Berkeley will be hosting the 2012 Gender Spectrum Family Conference
, a "gathering dedicated solely to the needs of gender nonconforming children and teens, their loved ones, and the community of professionals who surround them."
The aim of this conference is to build community among children and their families as well as give resources to parents of transgender or nonconforming gender children
. According to the website, the number of children who fall in this category is hard to determine but may likely range from 1 in 500 or 1 in 20,000. More than 30 workshops will be offered to address pertinent issues relating to mental health, medicine, education, the law, social issues, and spiritual guidance.
And while their parents are getting educated, children will have a chance to play with peers at the Kids Camp or Tween Camp. Teens over the age of 12 will have a chance to sit in on their own workshops focusing on relationships, medical and legal issues. And of course, there's a mentorship component as well. Tickets for the camps cost $30 each day, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Ultimately, the conference strives to create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for all children and teens, while offering their parents
a place to process through and communicate some of the challenges they face.
As the Gender Spectrum Blog notes: "Raising gender nonconforming children often feels like the most isolated, marginalized experience possible." In addition to hosted the family conference, Gender Spectrum also offers a national call-in parent support group on the last Wednesday of each month and hosts monthly meetings in Oakland and Seattle.
This year's conference will be hosted at the Doubletree Hotel in Berkeley and the festivities kick off tomorrow evening with a pool party.