For families seeking resources, conferences are a great place to get a lot of information. You can attend workshops on a range of different subjects related to supporting a transgender/gender-creative youth and navigating the various social, educational, medical and familial settings that parents and loved ones experience with their children. There are also often vendors/tables for organizations to share information about their services. This list is drawn from my own experiences attending conferences as well as what I have found online, and I am happy to talk about my own experiences at each of them or to answer any questions that folks may have. Also, please feel free to add additional conferences in the comments or write about your own experiences. Unfortunately many of these are incredibly expensive (though it is a better deal when registering as a family for many of them and many have scholarships), and I hope that we can create more spaces of learning that are more accessible for a range of families and economic backgrounds.
Philadelphia Trans Health Conference: June. Free. The “Health” in the name is broad–this conference supports trans people and the ones who love them in all matters regarding their lives, well-being and community. In 2015 they had over 4,000 attendees, including many families and children. While the conference can be overwhelming because of its size it also is one of my favorites because it is free, has a large number of workshops, and there are many different people and communities represented. (Though it is not without its flaws, and recently trans women and trans feminine people have been trying to get more workshops focused on their needs and experiences, as there are more focused on trans masc individuals).
Gender Spectrum’s Family Conference: July. Oakland. Three days of workshops and networking with other families, youth and children. Designed to support parents on their journeys towards acceptance, Gender Spectrum emphasizes meeting parents where they are and leading them to a supportive, educated and empowered place. There is a children’s camp and teen’s camp for the kids while their parents attend sessions. Complimentary childcare for the under 5s included in conference fees.
Gender Odyssey: August. In Seattle. Organized by Gender Diversity, this conference was started 14 years ago, and now has professional and family tracks, along with the original community track. Those with a family registration can also go to the community workshops, giving parents and teens the opportunity to talk with and network with adult trans people who are attending those workshops. This year there were over 1000 attendees.
Gender Conference East: November. Timonium, MD. Co-organized by Gender Spectrum, The Ackerman Institute’s Gender and Family Project, PFLAG, Chase Braxton and Free-State Legal this conference fills the need for a family conference on the East Coast. There is a professional day for providers working with families and youth, and two days of workshops for parents and camps for kids and teens.
First Event. January. Boston. I haven’t attended this conference but it has been around for a long time and is for the transgender community, and has also added youth and family programming in recent years, including a pool party!
Transgender Information and Equality Summit (TIES): October. Richmond. Free. $25 suggested donation for those who can afford it so that it can remain accessible to all. Organized by Virginia Equality this one-day conference includes workshops, legal aid help, and round tables. Although primarily focused on organizations and resources in the Richmond area it would be useful for many in the Mid-Atlantic region. This year they had about 400 attendees, including trans folks, providers, and parents and partners.
Photo of conference room by Daria Nepriakhina, found on stocksnap.io.