A Virtual Welcoming Home

A Virtual Welcoming Home

Michael Adee, Erin Swenson, Mac Schafer, Katie Schafer, Dominick Petitto
  • Location: Zoom
  • Starts: 2020-09-12 11:00:00
  • Ends: 2020-09-12 17:00:00
welcoming home image

Details & Online Registration

Program information

At Kirkridge, we believe that all families deserve to experience care, respect and support. Several parents with gender diverse children have shared with us that they experience little to no support from the places families can typically count on in their communities — churches, schools and medical offices. 

So, we heard these parents and decided to find ways to offer support to families like theirs through a series of four virtual educational programs followed by the offering of virtual circles of support.

The Welcoming Home: A Space for Families with Gender Diverse Children
Gender diverse children and youth may identify as transgender, gender nonconforming, non-binary, gender fluid or gender creative.

In addition to the lack of local support or understanding, transgender children have become a new political target with a wave of discriminatory bills in state legislatures.  These anti-transgender bills seek to ban trans/gender nonconforming children and youth from participation in sports or to prevent parents from securing support from medical providers for their own children. These new types of discriminatory bills follow the anti-transgender bathroom bills of recent time.  Surely the political hostility, particularly in conservative places, is disruptive to the support families deserve and need to have so that their children can be safe and thrive.

Our original design was a weekend retreat at Kirkridge. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the necessary shift to virtual offerings.  These virtual programs will be led by transgender leaders with professonal backgrounds in counseling and spiritual care. Parents of a transgender child will share their faith and family journey.  Plus, the virtual conference will feature Jacob Tobia, the author of Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story and actor with his TV debut as the Double Trouble, the nonbinary character in She-Ra and the Princess of Power at Netflix.

These three virtual programs are Saturdays from 11:00am – 12:30pm ET

June 13: “Transgender Questions within the Family” led by Dr. Erin Swenson, a marriage and family therapist and pastoral counselor specializing in transgender issues

July 11: “Being in my family — trans+ youth” led by Dominick Petitto, MS NCC, a mental health counselor specializing with children and youth in schools

August 8: “On Being Parents of a Transgender Child” led by Mac and Katy Schafer, a Presbyterian family with four children.

September 12:  The virtual conference “The Welcoming Home: A Place for Families with Gender Diverse Children”  featuring Jacob Tobia is from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm ET. This conference will include conversations facilitated by Justine Johnson and Michael Adee with Erin Swenson, Dominick Petitto, Mac and Katy Schafer.

Advance registration for each program is required so that we can be in touch with you about the digital platform and the technology for your access to each one.  Please visit our website for more information and to register.

If you know families with gender diverse children, please do share this information with them.  We look forward to the participation of parents, grandparents or guardians of gender diverse children as these programs are designed with you and your children in mind.

As Kirkridge, we are delighted to be offering The Welcoming Home: A Space for Families with Gender Diverse Children.

Until we can gather again in person on the mountain, Kirkridge will be offering free virtual programming that is open to all.  Your support of Kirkridge helps sustains us.  We will be grateful to receive donations in any amount. Click here to donate.

To register and to find more information per event, please visit the Kirkridge Retreat & Program page. If you have additional questions, please email Jean Richardson, Executive Director, at jeanr@kirkridge.org.

We are grateful for The Carpenter Foundation’s support of this program.