Understanding the Transgender Experience: Supporting Transgender Youth

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Program Description


Join us for a panel discussion with transgender youth and parents of transgender children who will share their perspectives with us. This program will support, educate and inspire anyone who attends. For teens and adults. 

Meet our panelists:

Abby is a 12 year-old trans girl who uses she/they pronouns. She is a 7th grader and enjoys studying entomology, playing soccer, and tinkering.

Photo of Abby holding a mug.

Hope is 16 years old, their pronouns are they/she, and they are a 10th grader who enjoys creative writing and sculpture. Hope lives with their mom, dad, sister, who is also on the panel, and two dogs. Hope loves listening to music, going on bike rides, embracing their inner bookworm, and writing poetry. Both of Hope's parents are poets and inspired their interest in poetry. Another poet that's an inspiration to Hope is Andrea Gibson, a non-binary poet. A quote from one of their poems, "your life", that has resonated with her since they heard it about two years ago is, “Choosing your life and how that made you into someone who now often finds it easy to explain your gender by saying you are happiest on the road, when you're not here or there, but in-between, that yellow line running down the center of it all like a <expletive> sunbeam.” I love this quote because it feels so similar to the way I view my own gender identity.

Photo of Hope in a cool mushroom print shirt.

Janna is an author, educator, and mother. Her youngest child is transgender. She has worked as a preschool teacher/director and is now the Family Programs Manager at The Spahr Center. Janna currently supports transgender youth and their families as facilitator of parent support group, workshop presenter, speaker, and parent coach. Her book He’s Always Been My Son (Janet Kingsley Publishers, 2017) was a #1 bestseller on Amazon and continues to be a valuable resource. This in an important time for transgender people, their families, and their allies. There is a growing awareness about what it means to be transgender, and there is also much confusion. Janna hopes that sharing her story about raising her transgender child and what she has learned along the way will foster more compassion, understanding, and acceptance in our society.

Photo of Janna Barkin smiling.

Carol is from Petaluma and has two sons 19 and 20 years old. Her oldest is a trans guy named Gabe. She joins us in an effort to talk about her journey as a mom and to support other parents.  Her son Gabe describes his early experience of being a young trans teen as hellish and horrible and recently gave Carol the thumbs up on sharing her perspective of those early difficult years. The good news is that Gabe is now doing much better and Carol will go into that as well. She's a graphic designer and illustrator with clients on both coasts. She's currently working on total update for One Love, a national non-profit organization based in New York City that educates individuals 10-24yrs on developing healthy relationships and recognizing unhealthy ones. She supports their goal of ending relationship abuse. Carol also has a small family letterpress shop called Squeaky Boot Prints and sells her designs on cards, t-shirts, stickers, and market totes in local farmers markets in Sonoma County.    

Photo of Carol one of the panelists