The Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic, (GSD Clinic) offers psychosocial and medical support for gender variant, gender expansive and transgender children and youth up to age 21 and their families. Their multidisciplinary team, led by Nadia L. Dowshen, MD, and Linda Hawkins, PhD, MSEd, LPC, includes specialists in gender identity development from Social Work and Family Services, Adolescent Medicine, Endocrinology, and Behavioral Health. They work with families to best meet the needs of the child or youth who is transgender, gender-variant or gender-nonconforming. They also provide consultation and training for providers and organizations interested in learning how to better serve the needs of gender-variant youth.
With sensitivity and caring, they address how professional medical care can help kids in this position, along with their families, explore what these feelings mean to each individual and make decisions about whether or not hormone therapy is indicated to temporarily hold back the development of secondary sex characteristics (breast development, facial hair, etc) while emotional maturity continues to grow,
A famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow created a well-known and researched model, a hierarchy, of basic human needs that impact our mental health. They are ordered from foundationally important basic needs to self-fulfillment needs: physiological needs, safety needs, love and belongingness needs, esteem needs, and, finally, self-actualization needs.
This interesting TED Radio Hour episode takes a dive into thinking about these basic needs in our modern times. Using people’s individual stories to illustrate each level of Maslow’s hierarchy. If you are interested in reading a more complete overview about the hierarchy, I encourage you to take a look at this easy to read article on Simple Psychology.
Humans need food, sleep, safety, love, purpose. Psychologist Abraham Maslow ordered our needs into a hierarchy. This week, TED speakers explore that spectrum of need, from primal to profound.
Life stress can test and strain our normal coping skills. Sometimes the stress comes from normal life events like the loss of a parent, getting married, or changing jobs. Other times, the stress can come from the conflict we feel between living our lives by expressing the “true selves” we feel in our hearts and our fears that we will not be accepted by others for who we are. Chronic pain, the shadow of emotional trauma from past abuse, pressures that come from our complicated, modern lives…it all can get to be overwhelming.
As this site grows, you will find resources to help you better understand some of the struggles you are going through, to not feel so alone, and ideas for how you can move forward through the more challenging times in your life while reaching out to others, friends, and family (and/or therapist if you need) for support. Be sure to check out the How to Use This Site page to get you familiar with how resources are organized on the site. For those of you who would rather just jump in without an instruction manual, you can either search for key terms or move your mouse over Resource Index by Topic in the top menu bar and jump right in!
Don’t be fooled by it’s title, the Attic Youth Center, offers so much more than just a place for LGBTQIA+ youth to hang out. I even love the backstory of this place. It was originally started as an eight-week program, by two graduate students back in 1993. Hosted in the attic of a building, the kids wouldn’t let it end. Since that time, it has grown to being a significant resource for area youth.
I think what I love about it the most is that the heart of this organization is to help kids to grow as citizens who are engaged in the world around them and have a voice. So, not only are there support groups, counseling, case management, healthy choices education, and life skills opportunities, the kids work on community projects together with opportunities for leadership roles. Plus, the website has inspirational stories and lists of resources.
And, as if that’s not enough, the Bryson Institute offers various trainings regarding current “best practices” for working with LGBTQIA+ youth. You can contact them, explain the intended audience and needs, and they can customize a training for your organization. Clearly, this organization is worth checking out!
GLSEN, an organization devoted to educating the general public on LGBTQA+ current news and issues. Perhaps what they are most known for is promoting and supporting Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs for students in high school and college settings. These clubs are incredibly important because I have found that they are often the first safe place in a teen’s life where they can let down their guard and express their true-selves and feel real-life support that they haven’t found in other parts of their young lives. If there isn’t a GSA club available in your (or your child’s) school, and you would like to start one, they can help you do this. They also provide ongoing resources to help run a successful, healthy, supportive club.
(As far as I can tell, GSA’s were originally orchestrated and supported by the GSA Network, originating in California. It seems that GLSEN has stepped in as another agency that supports these clubs. As of this writing, Wikipedia reports that GLSEN nationally has 4000 registered GSA clubs and the GSA Network in California has about 900.)
But GLSEN does a lot more than that! They…
- Conduct research to inform our evidence-based solutions for K-12 education.
- Create resources for teachers/educators to use throughout their school community and make them available on their website for free.
- Partner with decision makers to ensure that comprehensive and inclusive safe schools policies are considered, passed and implemented.
Basically, they are a “behind the scenes” organization that does a great deal of work on the behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Dara Hoffman-Fox, LPC is a therapist that specializes in transgender issues. Tons of quality information here. Plus, Dara a series of videos where they speak to the viewer who is trans, agender, nonbinary or questioning their gender identity, and provides some guidance as to how to think through the things you may be feeling/experiencing. They also have an e-newsletter that you can sign up for.
One specific resource that I came across on their site is their “My Coming Out Master Plan” with accompanying YouTube video. It’s a worksheet that helps you to think through and plan for how you would like to come out to family and friends. A version of that and many more resources like it are in Dara’s book, “You and Your Gender Identity: A Guide to Discovery.” I highly recommend that you pick-up a copy.
Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs, are typically found in high schools and colleges. The GSA Network supports Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs for students in high school and college settings. These clubs are incredibly important because I have found that they are often the first safe place in a teen’s life where they can let down their guard, express their true-selves and feel real-life support that they haven’t found in other parts of their young lives.
As I described in my post about GLSEN (another organization that provides support to GSA’s), the GSA Network is one of two organizations that helps to set-up, advocate for, and provide resources to individual GAS clubs, The GSA Network operates the GSA Network of California, which connects over 900 clubs across the state, the National Association of GSA Networks, which unites 40 statewide networks of GSA clubs, and GSAs Unite, an online campaign and petition platform supporting youth organizers across the country. (As far as I can tell, GSA’s were originally orchestrated and supported by the GSA Network, originating in California. It seems that GLSEN has stepped in as another agency that supports these clubs.)
If there isn’t a GSA club available in your (or your child’s) school, and you would like to start one, they can help you do this. They also provide ongoing resources to help run a successful, healthy, supportive club.
The Mazzoni Center’s mission is to provide quality, comprehensive health and wellness services in an LGBT-focused environment, while preserving the dignity and improving the quality of life of the individuals they serve. Their offers a full array of primary health care services, mental and behavioral health services, and LGBT legal services, as well as HIV and STD testing, food bank and housing subsidies for families and individuals affected by HIV, support groups, outreach and education programs. They also have specialist in transgender issues.
A prominent feature of the Mazzoni Center is the fact that they host the annual Philly TransWellness Conference. There is a professional training track (different ones for people in the counseling, medical, and legal professions) that involves paying a reasonable fee. However, the bulk of the conference is aimed at directly meeting the needs of people within the trans community…and it’s FREE!
Hosted at the Philadelphia Convention Center, the conference is massive and the number of attendees continues to grow every year. The website boasts that they are, “The Largest Free Trans-Specific Conference in the World,” and I believe it. While there are cicgendered attendees (people who don’t identify as trans), we are certainly in the minority and it’s really thrilling. (OK, at first it’s intimidating, for fear of accidentally offending someone, and then thrilling!) To borrow from Harry Potter, a cisgendered person at the conference might initially feel like a muggle would at Hogwarts, which hopefully means that a trans person feels like a wizard who fits right in. The bathrooms are labeled as being open to any gender identity and everyone walks around with name tags that includes the pronouns that they prefer people use for them. If you can…go, even if you are neither trans or a professional…and just want to learn more.
The Main Line Youth Alliance is a teen/young adult (ages 14-22) drop in center in on Friday nights Wayne, PA. They have a guest speaker and then hang out time. MYA provides a safe and healthy environment for their LGBTQIA+ youth. Meetings are virtually every Friday evening from 7-9:30 pm. There is no charge for admission and like any group, where teens gather, snacks are served! From time to time, they welcome parents to join in for an activity of fundraising or discussions.
I have an ever-growing playlist on my YouTube Chanel (well, really many, many ever-growing playlists) of videos mostly by people who are trans. It has basic information (like the role of pronouns in being respectful of people’s gender identity) and relatable stories (like a son interviewing his mom about what it’s like for her to have a trans son). Generally speaking, videos can go a long way in helping to see the humanity in other people and understand in a more intimate way the challenges and victories that people can face. This playlist is no exception.