Who We Are

A group of medical and mental health professionals, academics, researchers, activists, and allies, some trans and others cis, devoted to the health and happiness of transgender and gender nonconforming youth.  Most of us have extensive experience working directly with trans youth.

 

In alphabetical order by last name...

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Noah Adams, MSW is a social worker, researcher, and activist based in Toronto, Ontario, and a co-founder of TPATH - the Transgender Professional Association for Transgender Health.  He currently works for the City of Toronto’s shelter system and volunteers his time with Rainbow Railroad, the Gay/Bi/Queer Trans Mens Working Group, on various projects with WPATH, among other things. He received a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Psychology), from the University of British Columbia in 2004, a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria in 2009, and a Masters of Social Work from Dalhousie University in 2015.


Elsa Almås, PhD.

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  • Cand. Psychology from the University of Bergen 1981.

  • Specialist in clinical psychology 1988.

  • Family therapist IAP 1991

  • Specialist in Clinical Sexology (NACS) 2002.

She has been in private practice as clinical psychologist and sexologist since 1985, and working with transgender clients since 1982. She has been in charge of further education in sexological counselling at the University of Agder since 2001, and a professor in sexology at the University of Agder 2012.


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Erica E. Anderson, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, academic administrator, healthcare executive, professor, and consultant. During a career that spans 4 decades she has held academic appointments in health psychology, public health, clinical psychology, healthcare management and pediatrics. She has also served as an Executive in a number of Healthcare Businesses.

At UCSF she works in the Child and Adolescent Gender Clinic in Pediatric Endocrinology. There she consults with transgender and gender nonconforming childen, adolescents, their families and other healthcare professionals and supports training of healthcare professional students and fellows in the rapidly advancing field of transgender healthcare. In her private consulting practice Erica provides consultation to corporations on issues related to sexual and gender diversity and inclusion and success ( including gender transition) of transgender and gender nonconforming leaders and clinical services to teenagers, adults, couples, and families. She has consulted on transgender issues in Sweden where she has also appeared on television. She serves on several Boards and is now the President Elect of USPATH, the newly created affiliate of WPATH which publishes the Standards of Care for transgender healthcare. In previous work she has held academic appointments at the University of Minnesota, Thomas Jefferson University, Immaculata University and John F. Kennedy University.


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Florence Ashley, B.C.L./LL.B. is a transfeminine jurist and bioethicist based in Canada. Their research interests cover a wide range of topics in trans law and bioethics, with special attention given to therapeutic ethics in relation to trans and gender variant youth. They are chair of the advisory board of the Trans Legal Clinic in Montreal and member of the Trans Committee of the Conseil Québécois LGBT. A frequent contributor to the media, their writing has been published in a wide array of French and English-speaking outlets, including CBC News, the Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, La Presse, Le Devoir, the Montreal Gazette, NOW Magazine, The Conversation, INTO More, and The Advocate. Their articles seek to provide accessible information on trans issues and healthcare to the general public.


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Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad, MD, is a Norwegian physician, family therapist, specialist in clinical sexology NACS and a professor of sexology at the University of Norway. In 2002 Esben Esther screened the movie "All about my father" that won numerous national and international prises. Together with hir wife, professor Elsa Almas, Esben Esther has written three editions of a textbook in sexology and several other books and chapters both in English and Norwegian. Almås and Benestad have run a course in sexology, university level, since 2001. Esben Esther is a father of two, grandparent of five and presents as transgifted.


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Ady Ben-Israel, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist working in private practice in New York City. Ady has been working in mental health with transgender and gender non-conforming communities since 2003. In private practice, Ady specializes in working with gender diverse children/teens and their families as well as with adults and couples around issues of sex, gender, and sexuality. Ady has a longstanding commitment to understanding and attending to dynamics of oppression and privilege in clinical practice.


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Peter Chirinos, MA brings over twenty years of varied professional experience working in the behavioral health field. 

As a sex therapist, Peter works extensively with couples and individuals of all sexual orientations and is well known for successfully working with people struggling with out-of-control sexual behavior (‘sex addiction’), infidelity, transgender and sexual identity concerns as well as mixed orientation relationships. Peter has been called as a consultant to legal counsel in criminal cases involving sexual assault involving BDSM and consent; is a reader for publication houses; invited keynote speaker and consultant to other clinical professionals for assessment and treatment of cases involving atypical sexual arousal patterns (i.e. kink, fetish, BDSM).  As an activist as well as a licensed clinician, Peter supports clinical practice and research endeavors which support minorities from Queer and liberation psychology theoretical perspectives.  Peter is active in the American Association of Sex Therapist, Counselors, and Educators, and the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.

He is co-author of the first clinical text for therapists working with clients involved in BDSM entitled ‘Becoming a Kink Aware Therapist’ (2016); the president and CEO of Capital Counseling Services, LLC, d/b/a Kink Knowledgeable where he provides professional coaching, clinical supervision, education and expert consultations in the area of sex, intimacy, and alternative sexualities, including BDSM and kink.


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Damon Constantinides, PhD, LCSW provides individual, relationship, and sex therapy through his private practice and is a therapist and co-founder at Relationship and Sex Therapy Collective in Philadelphia, PA. Damon earned his Master in Social Work and Doctorate in Human Sexuality Education through Widener University and specializes in working with trans and gender-non-conforming teens and young adults. He provided individual counseling and co-facilitated a support group for transgender youth for eight years at The Attic Youth Center, an LGBTQ center for youth. Damon works from social justice, narrative, and relational perspectives and is especially interested in providing, training, and writing about intersectionality and sex therapy with erotically marginalized clients. Trained as both a clinical social worker and a sexuality educator, Damon also provides supervision, consultation, and training to other mental health care providers. He is an adjunct professor at Widener University where he teaches graduate level clinical sex therapy classes and an expert trainer for the Advanced Training in Transgender Mental Health.  Damon has presented about best practices with trans and gender non-conforming populations at regional and national conferences including The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists Annual Conference, the Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality Trans Symposium, Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, and Gender Conference East.


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Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D. is a developmental and clinical psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Director of Mental Health and founding member of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center, a partnership between the University of California San Francisco and community agencies to provide comprehensive interdisciplinary services and advocacy to gender nonconforming/ transgender children and youth and their families.  She is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco and the chief psychological at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Child and Adolescent Gender Center Clinic (more information about the CAGC clinic can be obtained at their website).  As part of her duties as the CAGC Director of Mental Health, Dr. Ehrensaft heads Mind the Gap, the mental health child gender specialist consortium within the center.  Bay Area child, adolescent, and family therapists with specialization or interest in being trained in the gender affirmative model of mental health care can contact Dr. Ehrensaft about joining the Mind the Gap consortium, which meets monthly in Oakland, California for training, presentations, and discussions.  Diane has written Gender Born, Gender Made, The Gender Creative Child, and co-edited The Gender Affirmative Model with Colt Keo-Meier, and is a co-investigator of a 4-site NIH grant studying the medical and mental health effects of puberty blockers and gender affirming hormones in youth.


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Tony Ferraiolo, CPC is known as a compassionate and empowering Life Coach and a motivating and thought-provoking trainer. Since 2005 Tony has provided trainings to over 15,000 people around the country. Tony has dedicated himself to both promoting competent and respectful health care for the transgender community, by educating providers, and advocating on behalf of patients. Also, training educators on providing a safe and respectful space for transgender children in a school environment.  

In 2008 Tony started several support groups to support transgender youth and their families, the groups meet concurrently, providing a complete support system for these families, drawing families from New York and throughout New England. Since 2008, the groups have served over 750 families. 

In 2009 he recognized the need to provide chest binders to members of his community who needed them but had no ability to access them. Since 2009, Tony has given over 300 binders to transgender people all over the world.

Tony is the subject of the award-winning documentary “A Self-Made Man” and the Author of the book series “Artistic Expressions of Transgender Youth”. 

He is also the Co-Founder of the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to transgender people for gender-confirming surgeries.


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Dr. Robert Garofalo is a Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. He is also an attending physician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he serves as the Director of the Research Center of Excellence for Gender, Sexuality, and HIV Prevention and as the Division Chief of Adolescent Medicine. In this role he co-directs the gender and sexual development clinical program at Lurie Children’s Hospital — the first comprehensive program providing multidisciplinary care to transgender/gender-nonconforming children and adolescents in the Midwest. He’s also a faculty member of the National LGBT Health Education Center at the Fenway Institute in Boston, MA. His primary clinical and research activities relate to the care of marginalized youth populations including HIV-positive and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) young people. His research focuses on HIV prevention, mostly targeting either young men who have sex with men (MSM) or transgender individuals. He has more than 25 years of research experience in this field and is a national authority on LGBT health issues, adolescent sexuality, and HIV clinical care and prevention. In 2010, he was appointed to the National Academy of Science/ Institute of Medicine on LGBT Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities. Dr. Garofalo’ s research has been generously funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is or has been the Principal Investigator on twelve NIH-funded Investigator initiated research grants and a Co-Investigator on an additional ten NIH-funded research projects. He has been invited to present his work at a number of acclaimed national and international conferences, lectures, and symposia, including the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care Adherence Conference in Miami, Florida, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality in Mexico and Puerto Rico, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Conference in San Francisco, California, amongst others. He has served as a consultant for the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth in Boston, MA, the CDC, and 


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Shawn V. Giammattei, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and the founder and director of Quest Family Therapyin the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in family therapy with couples, families, and individuals across the lifespan, with a particular focus on transgender and gender expansive youth and their families. He has presented nationally and internationally on issues of gender, sexuality, couple and family therapy, and LGBTQ affirmative pedagogical approaches. He is an affiliated researcher and past Coordinator of Training for the Rockway Institute: A national center for LGBT psychology research, education, and public policy, and a lecturer at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University where he co-developed the LGBTQ Certificate in Human Services & Mental Health. He teaches graduate courses in LGBTQI psychology, transgender mental health, distance learning, substance abuse and family systems. He is currently on faculty with WPATH’s Global Education Initiative helping train medical, educational and mental health providers in providing competent and affirming care to transgender people, a research consultant to Kaiser Permanente, Northern California and Emory University regarding their NIH and PCORI funded studies looking at health outcomes of transgender patients, and the author of several articles and book chapters on gender, sexuality, and family work. Shawn is also past president of the Association of Family Therapists of Northern California, past vice-president and board member of the American Family Therapy Academy, and a member of Mind the Gap, an organization affiliated with the University of California, Beniof, Child and Adolescent Gender Clinic focused on the needs of transgender youth and their families. 


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Melanie A. Gold, DO, DMQ, FAAP, FACOP is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Child and Adolescent Health, Section of Adolescent Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and in the Department of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health. She is also the medical director of New York Presbyterian Hospital’s seven School Based Health Centers. She is a pediatrician and subspecialist in Adolescent Medicine and a Diplomat of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture. She served on the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Adolescent Health for 6 years and was a Consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Population Affairs for 9 years. Dr. Gold has been a Motivational Interviewing Network Trainer since 2000 and has conduct numerous trainings on Motivational Interviewing (MI) and behavior change counseling for the health care setting with health care professionals. Dr. Gold has had funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Office of Adolescent health to conduct randomized efficacy trials studying the effectiveness of MI for reducing sexual risk taking behaviors that lead to unintended pregnancy and STIs. Dr. Gold is the president and founder of Renaissance Research and Educational Consulting, Inc. (RRECI), a consulting firm dedicated to offering health care professionals training, mentoring, and research consultation for a variety of current life style and health-related issues in order to facilitate the health and well being of the people they serve.


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Linda A Hawkins, PhD, MSEd, LPC is the Founder and Co-Director of the Gender & Sexuality Development Clinic at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Within this role, Dr. Hawkins meets with every family referred to the clinic who is seeking support for their transgender or gender non-binary child/youth.  The clinic now supports nearly 1000 families.  She has over 20 years of experience working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and/or Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) children, youth and families. 

Since 2014, Dr. Hawkins trained over 10,000 employees on improving the LGBTQ patient and family experience at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Dr. Hawkins has assured the Hospitals’ fourth year receiving the Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality from the Human Rights Campaign, and was also appointed to their new national advisory committee on the clinical support for transgender children and youth. She also teaches within numerous medical, nursing, social work, and counseling programs throughout the region. 

Dr. Hawkins has been actively involved in the research community through the roles as research coordinator, study management, study design as well as principal and co-investigator in various studies that aim to improve care of sexual and gender minority youth and youth living with HIV.  Dr. Hawkins is an Associate Adjunct Professor at Widener University at the Center for Sexuality Studies and was awarded the annual Pride Award for Teaching & Leadership in the Field of Sexualityin the Fall of 2015. 

In 2018, Dr. Hawkins founded the Advanced Training Program in Transgender Mental Health which is a year-long intensive training for mental health providers to increase their knowledge and skills to better support their transgender, gender non-binary and gender expansive clients.


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Marco A. Hidalgo, PhD, is faculty clinical psychologist in the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at USC's Keck School of Medicine. He joined the CHLA/KSOM faculty in 2018 and relocated to his native Southern California from Lurie Children's Hospital/Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The span of Dr. Hidalgo’s training and early career has focused on LGBTQ health, particularly among youth of color. Dr. Hidalgo began providing assessment and psychotherapy to transgender/gender-expansive (TGE) youth in 2006, while training at Chicago’s Howard Brown Health. He focused more exclusively on TGE mental health and advocacy following the 2009 murder of Lawrence King—a gender-expansive teen in the foster care system who was fatally shot by a classmate in Hidalgo’s hometown neighborhood. In 2013, while faculty at Lurie Children’s, he co-established the nationally-renowned Gender and Sex Development Program (GSDP)— the Midwest's largest pediatric subspecialty program for TGE children, adolescents, young adults and their families. The GSDP was profiled on the acclaimed 2015 PBS Frontline episode Growing Up Trans


Dr. Hidalgo applies trauma-informed and culturally-intersectional approaches to care with youth (up to age 25) and families he sees in gender-affirming care. General domains of his research include psychosocial wellbeing and behavioral HIV prevention intervention among TGE youth and cisgender young men who have sex with men. He has authored over 25 publications and is currently Co-Investigator on two multisite NIH-funded studies, including a study examining the psychosocial impact of medical treatment in transgender youth seeking care in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. He is founding Co-Chair of the Gender Variance Special Interest Group within the APA’s Society for Clinical-Child and Adolescent Psychology (Division 53) and was a content expert for the 2015 SAMHSA report Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth.

Dr. Hidalgo is Mexican American, cisgender male, and the first in his family to attend college. He has openly identified as gay since age 17. His successful transition to adulthood was largely due to the affirmation and support of his family, friends and community.


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Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R is a trans and genderqueer psychotherapist, activist, writer, and public speaker in the NYC area working with TGNC, LGBTQ+, and sexual/gender diversity communities. Laura currently serves as Chair of the Board for the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, a multisite health center serving the LGBTQ+ community of New York City regardless of ability to pay and the largest single provider to transgender populations worldwide, and is the first trans and genderqueer-identified person to occupy the Chairperson position at a federally qualified health center. They are a firm believer in body autonomy as a fundamental human right and that gender and sexuality are arenas of the human experience through which we can explore identity, relationships, power, intimacy, cultural constructs, and even existential questions of meaning.

Laura is the recipient of the 2017 Dorothy Kartashovich Award by the Community Health Center Association of New York State "In recognition of your dedication and advocacy to ensure high-quality health care for all", as well as a 2018 Gay City News Impact Award "Recognizing outstanding contributions to New York City's LGBTQ community." 

They have been featured on NPR, MSNBC, NBCNewsOnline, SiriusXM, CBSNews, Mic.com, and The New York Times, and has spoken at numerous organizations, conferences, and universities including the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Memorial Sloan Cancer Center, NY State Society of Clinical Social Workers, Vanderbilt University, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, Rutgers University, NYU Silver School of Social Work, the American Sociological Association, the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, The US Professional Association for Transgender Health, and countless others.  Their book, "You’re In The Wrong Bathroom!’, co-authored with Laura Erickson-Schroth, was published in May 2017. As Lawrence Jacobs, they worked as a musician, composer, photographer, and less glamorous corporate middle management.


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Aron Janssen, MD is a clinical associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine, the founder and clinical director of the Gender and Sexuality Service at the Child Study Center and the Co-Director of the Pediatric Consultation-Liaison Service. Dr. Janssen's areas of expertise include LGBTQ mental health, gender identity and sexual orientation development, ADHD, anxiety and mood disorders, and psychopharmacology.Dr. Janssen is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, and World Professional Association for Transgender Health. In addition, Dr. Janssen has presented on LGBT issues in medicine at Regional and National Conferences for the American Association of Medical Colleges, for the American Psychiatric Association, and on television and radio. He has had his research presented at several academic psychiatric conferences. He is also the professor for an undergraduate course at the NYU College of Arts and Science as part of CAMS - Sex Matters: Identity, Behavior and Development.
 


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Randi Kaufman, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist who has been working with gender identity issues since 1998.  Currently the team psychologist at the Gender & Family Project of the Ackerman Institute for the Family in NYC, she previously worked at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where she provided psychological evaluations to assess readiness for TGNC youth seeking medical intervention.  Dr. Kaufman founded the Transgender Health Program at Fenway Health in Boston in 2004 to provide much needed mental health and medical care to transgender adults.  She has evaluated several inmates around the state of Massachusetts in response to a lack of knowledge and appropriate treatment for incarcerated transgender people, and was instrumental as an expert witness and a fact witness in helping two inmates win federal lawsuits.  Dr. Kaufman is a supervisor for the Institute for Human Identity in NYC, and has a private practice in NYC.  


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Colt Keo-Meier, PhD, is a clinical psychologist whose expertise is in clinical work, research, and training in the health of transgender people of all ages.

He is an assistant professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of Baylor College of Medicine, lecturer and researcher in the psychology department at the University of Houston, and is completing his MD at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he is a student scholar in the John P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine.  He maintains a small part-time private practice in the Houston/Galveston area of Texas.

Dr. Keo-Meier is a cofounder and board member of Gender Infinity, an organization dedicated to promoting justice, hope, and equity through the advancement of relationships, knowledge, and resources that empower transgender and gender expansive individuals.

He helped develop the National Association for School Psychologists' (NASP) and APA's joint Resolution on Gender and Sexual Orientation Diversity in Children and Adolescents in Schools, the NASP Position Statement on Safe Schools for Transgender and Gender Diverse Students, and the APA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's report on Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth.

He is a chapter work group member for the hormone therapy chapter for adolescents and adults of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care Version 8. His research has focused on understanding the mental health effects of hormone therapy and the experiences of parents of young transgender people.

Dr. Keo-Meier is a transgenderqueer White man who has thrived because of his experience of acceptance and unconditional love from his parents, Cambodian American genderqueer spouse, and long-time family and friends.


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S.J. Langer, LSCW-R, is a writer and psychotherapist in New York City, where he maintains a private practice.  He is on faculty at School of Visual Arts in both the MPS Art Therapy and Humanities & Sciences departments.  He is a member of the Executive Committee for the Psychotherapy Center for Gender and Sexuality at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy.  His most recent academic article Trans Bodies and the Failure of Mirrors was the co-winner of the Symonds Prize from Studies in Gender and Sexuality.  His first book Theorizing Transgender Identity for Clinical Practice: A New Model for Understanding Gender is available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


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Sean Lare, LCSW-C is a licensed clinical social worker who is passionate about  serving transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse communities. In  addition to providing psychotherapy for individuals in the transgender  communities, Mr. Lare also works as an educator and advocate in the  Baltimore, Washington, DC and surrounding areas to help increase  awareness about the unique needs of transgender, non-binary and gender  diverse individuals and their families. His educational work has  included providing introductory and specialized trainings on: engaging  and retaining transgender talent in the workplace, supporting  transgender and non-binary students in K-12 and college/university  settings, and guidance for providing affirming services for transgender  clients in clinical, behavioral health and medical settings. Mr. Lare  has been a featured speaker at regional and local conferences,  participated in numerous panel discussions and guest lecture  presentations in undergraduate- and graduate-level classes, and is a  sought-after contributor to community and policy planning efforts to  increase services and rights for and to meet the diverse needs of  transgender people. The focus of his psychotherapy practice in Columbia,  MD is working with children, teens, and adults who are transgender or  gender diverse and their families and providing supervision and  consultation to other providers. Sean is also an openly visible trans  man, and lives so for the many individuals who cannot, to stand up  proudly as an example for his young child, and to let many people know  that living life as a transgender person is a reality of possibilities.  More information can be found at www.seanlare.com. 


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Arlene (Ari) Istar Lev LCSW-R, CASAC, CST is a social worker and family therapist who is the Founder and Clinical Director of Choices Counseling and Consulting (www.choicesconsulting.com) and TIGRIS: The Training Institute for Gender, Relationships, Identity, and Sexuality (www.tigrisinstitute.com) in Albany, New York. She is a part-time lecturer at the University at Albany, School of Social Welfare and is the Project Director of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Project (SOGI). She is also an adjunct professor at Smith College School for Social Work, and Empire College. Ms. Lev is also the Board President for Rainbow Access Initiative, Inc., which provides low-cost therapy to LGBTQ individuals. She has authored numerous journal articles and authored three books: The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guideand Transgender Emergence: Therapeutic Guidelines for Working with Gender-Variant People and their Families, winner of the APA (Division 44) Distinguished Book Award, 2006, and the forthcoming Families in Transition: Parent Perspectives on Raising Gender Diverse  Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults (with Andrew Gottlieb, ed).


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M. Dru Levasseur is Senior Attorney and Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people living with HIV. For a decade, Levasseur has been counsel in cutting-edge transgender rights impact litigation in federal and state courts, and counsel on amicus briefs filed nationwide in federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He has extensive experience advocating with federal, state, and local governments on behalf of transgender people, including multiple meetings with White House officials. 

A national and international media spokesperson, Levasseur has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, People Magazine, Self, Reuters, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABA Journal, Atlantic, Vice, Daily News, New York Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, NPR, Huffington Post, and was profiled in the Advocate. He has provided corporate trainings to Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, and medical schools, as well as continuing legal education to law firms and law schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Columbia, and conferences around the country and in Puerto Rico. 

Levasseur is passionate about transgender community empowerment. In 2007, Levasseur co-founded the Jim Collins Foundation, a trans-led national nonprofit that funds surgeries for transgender people in need. The organization has awarded 20 grants in 10 years. In an effort to bring greater attention to funding gaps for transgender communities, Levasseur serves as a working group member for Grantmakers United for Trans Communities.

His leadership has been recognized through many honors and awards from institutions such as National LGBT Bar Association, Inaugural “Trans 100,” City Bar of New York, Brooklyn Law School OUTLaws, and Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition. He prioritizes serving as a professional mentor for emerging leaders in the legal field and beyond. He is a member of the Georgia, Massachusetts, D.C., and New York Bars.


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Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT, is the Founder and Director of the Gender & Family Project at the Ackerman Institute for the Family (ackerman.org/GFP), Director of International Training, and a psychotherapist in private practice in New York City. He has presented nationally and internationally on issues of gender, sexuality, addiction, couple and family therapy. His work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, couples, and families has been published in numerous books and journals. Media appearances include a TEDx Talk, “The Gift of Gender Authenticity,” National Geographic’s “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric,” and PBS Frontline: “Growing Up Trans.” Founded in 2010, the Gender & Family Project’s groundbreaking work has been recognized by the Stonewall Community Foundation 2016 Visionary Award and the American Family Therapy Academy Social Justice 2018 Award. 


Zack Marshall, MSW PhD

Assistant Professor

School of Social Work

McGill University

BIO TO COME


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Denise Medico, Ph.D, is a Professor at Université du Québec à Montréal’s Department of Sexology (UQAM). She is a registered psychologist and sexologist in Canada and Switzerland, affiliated with the Meraki Health Center in Montreal. 

Her research activities aim to promote affirmative and reflective clinical practice to better serve LGBTIQ2+ population. Her work is informed by a phenomenological, critical, and systemic approach, and pertains to issues of gender, embodiment, eroticism and sexual therapy. For 15 years (2002-2016), she worked in Switzerland as a clinical practitioner devoted to the development trans health and sexology. She co-founded the Agnodice Fondation, an NGO dedicated to the development of health and social trans-affirmative practices in Switzerland.

She teaches sexual therapy and clinical supervision in Canada, Switzerland, Belgium and Italy. She is a member of the scientific committee of the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS), and a member of WPATH, the Institute for Feminist Research (IREF), the Research Chair on Homophobia and the Institute for Health and Society (ISS) at UQAM. 

Author of a book in French Repenser le genre: une clinique avec les personnes trans (Georg, 2016), she is currently co-editing two books, one on integrativity and political perspectives in clinical sexology, and the other on affirmative interventions for trans youth and their families. 


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Christine Milrod, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist, AASECT-certified sex therapist, and researcher at Southern California Transgender Counseling in Los Angeles, CA, specializing in human sexuality and transgender issues. Dr. Milrod has been a provider of psychotherapy and client advocacy to the transgender community since 1996, and has conducted and published studies of the ethics and practice of genital surgery in transgender minors. Her particular interests include providing assistance with complex insurance appeals and guidelines for surgical treatment in adolescents. Dr. Milrod has provided advice and commentary on trans issues to mainstream media as well as institutions and labor unions. Her articles can be found here: https://www.transgendercounseling.com/reading-list-2/


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Margaret Nichols, Ph.D. is a psychologist, AASECT Certified Sex Therapy Supervisor, and founder and first Executive Director of the Institute for Personal Growth, a psychotherapy organization in New Jersey  specializing in sex therapy and other clinical work with the sex and gender diverse community.  She is an international speaker on LGBTQ issues and author of many articles and papers on LGBTQ sexuality and mental health issues.  Her current primary clinical areas of interest are differences between same and mixed sex couples’ sexual function, transgender and gender nonconforming young people, and those who make up the ‘Q’ in LGBTQ, e.g. kinky, polyamorous, and queer people. Recent publications include papers on LGBTQ therapy, same sex couples, clients who practice ‘kink’, and parents of transgender people,  Psychotherapy Networker articles on transgender youth and consensual nonmonogamy, and a TEDx talk entitled “Beyond the  Gender Binary.”.   Current projects include her work as a new Board Member of AASECT and Chair of the Public Relations, Media, and Advocacy Committee,    the development of a certification program for transgender mental health through Modern Sex Therapy Institutes.. She is the author of the forthcoming book from Routledge Press titled “Gender Expansive Kids, Polyamorous Couples, and Mostly Heterosexual Men: A Modern Therapist’s Guide to the LGBTQ+ Community”


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Johanna Olson-Kennedy, MD is an Adolescent Medicine physician specializing in the care of gender non-conforming children and transgender youth. Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Olson has been an Assistant Professor at Children's Hospital Los Angeles for the past nine years. Dr. Olson has been providing medical intervention for transgender youth and young adults including puberty suppression and cross sex hormones for the past six years, and is considered a national expert in this area. Dr. Olson is the Medical Director of The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, the largest transgender youth clinic in the United States. Dr. Olson has appeared frequently on national television, and spoken all over the country to educate providers, parents, and other communities about the needs of transgender youth.


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Simon Pickstone-Taylor,  MBChB, is a General Adult Psychiatrist, and Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist who completed his undergraduate medical degree at Cambridge University, UK and finished medicine at University of Cape Town(UCT). Specialised in psychiatry in the USA and finished with a fellowship in Child & Adolescent psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco in 2003. He worked for the National Health Service in the UK for 7 years and then returned to the South Africa in 2011. 

He has a special interest in Gender Diversity particularly in young people and has worked with gender diverse youth in the USA, UK and South Africa. In 2012 he started the Gender Identity Development Service within UCT’s Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, where he provides support for young people up to 18 years old and their families, as well as to other professionals supporting these young people. This is the only such service in Africa. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the psychiatry department at UCT, and gives training on gender and sexuality to trainees and staff. He is part of the Groote Schuur Transgender Service Team. He is member of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health and an advocate against the pathologization of children with Gender Diversity. 

He also works with inmates for the department of correctional services and helped found and works at the Neurodiversity Centre in the Boland that specializes in Autistic Spectrum Disorder.


Jake Pyne

2018 Banting Postdoctoral Fellow

College of Social and Applied Human Sciences

Guelph University

BIO TO COME


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Marjorie Rabiau, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at McGill University. She is one of the core faculty teaching in the specialization Masters in Couple and Family Therapy. Dr. Rabiau is a registered clinical psychologist and a couple and family therapist. Dr. Rabiau is affiliated with the McGill University Sexual Identity Center (MUSIC), doing clinical supervision as well as running groups for parents of transgender and gender creative youth using an affirmative model of care. 

Dr. Rabiau’s research centers around supporting trans youth and their families. She brings a systemic lens to supporting families in transition. Dr. Rabiau recently published an OpEd in the Montreal Gazette titled “People can’t be neatly categorized by gender, sexuality”. She is currently writing a chapter on family systems for a book on affirmative intervention for trans youth and families. Dr. Rabiau is a member of the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH) and a member of the Children, Youth, and Family (CYF) committee of CPATH.


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Stephen M. Rosenthal, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), has served as Program Director for Pediatric Endocrinology and Director of the Pediatric Endocrine Clinics, and currently serves as co-founder and Medical Director of the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center. Dr. Rosenthal earned a bachelor's degree at Yale University and a medical degree at Columbia University, where he also completed a residency in pediatrics. He completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at UCSF. Dr. Rosenthal was appointed as the official representative of the Pediatric Endocrine Society to the Endocrine Society’s Clinical Practice Guidelines Revision Task Force for the Care of Transgender Individuals, and is a co-author of the recently published guidelines (November, 2017).  He was also appointed as an author of the upcoming World Professional Association of Transgender Health “Standards of Care Version 8”.  

Dr. Rosenthal has authored multiple manuscripts on transgender youth, including a “State-of-the-art” invited review in Pediatrics and an invited review in the “Approach to the Patient” series for the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.  He has had significant experience conducting multi-center trials, and is currently Principal Investigator (PI) (multiple PI format) for NIH/NICHD “The Impact of Early Medical Treatment in Transgender Youth”.  Dr. Rosenthal has served on multiple committees of the Endocrine Society and the Pediatric Endocrine Society, and has recently completed his term as President of the Pediatric Endocrine Society. Dr. Rosenthal is now serving as Endocrine Society Vice President, Clinical Scientist Position.


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Cianán Russell, Ph.D., (pronoun: they) coordinates UN advocacy for Transgender Europe (TGEU) and supports other projects within the Global Program, such as the TvT Project. Cianán received a Bachelor's degree in 2004 from the University of Iowa and a Doctorate in 2008 from Purdue University. Prior to joining the team at TGEU as the UN Officer in 2018, Cianán worked for the Asia Pacific Transgender Network as the Human Rights & Advocacy Officer and on the teaching faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology in Chemistry. They have worked in trans activism since 2001 in the US, Thailand, regionally in Asia and the Pacific, and now in Europe. Cianán is an expert signatory on the Yogyakarta Principles Plus 10, serves on the Diagnostics and Terminology Chapter Working Group for the WPATH Standards of Care v. 8, is represents TGEU in the international working group on trans depathologization and ICD, and works extensively in rape crisis and recovery for trans survivors assigned female at birth. 


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Hershel Russell M.Ed, Registered Psychotherapist, is an older, white, transgender man, based in Toronto, Canada, experienced as psychotherapist, educator and activist. He has been counseling trans people and their families since 1995, has worked in a range of capacities with Sherbourne Health Centre since its inception in the early 2000s, including many years as Lead Mental Health Trainer for "Trans Health Connection", training Health Care providers across Ontario and beyond. He actively critiqued the practises of the former Gender Identity Clinics at CAMH for many years, was published in IJT Wallace, R., & Russell, H. (2013). Attachment and shame in gender-nonconforming children and their families: and has participated in a range of documentaries, including CBC Doc Zone:Transforming gender.


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Dr. Annie Pullen Sansfaçon, PhD Ethics, Social Work, De Montfort University, UK, is a Social Worker and a Full Professor of Social Work at the University of Montreal. Her work focuses on the development of anti-oppressive theories, approaches and methodologies to promote ethical and emancipatory practice in social work. Since 2010, she has focused much of her research time on various projects aimed at better understanding the experience of trans youth and their families. She has published several book chapters and articles on the experience of trans youth and their families, as well as on trans-affirming practices, stressing the importance of social changes in order to ensure trans youth wellbeing. She is the co-author of the book Supporting Trans and Gender Creative Youth: Schools, Families, and Communities in Action (Peter Lang, 2014 and revised edition in 2018) and is one of the co-founders of Gender Creative Kids Canada, a Montreal-based community organization working with trans children and youth and their families. Her leadership and her work on trans youth and their families have been recognized through various awards and honours such as the Quebec Human Right prize, the National Assembly medal, the Innovation and Research award of the Y Foundation as well as being named one of the 20 Inspiring Citizens (category science) by the City of Montreal. 


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Herb Schreier M.D. Clinical professor University of California San Francisco-Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland  

In 2009 at the World Professional Association for Transgender Health [WPATH] meetings in Oslo Norway, a small group of us from the Bay Area were having a chat on the balcony of the City Hall and agreed that there was a need for a clinic that addressed the needs of transgender children as we were all beginning to see a dramatic increase in their numbers.   This led to the establishment of a groups of medical personnel, a legal  team and of the “Mind the Gap” psychology group. The first clinic was opened at UCSF medical center and now a 2nd clinic at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Within a very short period of time that clinic  reached over a hundred patients. I started seeing gender creative children in my clinic in the department of psychiatry 20 years ago and was so taken with the bravery of their struggles, some of them as young as 4 years old and their creative solutions that I began to write about them in professional journals, and when political statements seemed needed, in newspapers and books. I have presented at conferences both in the US and abroad including trips to Africa, where expression of an LGBT identity could lead to prison and worse. While things are going  exceedingly better in some parts of the US and Europe, they continue to be difficult for LGBT and gender queer people in much of the world.  Some of the difficulties arise from lack of experience but many more are from lack of acceptance and indeed serious hostility. In our practices we are very fortunate to have the freedom to continue to learn from what these children are teaching us about gender and sexuality.


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Judy Sennesh is the Chair of the Board of PFLAG NYC, a prolific speaker, the founder of the TransFamilies Project (previously the TransParents’ Project), and is a fierce advocate for transgender and gender nonconforming youth. In 2006, two years after her younger child came out as transgender, Judy started a support group for parents with transgender children. That small but constantly growing group was adopted by PFLAG NYC in 2011; Judy still facilitates these support group meetings at several Manhattan locations every month and also shepherded PFLAG NYC’s adoption of Stepping Stones, a parent support group with a children’s supervised playgroup for families with school age (up to 12) gender-expansive children.

Judy is a speaker with PFLAG NYC’s Safe Schools program which spoke to over 8000 NYC middle and high school students last year, as well as staff and teachers, about bullying and homophobia Her essay, “A Blessing in Disguise”, about being the mother of a transgender child, is included in Rachel Pepper’s book "Transitions of the Heart” and was reprinted in Lilith Magazine.  Judy was on the editing team for the groundbreaking book “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves” and was the recipient of the 2016 Leyton Award from Houses on the Moon Theater Company for being a “Champion of the Unheard Voice.”

A member of the Leadership Team of Gender Conference East since its inception in 2014, she is continuing to work on a new conference to be held in NYC in 2019.

As someone with a unique view of, and constant interaction with families and their transgender and gender creative kids of all ages, she understands that this growing population is very real and in need of support and care from their families and expertly trained professionals.


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Julia Serano, Ph.D.is a biologist, author, and activist. She is best known for her 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity(now in second edition)—The Advocateplaced the book on their list of “Best Non-Fiction Transgender Books,” and readers of Ms. Magazineranked it #16 on their list of the “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.” Her other books include 2013’s Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive(which was a finalist for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction) and 2016’s Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism(which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Nonfiction). She has gained notoriety in feminist and LGBTQIA+ circles for her unique insights into gender, and her writings have been used as teaching materials in psychology, sociology, and gender studies courses across North America.

 In addition to her writings on gender, Julia received her Ph.D.in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University, and spent seventeen years working as a research scientist at UC Berkeley in the fields of evolution, developmental biology, and genetics. Drawing on this experience, and her extensive familiarity with gender-diverse communities, Julia has penned numerous critical reviews of scientifically unsubstantiated and invalidating theories regarding transgender people, and gender-disaffirming approaches to healthcare—these writings are collected on her Transgender Psychology, Diagnoses, Theories, and Healthcarewebpage. More information about Julia’s other creative endeavors can be found at juliaserano.com.


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Caroline Shahbaz, BBSc(Hons), MPsych is an Australian trained clinical psychologist as well as a depth and liberation psychologist. She is co-author of Becoming a Kink Aware Therapist and the co-founder and CEO of Kink Knowledgeable, an AASECT and APA certified online academy aimed at developing kink knowledgeable mental health professionals.  Drawing on a unique cross cultural, international perspective on alternative sexualities and communities, her research interests include exploring cultural, social and professional persecution of marginalized alternative sexualities and in particular, bridging psychotherapeutic misunderstanding of alternative sexualities, gender and sexual diversity.  She has been actively engaged in education and advocacy on alternative sexualities, gender and sexual diversity  in Australia and the USA, having given over 200 workshops, conducting research into the kink community’s dynamics as well as advising and mentoring individual therapists and various organizations in relation to sexual diversity, cultural sensitivity and awareness of alternative sexualities.  She is currently on the core group involved in developing kink clinical guidelines.   


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John B. Steever, MD, graduated the George Washington University Medical School in Washington DC.  He completed an Internship, Residency and Fellowship in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in 1999.  His training has focused on providing medical services to “high risk” youth including LGBT clients and those affected by HIV/AIDS.   Dr Steever has been providing puberty suppression and cross gender hormones to youth at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York since 2013. He currently works at the Adolescent Health Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, New York as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. Dr Steever strives to provide high quality health care to underserved youth in the New York Metropolitan area. He has written several articles on transgender medical care and is a member of the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery.


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Françoise Susset, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist and couple and family therapist with over 30 years of experience working with LGBTQ populations. Her clinical work centers on trans adults and teens, during transition and beyond. She also focuses on supporting gender creative/gender expansive children, and helping families and schools challenge notions regarding sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Dr. Susset has trained and supervised hundreds of health professionals in transgender health across Canada. She currently teaches in the McGill University program in Couple and Family therapy.

Dr. Susset is a member of WPATH and is past president of the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health (CPATH). Following her contribution over the years to several legislative bills supporting transgender youth and adults in her province, she was recognized with the 2016 medal of the Quebec National Assembly in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of transgender rights in Quebec. 


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Brynn Tannehill, M.S., graduated from the Naval Academy with a B.S. in computer science in 1997. She earned her Naval Aviator wings and flew maritime patrol aircraft during three deployments between 2000 and 2004, also serving as a campaign analyst while deployed overseas from 2005 to 2006. In 2008 she earned a M.S. in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology and transferred from active duty to the Naval Reserve and began working as a senior defense research scientist in private industry. Since leaving the drilling reserves she has written for OutServe magazine, The New Civil Rights Movement, and Queer Mental Health as a blogger and featured columnist.

Her writing credentials include nearly 200 pieces have written for the Huffington PostThe New Civil Rights MovementUSA TodayThe Advocate, The Bilerico Project, and Salon.She has presented to audiences as diverse as Harvard, Yale, the United States Naval Academy, WPATH, Creating Change, the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Her book, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Trans* (But Were Afraid to Ask) will be available on November 21, 2018.

She served as an advisory board member to OutServe-SLDN, and on the boards of Dayton PFLAG, Equality Ohio, SPARTA, and the Trans United Fund. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Trans United Fund’s children’s issues working group, and the director of Advocacy at SPARTA. 


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Barbara E. Warren Psy.D., LMHC, is Director for LGBT Programs and Policies in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Mount Sinai Health System, where she leads Mount Sinai’s implementation of LGBT culturally and clinically competent health care. She holds an appointment as Assistant Professor of Medical Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and is teaching and developing curricula to address best practices in serving diverse patient populations. Dr. Warren previously served as Distinguished Lecturer and Director for the Center for LGBT Social Science and Public Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York. For 21 years, she was senior management at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of New York City, led the Center’s behavioral health programs, where she co-founded the Center’s then ground breaking Gender Identity Project  and was responsible for the Center’s health policy and government relations initiatives. Dr. Warren has served as an advisor to local, state and national government and policy organizations including chairing the Multi-Cultural Advisory Council to the NYS Commissioner of Mental Health, on the LGBT Task Force at Health Care for All New Yorkers, as a Board Memberof theNational Coalition for LGBT Healthand is currently on the Board of the National LGBT Cancer Network. She is a longtime member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health where she is faculty in WPATH’s Global Education Initiative, and has served on its membership and ethics committees.  She holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and has 40 years of experience in the development and delivery of substance use, mental health and public health programs and services in healthcare and community settings. 


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Erika P. Volkmar, DDS, is a swiss transactivist and director of SSD Analysis et Development Sàrl, a consultancy through which she provides training (especially on Diversity issues) and management services to public and private organizations involved in Health, Social work and Education.   

For the past 12 years, she has held the position of President of the Agnodice Foundation in Lausanne (Switzerland), which she co-founded, alongside Prof. Denise Medico and other scientists and/or transactivists. The Foundation has been pioneering in Switzerland as a transaffirmative multidisciplinary approach to Health, Social work and Education. During this period, the Foundation has first focused on developing a network of Trans Health specialists through regular supervisions and training, then on documenting and addressing the needs of trans sex workers. For the past 3 years, the Foundation’s priority is to support trans and non-binary children and youth (below 18 y.) and their families and make their needs known.        

Erika Volkmar teaches regularly at several universities, HES (High Health and Social schools), schools and colleges, NGOs and public services on the needs and care of the trans and non-binary population. She participates in research work and publications, though has always made field action her priority over academic goals.

She was granted the Swiss Stonewall award in 2011 for exceptional services to the LGBTIQ2+ community. 


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Linda Wesp, MSN, FNP-C, AAHIVS is a board certified family nurse practitioner and HIV Specialist. She has provided primary and gender affirming care for transgender adolescents and young adults for over 12 years, and has also worked on a variety of research projects related to improving health and well-being of transgender youth.  Linda is a member of the UCSF Center of Excellence Medical Advisory Board. She is also a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee College of Nursing, where her dissertation research involves qualitative research on access to health care and the experiences of caregiver support among transgender youth of color from around the U.S.