PFLAG NYC is proud that Judy Sennesh, founder and leader of our TransParents Project, will receive an award from Houses on the Moon Theater Company at their annual benefit, Amplify 2016. Read more »

On Tuesday, November 3, PFLAG NYC was proud to take part in the New York City Department of Education’s first Transgender Youth Conference for more than 300 school counselors and other staff.

Judy Sennesh Speaks with Counselors at the Transgender Youth Conference

A team of presenters from the Safe Schools Program led two workshops on supporting families and fostering family acceptance for transgender youth with more than 80 attendees. Judy Sennesh, the leader of the TransParents Project, PFLAG NYC’s support group for families with transgender children, spoke with the counselors about the most common fears of parents when their child expresses gender in non-traditional ways or is transgender. Some common feelings are difficulty understanding how one doesn’t identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, and fear that their child will not be accepted or bullied by their peers.

Using family stories to increase understanding of LGBT issues is a guiding idea of our Safe Schools Program, so Judy also talked about her own experience with a trans son who came out in college. Amy Fabrikant movingly described her own experiences with the daily challenges faced by trans students in elementary school. Many such stories form the background to the children’s book she wrote, When Kayla was Kyle, that helps younger kids understand gender identity. Read more »

Be a Safe Schools Volunteer!

The Safe Schools Program is always looking for dedicated volunteers who want to make a difference in the community, by teaching kids that it is okay to be exactly who they are. We need parents and family members of LGBT people who want to share their stories about how and why they accept their LGBT loved ones. We also want LGBT speakers who are willing to speak about a part of their own journey of self-acceptance, so that students in NYC can see that no matter how they identify, we all just want to be loved and respected. Many of the parents in the program share the same sentiment: “If only there was a program like this in effect when my child was in school.”

What We Look For in a
Safe Schools Volunteer Speaker

  • LGBT people or Parents, friends and family members of LGBT people
  • Those with a passion to help young people grow up as supported as possible
  • Good listening skills
  • A desire to share their experiences to help students understand a positive perspective of the LGBT community

The Safe Schools Program is built on real authentic stories from different people in the community that the students can relate to. When we visit a school from the previous years, the students remember our volunteers and their stories as well. Last year we spoke to over 5,000 students in 170 classroom visits in schools all over New York City.

The Stories

  • A mother of a gay son from the Bronx talks about how her son overcame his fear to come out when he was 14 years old. She describes how he dealt with bullies in his neighborhood, and how he became a successful dance despite all of the obstacles he faced. “My son Henry grew up being taunted in public school. I didn’t know if there was anything I could do about it until I found PFLAG. Now I fight to make sure other children find the same support.”
  • A young trans man tells students about his first time feeling truly comfortable in his own skin during a talent show where he dressed up as a drag king. That moment in his life lead to him coming to terms with his true gender identity.
  • A mother from Jersey City tells the story of her youngest son and his boyfriend being the first openly gay couple to go to his high school prom. “When Dylan and his date stepped on to the red carpet, looking drop dead gorgeous in their tuxedos, all of the parents applauded.”

A Bronx high school teacher wrote us recently after the Safe Schools Program visited her school:

“Your insightful, heartfelt personal stories combined with facts that hit home with our young people opened up a much needed dialogue within our school community about the LGBTQ community. Those who were here for your visit last year felt inspired to see you here again and those new to our school found an opportunity to start a real conversation about acceptance, sexuality, and respect.”

A new school year has just begun in New York City, and the Safe Schools Program of PFLAG NYC will be there again this year to help schools make their school culture welcoming; to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people find support; and to teach all students how to be true friends and strong allies.

For more than a decade the Safe Schools Program has been visiting schools and making classroom presentations, sharing our personal experiences with students. Passionate community volunteers are the heart of our program. Dozens of parents and other relatives along with LGBT people speak to students about their experiences with coming out and coming to understand sexual orientation and gender identity, or learning to understand and accept that of a child or loved one.

Are you interested in volunteering? Find out more here. Read more »

Join Us on Opening Night of 52 Tuesdays for Special Film Discussion

52 TUESDAYS Film Poster

We’ve been thrilled by the enthusiastic response PFLAG NYC supporters have given to recent film events, and we’re very happy to tell you about another one we’ve organized in cooperation with Kino Lorber.

52 Tuesdays is the story of a mom, transitioning to male, and his relationship with his teenage daughter who is thrust into her own search for identity. Filmed over the course of a year, once a week, every week (only on Tuesdays), it brings a rare authenticity to this emotionally charged story of desire, responsibility and transformation.

Read more »