them, to attend her workshop where she will show you how to reclaim your faith and take your Jesus back.) 

Bio

The prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQI children, was featured on ABC's 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America, on NBC News Out, on The Advocate Magazine’s National Coming Out Day videos, on The Advocate’s Out in Left Field with Dana Goldberg, and as a devotional contributor on the Our Bible app.  She is an international speaker, author and consultant. Through her nonprofit organization—FreedHearts—Susan champions the LGBTQI community and families with her authenticity and tender-hearted zeal. She challenges Christians to love as the foundation of faith. She spent 25 years in the non-affirming Evangelical church, is the Founder and President of FreedHearts, has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and served as the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin (Texas). Her books “Mom, I’m Gay”—Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith, True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You, Radically Included - The Biblical Case for Radical Love and Inclusion, and the soon-to-be-released Be Love - What the World Needs Now, and My Coffee with the Pastor: Building the Vision for Lavish Christ-like Inclusion, are endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, The Gay Christian Network and many others. She and her husband Rob have been married for 30 years, have five children, two of whom are in the LGBTQI community, and live in Austin, Texas.
Keynote Speaker

My Many Colors of Immigration

Carolina Rubio-MacWright

International Rights Speaker/Lawyer

9AM - 10AM - 16:45:00


Session Overview

In the past few years the negative rhetoric about immigrant communities has been feeding fear and ignorance, resulting in an increase in hate crimes not only against immigrant communities but especially against those in that community which identify as BLGBTQ.  The cost of this narrative is much greater than we realize, as it not only forces people back into the shadows but it weakens the bonds between safety nets in our community, such as our educators, police, court systems, doctors, etc.  The keynote will address how different factors like cultural background, taboos, and immigration status can greatly impact an individual's sexual identity development. The speaker will use stories from immigrant Dreamers, non-immigrants and practitioners that illustrate the complexities of the immigration process as seen through different lenses.    As part of the 10 year anniversary celebration, the keynote will include a participatory installation in the lobby. The attendees will be invited to participate in the installation by writing down wishes/dreams onto colorful ribbons that will be hung and displayed for the duration of the event. The installation will be a collection of dreams of all colors and sizes representative of a more inclusive, diverse and loving future as seen by our EDGY family.

Bio

Carolina Rubio MacWright is an artist, immigration attorney and activist. She was born in Bogota, Colombia where she lived until, at the age of 20, she needed a safer place to call home. She attended art school and law school in the United States, and throughout was active in her local community. She has worked as an immigration attorney in Miami, Oklahoma and New York City. Her experience as an attorney opened her eyes to the realities of the broken American legal system. She believes that art is often the most powerful way of explaining life. She has thus mixed her law and art experiences into performances and workshops that serve a dual purpose - empowering vulnerable communities and educating more powerful ones. From campaign work for non-profits to performing public art pieces, she believes anything is possible when inspiring ideas and passionate people come together. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Keynote Speaker

Trans...Just For the Fun Of It

Kate Bornstein

SpeakOut - The Institute for Democratic Education and Culture

9AM - 10AM - 10:00:00


Session Overview

In May, 2014, Time Magazine proclaimed that America had reached a transgender tipping point. Since then, Kate Bornstein—pioneer non-binary trans author, activist, and performance artist—has been studying and exploring trans identities that have made no such headway into mainstream culture: trans people who define themselves as non-binary and gender nonconforming, claiming that they’ve shattered the gender binary. Proceeding from the premise that a major sticking point in understanding gender is that there are too many answers, Kate will ask the questions that usually don’t get addressed:

• What’s your personal gender based on?

• How did you come to base your gender on that?

• What becomes of gender after you’ve shattered the gender binary?

• Why are there so many definitions of transgender?

• What is the definitive truth of gender?

• Why fun is a legitimate reason to explore gender?

In this talk, Kate will use basic tenets of postmodern theory, Tibetan Buddhism, and particle physics. “They all overlap at slapstick comedy,” she insists, going on to say, “transgender life has gotten awfully serious as of late, and I want to remind people that there’s a great deal of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual joy that can be had by creating and living one's gender mindfully.”.

Bio

Since 1989, trans trailblazer Kate Bornstein has—with humor and spunk—ushered us into a world of limitless possibility through a daring re-envisionment of the gender system as we know it. Kate identifies as nonbinary: not a man, and not a woman—and she’s been writing about nonbinary gender identity for nearly thirty years. Kate was born Albert Bornstein in 1948, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. At an early age, he came to the conclusion that he wasn't a boy, and that she didn't want to grow up to be a man. To Albert, being a boy was all acting, and pretending to be a boy. In 1984, she began her hormonal, surgical, and social transition from male to female, which she completed in 1986—she was a woman! In less than two years, she realized that being a woman was for her no more than acting and pretending...just like it had been for being a man. So in 1988, Kate gave up the idea of being a woman, and now she lives on the edge of paradox: she is not a man, and not a woman. She looks beyond the gender binary to see gender as both a conscious practice, and a playful journey. Kate's work is taught in five languages, in over 300 high schools, colleges, and universities around the world. The titles of her books say a lot about who she is, and how she views things: • Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us (now in its 2nd edition) • My New Gender Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving World Peace Through Gender Anarchy and Sex Positivity (now in its 2nd edition) • Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws • A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She Is Today
Keynote Speaker

The Road to Full Equality for the LGBTQ Community

Scott Wiener

California State Senate - District 11

12:45PM - 1:30 PM -


Session Overview

Senator Scott Wiener representing San Francisco, Daly City, Colma, Broadmoor, and portions of South San Francisco will discuss the road to full equality for the LGTBQ community. As a member of the largest legislative LGBTQ Caucus in the nation, Senator Wiener’s identity as a gay man informs his legislative work and priorities. He will offer insight into how having our own community at the table makes a difference. In the face of an antagonistic federal government, Senator Wiener will also share his perspective on California’s necessary leadership and the steps the Legislature is taking to not just protect but to expand the rights of LGBTQ people throughout California.

Bio

Elected in November 2016, Senator Scott Wiener represents District 11 in the California State Senate. District 11 includes all of San Francisco, Broadmoor, Colma, and Daly City, as well as portions of South San Francisco. In the Senate, Senator Wiener works hard to make housing more affordable by confronting California’s severe housing shortage; to invest in our transportation systems, including improving and expanding our public transportation systems; to increase access to healthcare, including reproductive healthcare; to support working families, including expanding paid family leave, childcare, and quality public education; to support California's nightlife culture and economy; to meaningfully address climate change and the impacts of drought by expanding clean energy and modernizing our water system; to reform the criminal justice system and reduce gun violence; to reduce California’s alarmingly high poverty rate; and to safeguard and expand the rights of all communities, including immigrants and the LGBT community.
Mental Health

Treating Substance Use Issues with LGBT Youth

Gregory Canillas

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Workshop Session #2

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

The abuse of substances by individuals to “self medicate” has reached epidemic proportions.  SAMSHA (2013) reports the following statistics related to substance abuse disorders in the United States: 66.9 million people are diagnosed with Tobacco Use Disorders; 18 million people (Alcohol Use Disorders); 4.2 million (Cannabis Use Disorders); 1.8 million (Opioid Use Disorders); 855, 000 (Stimulant Use Disorders); and 280,000 (Hallucinogen Disorders).    Much of the current literature (e.g., Adedoyin, Burns, Jackson & Franklin, 2014; Mott, 2003) currently focuses on treating substance abuse from a holistic perspective, focusing on the client’s psychological, biological and other needs (e.g., employment services, housing). Researchers advocate the use of traditional talk therapy in combination with adjunctive services, such as massage, meditation, exercise, nutritional and art therapies (Adedoyin, Burns, Jackson & Franklin, 2014; Breslin, Reed & Malone, 2011; Matto, 2002).  The presentation will examine the psychological and biological impact of substance abuse on youth and effective treatment strategies for substance use disorders.  Developmental, social, and multicultural issues in the assessment and treatment of substance abuse were considered. The presenter will also review data on treatment outcomes and will highlight future research directions.

Bio

Gregory Canillas, Ph.D., is a psychologist, life coach, relationship and parenting expert and currently teaches in a clinical psychology doctoral program at The Chicago School of Psychology (Los Angeles campus), and is also an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine and National Universities. Known to friends and colleagues as “Doc”, he takes a “keep it real” approach to his work both with clients and in training the next generation of therapists. His easy-going attitude, coupled with a sharp insight that misses nothing, has made him popular with students and clients alike. With over two decades of teaching, clinical and administrative experience, he has presented over 100 workshops nationally and on four continents. The workshops have focused on parenting and relationship issues, spirituality, intimate partner violence, substance abuse and therapy with LGBTQIA and ethnic minority populations. Previously, he served as a Program Director at several nonprofit organizations, overseeing child mental health, adult mental health and pregnant/parenting teen programs. He has served six years on the Commission on Youth and Children (Long Beach, California), a body that advises the Mayor and city council on issues of importance to children, adolescents and families in that city. Dr. Canillas currently helps individuals, families and organizations to develop better relationships, achieve their career goals and lead more fulfilling and happy lives.
Mental Health

Transgender Revolution

Roxanne Cherry, Ph.D

Laguna Niguel Counseling

Workshop Session #1

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

This interactive workshop will equip participants with the knowledge they need to create a therapeutic alliance with transgender and gender non-conforming clients.  Topics covered will include terminology, historical perspectives in mental health, co-occurring conditions, taking a gender history, social issues, treatment planning and new criteria in the DSM 5.

Bio

Roxanne Cherry Ph.D has been an MFT in private practice for 30 years. She specializes in working with families in which, an individual is dealing with gender identity issues. These clients often have co-occurring conditions including LGB concerns, addiction, communication challenges, grief, anxiety, depression, and family relations. Her clientele spans from youth to seniors, and she incorporates art therapy, hypnotherapy and pet-assisted therapy. Additionally Dr. Cherry is a certified supervisor, consultant, and speaker on transgenderism.
School Based: Safe Schools, Neighborhoods, and Housing

Fighting from Both Sides: Sexualized Violence from Society and in Partner Relationships

Jamie Julian

Sexual Assault Awareness, LLC

Workshop Session #1

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

LGBTQ+ teens are not only targets of sexualized harassment from the heteronormative community, but from in-relationship sexualized intimate partner violence (IPV) as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), LGBTQ people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexuals. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects (NCAVP) estimates that nearly one in ten LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) has experienced sexual assault from those partners. Studies suggest that around half of transgender people and bisexual women will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes. The Atlantic’s landmark 2015 article reported that “Overall, three in four LGBT [college] students reported experiencing sexual harassment.”  When compared with the well-known statistic that 1-in-4 women will experience sexualized violence during college, this number is staggering. This presentation will provide a strong overview of sexualized violence from both without and within the LGBTQ+ youth community along with education and prevention strategies for attendees to use in addressing this problem. Co-presented with Julia Schiffman, MSW

Bio

Jamie Julian is a licensed clinical social worker at The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.  The Center for Transyouth is the largest Transyouth clinic in the country.  Jamie works on a multidisciplinary team to ensure that all patients are supported and affirmed in their identity.  Jamie also works closely with families and young adults to access services at CHLA, maintain family continuity, manage crisis/safety concerns, and connect with resources within their community.  She provides trainings nationwide on LGBTQI competencies with specialization on gender minorities.    She has expertise in working with trans and GNC youth in crisis and navigating systems that are often part if the problem.  Jamie currently serves on the LGBTQI2-S UsCC subcommittee in partnership with DMH and the diversity council within CHLA. 
School Based: Safe Schools, Neighborhoods, and Housing

Building an Ally Culture

Anthony Eftimeo

Anti-Defamation League

Workshop Session #1

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

The goals of “Creating an Ally Culture” are for participants to: (1) identify experiences that have shaped who they are, their assumptions about other people, and their view of the world; (2) increase their understanding of the different perspectives that exist in any situation and the potential of one’s perspective to influence thinking and behavior; (3) increase their understanding of the impact of name-calling, bullying and other bias behaviors on LGBTQ community; (4) increase their awareness of name-calling and bullying incidents by understanding the different roles people play and the behaviors associated with each role; (5) develop and use a variety of  responses to challenge incidents of name-calling and bullying; and (6) better understand the specific role of being an ally and will develop skills to be an effective ally to targets of name-calling and bullying especially LGBTQ individuals.  This highly participatory workshop will allow for important discussions among participants, facilitated group learning and the practicing of new skills to create and sustain safer spaces for LGBTQ and all youth.

Bio

Anthony Eftimeo is the Assistant Education Director for the Anti-Defamation League Pacific Southwest Region. Anthony helps oversee the Anti-Defamations League anti-bias and bullying prevention programs under the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE PROGRAM.
Mental Health

Gender Non-Conforming Youth & Autism Spectrum Disorders

Dr. Jason Bolton

The Help Group

Workshop Session #1

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

Although exact prevalence in youth is not established, it’s clear that an increasing number of children, youth and young adults are presenting for evaluation and management of gender identity issues. The prevalence of individuals of all ages identifying as transgender and/or experiencing gender dysphoria seems to be about 0.2%-0.3% of the population.  While gender variation is not a disorder, these youth are known to be an underserved population with specific medical and mental health needs. They are at risk for being victims of abuse and rejection by family, friends, and peers; and developing mental health issues, including mood disorders, suicidal thinking, self-harm behaviors, and anxiety.  Tantamount to this talk,co-occurring autism spectrum disorders are increasingly being recognized in transgender youth. Studies have shown that those with ASD are 4 to 8 times more likely to identify as transgender or experience gender dysphoria than the general population. There is currently no well-researched understanding of this relationship though neuro-biological theories and theories based upon common characteristics of those with ASD have been described.  In accordance with these emerging data, The Help Group, especially within its Non-public schools geared towards students with ASD, has experienced an obvious increase in the number of students referred with ASD who are gender non-conforming. This presentation will highlight The Help Group's identification of this phenomenon and our plans to address this emerging and critical need.

Bio

Dr. Jason Bolton has over 25 years of experience working with children, adolescents and families with histories of abuse and neglect, social-emotional challenges, and developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorder and learning differences. A licensed Clinical Psychologist, he holds a B.A in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma, an M.S. in Applied Behavioral Studies from Oklahoma State University, and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in Alameda. He is The Help Group’s Vice President of Programs and previously served the agency as Clinical Director and Chief Psychologist. Dr. Bolton's expertise includes effective leadership, innovative program development, and responsible fiscal oversight of quality programs. He serves on the the Board of Directors of the California Private Special Education Schools and Agencies as Finance Chair. Dr. Bolton is a proud father of triplet girls and, as a parent-consumer of developmental and special education services frequently refers to his family as a glowing example of the power of early intervention.
Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice

Protecting Our Youth: Conversion Therapy & Institutional Abuse

Samantha Gerson

Penny Lane Centers

Workshop Session #1

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

Institutional Abuse is a national epidemic that our country has chosen to ignore. Many parents send their children to Residential Treatment Facilities when the child's behavior becomes too much for the parent to handle. Other parents send their children to these facilities when the child comes out to them and they want a quick fix to what they view as a problem. While treatment facilities and educational reparative environments can be a great resource and beneficial to those they offer treatment to, many abuse their power and physically, emotionally, and sexually abuse the children they are there to care for. This epidemic is ongoing, and many lawsuits have been filed, but the abuse has not stopped. Advocates have worked with legislation to change laws, but this work has not been enough. This is true of Conversion therapy as well, as it has not been outlawed federally. In fact, it is a common practice in many of these facilities. The truth about conversion therapy is frightening and this workshop will touch on the facts, details and all other information to what occurs behind Residential Facility’s closed doors. Television and other forms of media often make these types of environments look fun, friendly, and safe; but the truth is they often result in youth leaving with PTSD, physical disorders, and sometimes, death (by suicide). This workshop will help attendees become familiar with institutional abuse and how they can advocate against it. This workshop will be from a Social Work lens, and very interactive.

Bio

Samantha Gerson is an ACSW/LMSW with a Masters in Clinical Social Work. She is currently located in Los Angeles, CA, where she uses her degree to work with survivors of trauma. She is the found(h)er of a Non Profit called UnBroken, which works with Survivors of Institutional Abuse and Conversion Therapy. UnBroken provides therapeutical and legal services to survivors at no cost to them. As a survivor herself, she knows the importance of this work, and is actively involved with the Survivor Community, nationwide. Her passion is traveling the US to speak and educate others about this epidemic. In addition, Samantha currently works with Penny Lane as an Intensive Outpatient therapist, and as a volunteer researcher with the Criminal Justice Department at John Jay in New York.
Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice

Fighting from Both Sides: Sexualized Violence from Society and in Partner Relationships

Jamie Julian

The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children's Hospital Los Angeles

10:55AM - 12:00PM -


Session Overview

LGBTQ+ teens are not only targets of sexualized harassment from the heteronormative community, but from in-relationship sexualized intimate partner violence (IPV) as well.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), LGBTQ people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexuals. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects (NCAVP) estimates that nearly one in ten LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) has experienced sexual assault from those partners. Studies suggest that around half of transgender people and bisexual women will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes.  The Atlantic’s landmark 2015 article reported that “Overall, three in four LGBT [college] students reported experiencing sexual harassment.”  When compared with the well-known statistic that 1-in-4 women will experience sexualized violence during college, this number is staggering.  This presentation will provide a strong overview of sexualized violence from both without and within the LGBTQ+ youth community along with education and prevention strategies for attendees to use in addressing this problem.

Bio

LGBTQ+ teens are not only targets of sexualized harassment from the heteronormative community, but from in-relationship sexualized intimate partner violence (IPV) as well.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), LGBTQ people experience sexual violence at similar or higher rates than heterosexuals. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects (NCAVP) estimates that nearly one in ten LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) has experienced sexual assault from those partners. Studies suggest that around half of transgender people and bisexual women will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetimes.  The Atlantic’s landmark 2015 article reported that “Overall, three in four LGBT [college] students reported experiencing sexual harassment.”  When compared with the well-known statistic that 1-in-4 women will experience sexualized violence during college, this number is staggering.  This presentation will provide a strong overview of sexualized violence from both without and within the LGBTQ+ youth community along with education and prevention strategies for attendees to use in addressing this problem.
Families and Religion

Meditative Encounters

Brian Gaeta-Symonds

Presbyterian Church

Workshop Session #1

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

Faith and Spirituality no longer have to be scary words, especially for the LGBTQ community. Centuries old contemplative practices have been used to assist people in exploring more deeply their own desires for purpose and meaning-making within their own lives and souls. Two exercises that will be experienced during this workshop are Centering Prayer/Meditation and Meditative Text Encounter (otherwise known as spiritual reading). My co-presenter and I have used both of these, and many others, in our own individual Spiritual Direction practices. The first is a meditation tool that is done intentionally in and with silence. The second is a tool that uses sacred texts, literature, and other written pieces to allow a moment for participants to get out of their head and academia and to experience the words on a page. By accompanying others with an empathetic approach and in a safe environment, we can begin to access and utilize all the resources within ourselves to begin the healing process. These practices coupled with successful mental health resources has been shown to greatly increase a person’s mental health status as well as their ability to move towards inner peace and stability all the while increasing self-esteem. In the recent past belief systems and institutions have used their power to tear others down. The practices used in this workshop will help to empower others to possibly reclaim their own belief systems and discover new ways that will help them ritualize what they believe. Participants will leave the workshop with a better sense of how to lean on spirituality in a healthy way as a tool, and also will be able to take with them the steps to conduct these practices on their own, one-on-one, or with a small group.

Bio

Rev. Brian S. Gaeta-Symonds – Brian, ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament by the Presbyterian Church (USA), is both Spiritual Director and Pastor. Currently he serves as Director of Admissions consultant for the New Theological Seminary of the West. He has a Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary and a Bachelor degree in Public Relations from California State University, Fullerton. He has also completed a three-year training program in Spiritual Direction from which he learned the skills to accompany people on their spiritual journey to deepen their sense of faith and purpose. His heart and passion is very much active with community leadership and ending circumstances of oppression and poverty. Most recently he has taught leadership, spirituality and religious, and many other courses, as well as led different spirituality workshops and retreats. Brian and his husband Gilbert, both native Californians, currently reside in North Hills, CA with their three boys, Victor, Nathan, and Axel.
Mental Health

Recovery and Resilience for LGBTQ Youth

Beck Gee-Cohen

BGC Consulting

Workshop Session #1

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

Substance Use and Trauma are prevalent in the LGBTQ community. This workshop will address both and also address the solutions of recovery and resilience of LGBTQ youth today. Understanding that substance use is but a symptom of many different factors that LGBTQ youth face in regards to bullying, misunderstanding, peer pressure, and other trauma. This workshop will address ways in which to assess for substance use in the home, school, and therapy office. Participants will also learn ways in which to talk to young people about substance use and recovery. WE will focus on resilience and the positive aspects of recovery and how recovery can help with future goals.

Bio

Beck is a master’s level clinician with an undergraduate degree in Sociology with an emphasis on Gender & Sexuality and a master’s degree in Addiction Counseling. Beck has a passion for working with the LGBTQ+ community and has years of experience doing so. He has written articles and papers directly addressing the need for training staff on LGBTQ+ communities. Beck is an internationally regarded speaker and workshop presenter. He has helped create programming for LGBTQ+ specific treatment programs and works closely with LGBTQ+ recovery communities around the world. Beck has over 12 years of personal recovery and continues to address concerns of equality and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in recovery and mental health communities. Beck is the owner/consultant of BGC Consulting, helping facilities shift their culture and become more affirming and knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ populations.
Mental Health

Coming Out Queer - How Clinicians can Help Support the Coming Out Process

Summer Gomez

Penny Lane Centers

Workshop Session #2

9AM - 10AM - 00:00:00


Session Overview

Do you not know how to support youth as they navigate this difficult milestone?  This interactive workshop presents three theories of coming out – and posits a coming out theory for caregivers as well.  Both the many challenges and benefits of coming out are explored.  Clinicians are given concrete discussion-points for when they are working with an LGBTQI2-S youth in the process of coming out, including helping the youth to assess their safety and well-being.  Participants will then have the opportunity to practice supporting each other, to ensure they are comfortable with supporting our youth.

Bio

Summer Davidson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and supervised in the Intensive Services department at Penny Lane Centers for 5 years. She is now in charge of Penny Lane’s Embracing Identity program, where she is helping to meet the needs of LGBTQI2-S Transitional Age Youth. She is active in LGBTQ services and advocacy and a regular part of the EDGY conference. Her own experiences, coupled with raising her son as a part of an LGBTQ couple, has made Summer passionate about raising the standard of services and advocacy for our LGBTQ youth.
Health:  Wellness and Homelessness

De-Stigmatizing HIV

Chris Villalobos

Thrive Tribe Foundation

Workshop Session #2

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

Medication and management of HIV is advancing significantly, but there are increases in HIV diagnoses across the United States and globally. In an age when medication makes it possible for individuals to reach an undetectable viral level, preventing them from transmitting HIV, why is it that we are not seeing a decrease in annual diagnoses? The most direct answer is stigma. Stigma is defined as a mark of shame or discredit, which can lead a person to fear entering that particular circumstance. In the case of HIV, stigma has enveloped this virus so greatly that society fears and chooses to ignore it. Education is a large component that combats stigma. As society opens up to the new developments, feels comfortable to listen and talk about advancements, and dispels fear, the easier it is to promote connection to care and personal empowerment in treatment as prevention. In this workshop, Thrive Tribe Foundation will teach about the HIV virus, what it means to be undetectable, and the role that stigma plays in perpetuating the transmission of the disease in an interactive and motivational light. It is our belief that it is everyone's fight to end HIV, all it takes is the willingness to understand how it works.

Bio

Chris Villalobos has been active in the HIV community since he was first diagnosed in 2013. Through life experience and his own desire to learn about the virus, Chris became involved with Thrive Tribe Foundation (TTF) to find a social group that was proactive in the education and de-stigmatization of HIV. He is now the Associate Director of TTF and oversees the Connection to Care Center. Daily, Chris helps individuals navigate the healthcare system connecting them to doctors, insurance, and pharmacies, as well as state benefits that subsidize prescription costs and health insurance premiums, saving members thousands of dollars a year on healthcare costs. He is also responsible for community and educational programs that promote HIV education and acceptance.
Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice

Queer Youth in the Sex Trade

Meredith Harper Houston

Swan Within: Healing Through Ballet

Workshop Session #2

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a national and global shame.  300,000 U.S. children each year are brought into the world of unwanted trading of sexual acts for money, shelter, food, etc., nearly always for the benefit of others. The GLBTQAI2-S population is an oft-forgotten segment of CSEC, comprising a minimum of 15% of all exploited youth.  However, they are criminalized, arrested, abused, and killed at rates far higher than their hetero-identified counterparts. This presentation will cover the intersection of CSEC with the GLBTQAI2-S community.   We will examine entry trends of GLBTQAI2-S youth, the unique barriers they face within the CSEC culture and in exiting CSEC, and the crossover of straight youth in the promotion of gay-CSEC “services.” A design for an exciting program model will be discussed, and some clinical consideration will be given for psychotherapists working with this population.

Bio

Meredith Harper Houston is an educator, advocate, business owner, non-profit Founder/Chair, choreographer, and survivor of sexual abuse.  Her Merryland Dance Studio teaches children and adults ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop. The staff connects with each dancer and considers personal limitations with kindness and acceptance. This ideology led Meredith to create an academic dance curriculum for preschools and LAUSD elementary schools in the Greater Los Angeles Area. In addition to owning her own dance studio, Meredith is the Founder and Chair of Swan Within: Healing Through Ballet, a non-profit company that empowers and provides ballet to incarcerated teen girls who have been involved in the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), sexual abuse, and physical abuse. Inspired by her own history of physical abuse, Meredith says, “I want to create a safe space for girls who have gone through abuse so they can have full agency over their bodies in a way that is beautiful and not sexualized.” Her mission is to inform peers about the reality of CSEC and works tirelessly to interrupt the misconception about CSEC and sexually exploited youth. A dancer since the age of four, Meredith began studying at the Joanne Reagan Dance Studio, which was followed by a stint at the Philadelphia Dance Company, then to University of the Arts Summer Intensive with Judith Jameson and finally at the Alvin Ailey Studios in New York. During her 17 years as a choreographer, Meredith’s clients have included Alicia Keys, T-Pain, Ludacris, Jamiroquai, Panic! At The Disco and television programs such as Saturday Night Live, MTV Music Video Awards. Mrs. Houston is a community partner with Mayor Garcetti’s Blue Ribbon Commission for the Office of Reentry – a service that helps give formerly incarcerated Angelenos the second chances they need and deserve. As a community partner, Mrs. Houston is a valued advocate and expert in youth justice, special- ized diversion programming designed to encourage wellbeing among incarcerated youth. Meredith’s talents extend to the pages of Jones magazine where she served as Beauty Director from 2011 to 2014. She is currently a contributing writer at The Huffington Post and Daily Beast.
Families and Religion

Reclaiming Your Faith: Taking Your Jesus Back from the Non-Affirming Church

Susan Cottrell

FreedHearts, Inc.

Workshop Session #2

9AM - 10AM -


Session Overview

If you grew up in the church, if spirituality is important to you, this workshop is for you. We will examine the life and teachings of Jesus through the lens of unconditional love and radical inclusion, and a retelling of the Prodigal story as a transgender woman! Rightly understood, the Bible is a message of hope to the oppressed. Any other interpretation is invalid. This workshop will reclaim the stories that have been used to hurt instead of love.

Bio

The prominent voice for faith parents of LGBTQI children, was featured on ABC's 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America, on NBC News Out, on The Advocate Magazine’s National Coming Out Day videos, on The Advocate’s Out in Left Field with Dana Goldberg, and as a devotional contributor on the Our Bible app.  She is an international speaker, author and consultant. Through her nonprofit organization—FreedHearts—Susan champions the LGBTQI community and families with her authenticity and tender-hearted zeal. She challenges Christians to love as the foundation of faith. She spent 25 years in the non-affirming Evangelical church, is the Founder and President of FreedHearts, has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and served as the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin (Texas). Her books “Mom, I’m Gay”—Loving Your LGBTQ Child and Strengthening Your Faith, True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You, Radically Included - The Biblical Case for Radical Love and Inclusion, and the soon-to-be-released Be Love - What the World Needs Now, and My Coffee with the Pastor: Building the Vision for Lavish Christ-like Inclusion, are endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, The Gay Christian Network and many others. She and her husband Rob have been married for 30 years, have five children, two of whom are in the LGBTQI community, and live in Austin, Texas.
Mental Health

Embracing our Scars: Self-Harm 101

Bree Wiles

University of Southern California

Workshop Session #2

10:55AM - 12:00PM -


Session Overview

Self-harm is a topic that is not talked about enough, especially with the growing concern for the safety of LGBTQ youth in today’s society. LGBTQ youth are coming out at earlier ages, thus bringing to attention the added risks for this population. Many LGBTQ youth end up engaging in some form of self-destructive behavior from dealing with the stigma and negative socialization around them. Within the LGBTQ youth population, self-harm alongside depression and suicidality is especially common, with an alarming 40% being suicidal. This disparity shows the importance of providing LGBTQ youth with resources that affirm their identities and presentations. As professionals, it is important to know and understand the types of self-harm, average age range when it happens, populations, risk factors, self-harm in connection with depression and being suicidal, and some common causes of self-harm, all which this workshop will provide. It is also important to provide protective factors for LGBTQ youth in helping to replace self-harming behaviors with positive behaviors/coping strategies. In the workshop, there will be a brief activity focusing on creating an on the go coping skills list to use for youth who are going through a difficult time. The idea of "printing one's scars" will be introduced as an empowering intervention for those who have self-harmed in the past. The workshop will be interactive with multiple short activities and will also entail an informative presentation to educate professionals on the basics of self-harm.

Bio

Breana Wiles is a Master of Social Work Student at the University of Southern California, with a specialization in Children, Youth, and Families. She will be graduating in May of 2019 and has chosen to focus most of her work on the LGBTQ youth population. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in LBGTQ Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2015. Her career interest and passion include working with the LBGTQ community in mental health. She has worked with LGBTQ youth in multiple positions including at Pacific Pride Foundation where she co-facilitated an LGBTQ youth group, ran a LGBTQ youth Anti-Bullying Summit, and helped within the local high school's GSA. She just finished her first year of her graduate program where she interned at D'Veal Family and Youth Services and helped to create the LGBTQ program within the agency. She has provided multiple LGBTQ identity trainings to administration in the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Children and Family Services, probation, and Pasadena Unified School District. She recently began presenting to other MSW students and faculty on her own journey as an LGBTQ identified woman who struggled with mental health including depression and self-harm during high school. Currently, she will be starting her 2ndyear internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine - Center for Transyouth Health and Development. She has a wealth of knowledge on the LGBTQ community from both personal and professional experience, including many aspects of mental health. She looks forward to continuing to expand her knowledge on the LGBTQ population and earning her LCSW in the future.
Child Welfare & Juvenile Justice

Locked Up: Overrepresentation of LGBTQ Youth in Detention

Tim Vallez

Los Angeles County Probation Department

Workshop Session #2

2:55PM - 4:00PM - 16:00:00


Session Overview

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.

Bio

Timothy Vallez is a 30-year veteran with the Los Angeles County Probation Department in the Residential Treatment Services Bureau. Mr. Vallez has a myriad of experiences within the Bureau ranging from direct supervision to advocating in the best interest of the youth through the judicial process. Mr. Vallez is also an ardent advocate for LGBT youth in detention. In addition to working for probation, Tim works as an Associate Clinical Social Worker for La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center. La Fuente is a leader in LGBT focused substance abuse treatment. Mr. Vallez has served on the joint County of Los Angeles/City of Los Angeles LGBTQ Domestic Violence Task Force and the LGBTQ Youth in Detention Task Force, the LGBTQ Youth Advisory Council, and is a board member on the Los Angeles County LGBTQ Child Abuse Council. He is a 2012 graduate of the LGBTQ Los Angeles Police Department Community Police Academy and is certified to train County of Los Angeles Probation staff in “Working with LGBTQ Youth”. He has presented on this topic as a guest lecture at CSULA, UCLA and CSUN, as well at the international level. Mr. Vallez graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 1988 and graduated from California State University Los Angeles with a Masters of Social Work in June of 2016.