Go Beyond the Webinar: Insights, Experiences, and Strategies for Working with LGBT and Transgender Youth Families

By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT


We were fortunate enough to have Dr. Jenifer McGuire from the University of Minnesota join us in facilitating two very important and captivating webinars.

The first webinar, The ABCs of LGBT: Learning Language and Inclusive Practices in Work with LGBT Families, offered participants a deeper understanding of how language can impact the ways in which how people communicate can provide activism and inclusivity. Additionally, this webinar provided an understanding of the major theories around gender and sex while assisting participants in understanding how these theories can shape social interactions.

The following is a list of examples of some of the significant “take-aways” from the webinar:

  • Appropriate use of terminology and inclusiveness- ways of talking to and about people can promote activism and intervention. Reframing the ways in which we talk about gender, age, body image, and inclusion can lead to change.
  • Ways that we unconsciously gender police others in which we don’t even realize we are doing it- Gender policing is when we impose behaviors of others based on sex or assumed gender
  • Being more aware of gender pronouns- letting others know what gender pronouns you use- people being respectful of that and using the pronouns the person requests
  • The binary concept about gender- Classification system consisting of two genders: male and female.
  • The difference between gender identity and gender expression- Gender identity is a person’s perception of having a particular gender, which may or may not correspond with their birth sex. Gender expression is the way in which a person expresses their gender identity, through their appearance, dress, and behavior.
  • Definition of (some) terms used by (or about) the LGBT community- See power point and webinar for all of the terms
  • Inclusive language- using inclusive language makes people feel safe. Everyone feels safer in inclusive environments.
  • The importance of language in the LGBT community- See power point and webinar
  • Everyone feels safer in more inclusive environments- Research on schooling repeatedly finds that all youth are safer when environments are more inclusive.
  • How our culture is shaped by “physical” sex identity, and how much self-identification is crucial- See power point and webinar
  • How expression and identity are different- See above

The following is a list of examples of ways in which providers can apply these “take-aways” to their work:

  • Improve inclusivity
  • Use the knowledge to improve professional interactions with LGBT clients
  • Being more inclusive of patients and families when providing counseling
  • Provide more education so that others can be more aware intheir practices
  • To assist with being more culturally competent and sensitive
  • Ensuring the use of inclusive language when interacting with clients
  • Use resources provided in the training, as well as the resources provided by the participants
  • Increasing sensitivity and inclusivity with LGBT population
  • Use more inclusive language

The second webinar, TRANSforming Conversations: Addressing Needs of Transgender Youth and Their Families, provided participants with information about research that has been done with this population in order to have a better understanding of the ways in which they can be supportive and helpful when working with families.

The following is a list of examples of some of the significant “take-aways” from the webinar:

  • Family support has a significant impact on the struggles Transgender Youth face- family rejection is harmful, parent support is linked to better outcomes, being forced out of the home is linked to additional risks for Transgender youth, loss is associated with anxiety and depression.
  • The concept of ambiguous loss- this kind of loss occurs without closure or understanding; in terms of Transgender youth and families, it can be a loss through psychological and physical change.
  • The amount of homeless Transgender children and the lack of safe/appropriate shelters for them- See webinar for more details
  • Factors that lead to family reconciliation; application of ambiguous loss theory- See webinar for more details
  • The importance of supportive parenting- Family relationships are key
  • The variations of how family members treat Transgender Youth when they first tell them- See webinar
  • The importance of family relationships to be strong and supportive- See webinar

The following is a list of examples of ways in which providers can apply these “take-aways” to their work:

  • Being more supportive
  • Giving people language regarding what they are experiencing
  • Be more understanding, accepting, and share knowledge with others
  • Working with families to help navigate the confusion they may be facing
  • Being more aware of how to best offer support services to clients
  • Be able to identify mediators for the youth and discuss how family relations are not static

We encourage all of you to watch both of these webinars and think about significant things you can take away from them and the ways in which you can apply what you learned to your work. We would love for you to share your responses after watching these webinars. You can share in the comments section on this blog. We look forward to your responses!

This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration area on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.


Creating Space in Extension

Creating Space in Extension. An #EdTechLN Tweet-up. #Maythe4th at 2 p.m. ET
Creating Spaces for Extension – Created with images by Pexels – “characters close-up darth vader” CC0

Is it a coincidence that the EdTechLN will be hosting a Tweetup about creating space in Extension on the unofficial Star Wars day #Maythe4th [be with you]? What on Earth will we be talking about?

Space is where thinking, learning, reflection, conversation, inspiration, and more can occur. Often times, creating these spaces leads to skill building, creation of knowledge, and the discovery of innovative ideas.

The Network Literacy community of practice has been especially interested in nurturing these spaces. Leading and facilitating new ways for people to connect, learn, share and act together can often create the needed space to address wicked and collective problems.

As the Network Literacy team. We were struck by the tweet from Jamie Seger, leader of the Educational Technology Learning Network, that asked if creation spaces are critical to Extension:

Space can mean many things. It might mean providing ourselves with an opportunity to go beyond our plans of work, follow our curiosity, explore new ideas and technology, reflect on past experiences, and consider alternate strategies.

Creating space can mean creating those times, places, and platforms where what occurs is filled by what we choose at that moment, or is created by connecting with others that are drawn together by similar interests and passions.

We think creating these spaces is critical to Extension, but what is really interesting to us, is how people are finding the time and space to nurture these spaces in Extension.  Please join #EdTechLN on #Maythe4th, 2017 @ 2 pm ET for a discussion about how we create these spaces for our personal growth, professional development, and collective action.