8th Annual Transgender Information & Empowerment Summit

TIES 2021 Schedule & Program

TIES 2021 Schedule & Program

Below is the official schedule and program descriptions for the 8th Annual Transgender Information & Empowerment Summit (TIES 2021). We invite you to take some time to explore the schedule and descriptions, then start to plan your days at the conference. This year’s conference theme is Mental Health & Wellness!

We are grateful for the amazing folks who are speaking, presenting, and facilitating who make this programming possible as well as for the staff, volunteers, community voices, legal clinic partners, and sponsors who support this conference. You can see a list of the many partner organizations who make TIES possible on our main TIES page.

We invite you to read the descriptions for every workshop, keynote, social, and meeting to get a fuller sense of the content that TIES has to offer, and check out the presenter bios to get familiar with the individuals who have generously given their time and expertise to provide these sessions. Whether you are hoping to connect with community, find resources, or learn about topics from healthcare access to spirituality, there’s something for everyone at TIES 2021! All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

All workshops, keynotes, and social events are available in English and Spanish thanks to Trans Terps DC and Angel Rose Artist Collective. The Wellness Center and the Name & Gender Marker Change Clinic are also available in English & Spanish thanks to dedicated attorneys and healthcare providers. Workshops, keynotes, and social events are also available in American Sign Language (ASL) thanks to Mosaic Interpreting Services and other interpreters!

Haga clic aquí para leer el horario y el program de TIES 2021 en español. Click here to read the TIES 2021 schedule and program in Spanish.

Download Whova, our official conference app

Wednesday, October 20

2:00-3:00pm: Workshop Sessions

  • Know Your Rights: Discrimination in Employment, Housing, and Public Spaces
  • Understanding Virginia’s New Name & Gender Marker Change Process

3:00-3:30pm: Networking Break

3:30-4:30pm: Fast Friends: Digital Speed Meet & Greet -or- Diversity in Recovery Meeting

4:30-5:00pm: Networking Break

5:00-6:00pm: Workshop Sessions

  • Transfeminine/Nonbinary Surgical Options
  • Self-Advocacy for Trans & Nonbinary Students
  • Intimate Partner Violence within Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming Communities

5:30-6:30pm: TIES Wellness Center: “Ask A Healthcare Provider” Drop-In Hour

6:00-6:30pm: Networking Break

6:30-7:30pm: A Life of Leadership: A Keynote Discussion with Charley Burton

Thursday, October 21

2:00-3:00pm: Workshop Sessions

  • ~ Immigration & Asylum for Trans & Nonbinary Folks
  • Know You Rights: Advocating for Trans & Nonbinary Students

3:00-3:30pm: Networking Break

3:30-4:30pm: Open Mic Time

4:30-5:00pm: Networking Break

4:30-7:30pm: TIES Wellness Center Hours

5:00-6:00pm: Workshop Sessions

  • Transmasculine/Nonbinary Surgical Options
  • Trans & Nonbinary People of Color Roundtable*

6:00-6:30pm: Networking Break

6:30-7:30pm: Queer, Creative, & Can’t Be Stopped: A Keynote Discussion with Aurora Higgs

Friday, October 22

2:00-3:00pm: Workshop Sessions

  • Mental Health & Relationships
  • Self-Advocacy in Healthcare & Health Insurance

3:00-3:30pm: Networking Break

3:30-4:30pm: Talent Show: Lights, Camera, Action! 

4:30-5:00pm: Networking Break

5:00-6:00pm: Workshop Sessions

  • Spirituality for Trans & Nonbinary Folks
  • Trans Older Adults Care & Resources
  • Improving Your Emotional Well-Being

6:00-6:30pm: Networking Break -or- Diversity in Recovery Meeting

6:30-7:30pm: Living Authentically: A Keynote Panel with Trans Youth & Young Adults

Saturday, October 23

2:00-3:00pm: Workshop Sessions

  • The Fight to Ending HIV Criminalization in Virginia 
  • Parent & Caregiver Roundtable*

2:00-5:00pm: TIES Wellness Center Hours

3:00-3:30pm: Networking Break

3:30-4:30pm: Workshop Sessions

  • Medical Care for Trans and Nonbinary Youth
  • Transcending Homelessness

4:30-5:00pm: Networking Break

5:00-6:00pm: Breaking Boundaries & Building A Stage: A Keynote Discussion with Tona Brown

6:00-6:30pm: Networking Break

6:30-7:30pm: Hallow Queen/Quing/King Theme Dance Party

 

* We respectfully request that you only attend sessions marked with an asterisk if you identify with the community described in the title. Please read the workshop descriptions below for more information about these sessions.

~ Sessions that have a tilde mark before their title will be presented in Spanish, with interpretation available into English. All other main conference events will have interpretation between English & Spanish.

2:00-3:00pm

Know Your Rights: Discrimination in Employment, Housing, and Public Spaces
Presenter: Eden Heilman (she/her)

Since Summer 2020, Virginians have enjoyed a host of new legal protections under the Virginia Values Act. The laws protect Virginians from discrimination on the basis of who they are – including their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions including lactation, age, status as a veteran, or national origin. During this session, the ACLU of Virginia will talk about what LGBTQ+ Virginians need to know about these new protections and how to use them. There will also be time for questions.

Understanding Virginia’s New Name & Gender Marker Change Process
Presenter: Bary Hausrath (he/him)

Do you need to change your ID or birth certificate? The law changed in 2020! Join a discussion of Virginia’s laws on identity documents, including a new nonbinary option on DMV IDs and changes to the procedures for obtaining a new Virginia birth certificate to match your gender. Also, learn about the Name and Gender Marker Change Clinic, how to register, and what to expect. There will be time for questions.

3:00-3:30pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

3:30-4:30pm 

Fast Friends: Digital Speed Meet & Greet

Get to know your community with some good old fashioned speed friending! In this social, you will be randomly put in timed break-out rooms with a group of other participants and given fun prompts to help break the ice, learn some fun facts about each other, and even become fast friends.

Diversity in Recovery Meeting

This space is organized by Diversity in Recovery for anyone in recovery who wants to set aside time to talk with others with similar journeys or get support. We will meet virtually on Wednesday, October 20 from 3:30-4:30pm and Friday, October 22 from 6:00-6:30pm. Diversity in Recovery is not affiliated with AA or NA but we support 12-step recovery; we are a space for LGBTQ folks, people of color, and allies to talk about their recovery and anything that hampers their recovery. This is an open meeting. Learn more about us: www.diversityinrecovery.org.

4:30-5:00pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

5:00-6:00pm

Transfeminine/Nonbinary Surgical Options
Presenter: Dr. Keelee MacPhee, M.D. (she/her)

This workshop provides an overview of surgery procedures for transfeminine and nonbinary people. This workshop is for anyone wanting to learn more about the surgical process as well as pre- and post-operative procedures. Topics covered will include vaginoplasty, facial feminization, breast augmentation, and body contouring. There will also be time for questions.

Self-Advocacy for Trans & Nonbinary Students
Presenter: Oliver Bullington-McGuire

Participants will discuss and explore challenges of being transgender in schools. Case studies and examples will be used in interactive ways to introduce self-advocacy skills to help navigate situations that may arise for transgender students.  These skills will fall under 3 umbrellas: knowing your situation, preparing for self-advocacy, and effective self-advocacy. Some specific skills that will be introduced are identifying your needs, scripting for self-advocacy, assertive communication, managing emotions during a self-advocacy situation, and more.

Intimate Partner Violence within Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming Communities
Presenter: Rebecca Rose (she/her) 

Exploring how intimate partner violence uniquely affects the transgender+ communities. We will be discussing topics such as power and control, warning signs, barriers and how to provide and/or obtain support if you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence. Some information in this workshop may be triggering or hard to discuss, as we will be acknowledging the difficult but necessary topics of the seriousness and validity of the challenges faced by transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming victims and survivors of intimate partner violence. 

5:30-6:30pm

TIES Wellness Center: “Ask A Healthcare Provider” Drop-In Hour

The Wellness Center offers free, virtual conversations between TIES participants and trans-friendly healthcare providers in the medical and mental health fields who have training and experience providing trans-affirming care. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, identify resources, and discuss general next steps to getting your healthcare needs met. 

On Wednesday, all are welcome to the “Ask A Healthcare Provider” Drop-In Hour. Stop by any time for questions relating to medical health or mental health — questions and conversations during the drop-in hour are NOT confidential and other TIES participants may be present.  

6:00-6:30pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

6:30-7:30pm

A Life of Leadership: A Keynote Discussion with Charley Burton

For over a decade, Charley Burton has been building community across the state and the country to uplift LGBTQ folks, especially Black trans men and trans elders, as well as folks in recovery through mentorship, support, and making countless connections. He uses his passion for life, his network of community, and a life of leadership to invest in the next generation of folks making good trouble. Join us for a keynote discussion with a lifelong leader as he discusses resilient leadership, forging strong connections of support, and the power of mentorship.

2:00-3:00pm

~ Immigration & Asylum for Trans & Nonbinary Folks
Presenter: Sarah Pitney (they/them or ellx/elle)

While there are many paths for immigration, this workshop will focus on the asylum process since it is one of the most common programs that trans and nonbinary folks use. You will learn the basics of asylum for trans and nonbinary folks, as well as how to get assistance. There will be plenty of time for questions. This workshop will take place primarily in Spanish with interpretation into English — all are welcome!

Know You Rights: Advocating for Trans & Nonbinary Students
Presenter: Asaf Orr (he/him)

This workshop will discuss the landscape of student rights under federal and state law for transgender, nonbinary, and gender expansive youth in schools. We will address questions around dress code freedom, restroom access, name and pronoun usage, bullying and discrimination, and more. The workshop will cover current rights and how you can make sure they’re respected.  There will be time for questions.

3:00-3:30pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

3:30-4:30pm 

Open Mic Time

We know you’ve got that hidden poem, stand up routine, chapter of your book, or music sheet stuffed in your closet (or your Notes app)! Don’t be shy, let it all out in an affirming and welcoming Open Mic Time. Come ready to sing, speak, or play your heart out! Make sure to sign up by Wednesday, October 20 at 7:30pm so you dazzle us: bit.ly/TIES2021openmic

4:30-5:00pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

4:30-7:30pm

TIES Wellness Center Hours

The Wellness Center offers free, virtual conversations between TIES participants and trans-friendly healthcare providers in the medical and mental health fields who have training and experience providing trans-affirming care. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, identify resources, and discuss general next steps to getting your healthcare needs met. 

On Thursday and Saturday, private one-on-one conversations are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis by appointment.  You can sign up for an appointment here by Tuesday, October 19 at 5:00pm: bit.ly/TIES2021wellness

5:00-6:00pm

Transmasculine/Nonbinary Surgical Options
Presenter: Dr. Keelee MacPhee, M.D. (she/her)

This workshop provides an overview of chest and body surgery procedures for transmasculine and nonbinary people. This workshop is for anyone wanting to learn more about the surgical process as well as pre- and post-operative procedures, primarily top surgery. There will also be time for questions.

Trans & Nonbinary People of Color Roundtable*
Facilitator: Dexter Davis (he/him)

This will be an interactive discussion for all trans, gender diverse, and gender-questioning individuals who identify as people of color from all backgrounds. Together, we will share experiences and information related to our identities and experiences. This is a space to learn from each other, address challenges unique to trans people of color, and connect with our community. *Please note that this workshop is intended only for people of color from all backgrounds. 

6:00-6:30pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

6:30-7:30pm

Queer, Creative, & Can’t Be Stopped: A Keynote Discussion with Aurora Higgs

Whether it’s leading a protest on the streets of Richmond, giving a talk with healthcare providers, performing on stage, or advocating for LGBTQ legal protections, Aurora Higgs has been on the frontlines of fighting for change. She uses her platform as a speaker, performer, scholar, and media producer to promote equity and elevate the voices of a Black queer folks and queer folks of color. Join us for a keynote discussion with this changemaker as they discuss the power of creativity in Black queer resistance, the lessons they’ve learned, and how to find joy wherever you make space for liberation.

* We respectfully request that you only attend sessions marked with an asterisk if you identify with the community described in the title. Please read the workshop descriptions below for more information about these sessions.

~ Sessions that have a tilde mark before their title will be presented in Spanish, with interpretation available into English. All other main conference events will have interpretation between English & Spanish.

2:00-3:00pm

Mental Health & Relationships
Presenter: CasSandra Calin (she/her)

As we experience mental health challenges, sometimes relationships that give us joy and meaning can suffer. No matter who we are, we all need relationships with friends, partners, family members, and coworkers to live fulfilling lives. Learn more about how you can take care of relationships and yourself in a holistic way that honors our need for individual and community wellbeing. This will include techniques to build and maintain a healthy relationship and identify when something’s gone wrong. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Self-Advocacy in Healthcare & Health Insurance
Presenter: Nikki Easterday (they/them)

We’ll explain the changing legal landscape and answer common questions about how to access trans-related health care under public and private health insurance—including how to know what is covered and how to challenge an exclusion. In most situations, a denial of trans-related health care can be challenged. This workshop will help you to understand how to assert your rights, learn skills that you can share with your community, and be part of advancing trans health equality! There will be time for questions.

3:00-3:30pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

3:30-4:30pm 

Talent Show: Lights, Camera, Action! 

It’s your time in the spotlight! Whether your talent is speaking 7 languages, solving a rubix cube, or folding a fitted sheet, we want you to showcase it. Make sure to sign up by Thursday, October 21 at 7:30pm so you can show us what you got: bit.ly/TIES2021talent

4:30-5:00pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

5:00-6:00pm

Spirituality for Trans & Nonbinary Folks
Panelists: Torrianna Foster (they/them or she/her), Rev. Jes Cooke (they/them), Rev. Emma Chattin (she/her), and Brooke Taylor (they/them)

Spirituality, faith, and religion can be complicated topics for trans and nonbinary people, but many have embraced it, adapted it, or found new ways of experiencing spirituality. This panel discussion will feature trans and nonbinary people of faith who discuss their approach to spirituality and its affect on their lives. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Trans Older Adults Care & Resources
Panelists: Charley Burton (he/him), Willow Woycke (she/her), and Jamison Green, Ph.D. (he/him)

This panel discussion will feature trans older adults from around the state and country. Panelists will discuss their experiences, how they access care, and what resources and strategies are available to trans and nonbinary older adults. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Improving Your Emotional Well-Being
Presenter: Delton Harris (he/him)

The past two years have been particularly difficult with a global pandemic, an international uprising in defense of Black life, and natural disasters on every coast. Many folks have faced stress like they have never known, self-esteem challenges, and overall hits to their mental health. However, there are actions you can take and our communities can take together to improve everyone’s emotional well-being. Learn more during this dynamic workshop! There will be plenty of time for questions. 

6:00-6:30pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

Diversity in Recovery Meeting

This space is organized by Diversity in Recovery for anyone in recovery who wants to set aside time to talk with others with similar journeys or get support. We will meet virtually on Wednesday, October 20 from 3:30-4:30pm and Friday, October 22 from 6:00-6:30pm. Diversity in Recovery is not affiliated with AA or NA but we support 12-step recovery; we are a space for LGBTQ folks, people of color, and allies to talk about their recovery and anything that hampers their recovery. This is an open meeting. Learn more about us: www.diversityinrecovery.org.

6:30-7:30pm

Living Authentically: A Keynote Panel with Trans Youth & Young Adults
Panelists: Andraya Yearwood (she/her), Ali Moros Taylor (they/them), Justin Sykes (he/him), and Noah Vann (he/him)

Let’s make time to celebrate the powerful voices of our youth and young adults in the community! This keynote panel will feature youth and young adults who will speak on what it means to live authentically as a trans and/or nonbinary person. This will include the steps they take every day to live as their true self, how they deal with obstacles, and what they want to see in the world so everyone can live true to themself. This interactive discussion will feature plenty of time for audience questions!

2:00-3:00pm

The Fight to Ending HIV Criminalization in Virginia
Presenters: Deirdre Johnson (she/her) and Cedric Pulliam (he/him)

Since the 1990s, HIV has been targeted under Virginia law for unique legal punishments that harm Black, Latine/x, queer, and trans communities as well as sex workers and those who use drugs. Luckily in 2021, Virginia modernized its HIV criminalization law, but some key parts of the law remain. This will continue the stigma around HIV, which affects people living with HIV or at-risk of acquiring HIV. Come learn about the current fight to modernize Virginia’s HIV laws and how you can join to make Virginia safer and healthier for everyone. There will be plenty of time for questions.

Parent & Caregiver Roundtable*
Facilitators: He She Ze & We members

This workshop will provide a safe and brave space for parents and other adult family members of transgender and/or nonbinary people to make connections, explore feelings, share experiences, and ask questions about how to support their loved one. Smaller group breakouts may happen depending on the number of participants. *Please note that this workshop is intended only for adult family members of trans and/or nonbinary folx.

2:00-5:00pm

TIES Wellness Center Hours

The Wellness Center offers free, virtual conversations between TIES participants and trans-friendly healthcare providers in the medical and mental health fields who have training and experience providing trans-affirming care. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, identify resources, and discuss general next steps to getting your healthcare needs met. 

On Thursday and Saturday, private one-on-one conversations are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis by appointment.  You can sign up for an appointment here by Tuesday, October 19 at 5:00pm: bit.ly/TIES2021wellness

3:00-3:30pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

3:30-4:30pm 

Medical Care for Trans and Nonbinary Youth
Presenters: Dr. Elyse Pine, M.D. (she/her) and Deborah Dunn, PAC, MBA (she/her)

This workshop will cover information about puberty blockers, feminizing hormone therapy, masculinizing hormone therapy, and individualized regimens for transgender and nonbinary youth.  We will discuss recommendations for preventative care and sexual health.  We will briefly discuss surgery options and strategies for insurance coverage for minors.  Time will be available for audience Q&A.  

Transcending Homelessness
Presenters: De Sube (she/her) and Armand Carnelian Fortin (they/he)

In this workshop, we will discuss the issues homeless trans adults face including discrimination in shelters and the lack of trans positive housing resources throughout Virginia. Housing is one of the most vital needs all people share. However, many transgender people face discrimination when seeking housing and employment in spite of nondiscrimination laws. 

4:30-5:00pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

5:00-6:00pm

Breaking Boundaries & Building A Stage: A Keynote Discussion with Tona Brown

As a world-renowned opera singer, violinist, actress, and performer, Tona Brown’s life is one of using her skills to push herself and her communities forward. In addition to being the first transgender person to perform at the White House and the first Black trans woman to perform at Carnegie Hall, she has spent years advocating for Black trans artists and trans people of color to take center stage in our social justice movements. Join us for an interview-style keynote discussion with this ground-breaking artist as she discusses her journey, her vision for the future, and how we can all use the talents we have to push for necessary change. 

6:00-6:30pm

Networking Break

Find a friend! We invite you to use this time to take advantage of our Whova app to network with fellow conference participants. Use the direct message feature to connect one-on-one, engage on the threads, and get to know our community partners and sponsors – happy networking!

6:30-7:30pm

Hallow Queen/Quing/King Theme Dance Party

Let’s wrap up TIES with a night we’ll never forget! Come ready to strut your stuff, dance the night away, and give us your evening best. Will you dress to impress or show up a Halloween hot mess? Join us for an evening of fun activities, costumery, and dancing!

Note: Some songs may include profanity so put in those headphones if sensitive ears are nearby!

 

* We respectfully request that you only attend sessions marked with an asterisk if you identify with the community described in the title. Please read the workshop descriptions below for more information about these sessions.

TIES 2021 Keynote Speaker Bios

Ali Moros Taylor (they/them) is a 20 year old transgender youth activist that has worked closely with Side by Side since they came out at 14. They have had leadership training through Side by Side and thus has served on several different panels over the years. Ali has recently become a knitter with the aid of their sister. Ali also loves birds and singing and singing to the birds when the chance arises. They live at home with their parents, sister, and two dogs.

Andraya Yearwood (she/her) is an activist, athlete and current college student. As a trans student-athlete from Connecticut, she has been a fierce advocate for her right to compete which has compelled her to fight for the rights of all trans athletes across the country. Andraya has been a featured panelist at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Outsports Pride Summit at the University of California, Los Angeles, and more. No stranger to adversity, discrimination, and vitriol from opposing parents and spectators, Andraya has continued to raise her voice to advocate for her place on the track and other trans people in sport writ large. Bolstered by the support of her friends and family, Andraya is motivated by the strength of those around her to continue the fight for trans athletes to compete as their authentic selves.

Aurora Higgs, M.Ed (she/her or they/them) is a Black queer visionary from Richmond, VA. Aurora transitioned in 2018 and uses her platform to promote justice and equity. She’s a PhD student, speaker, performer, and producer of media that elevate queer BIPOC voices. As a board member of the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood, Aurora helps shape medical practice guidelines and protocols to better ensure the transgender policies are appropriate, progressive, and compassionate. Aurora specializes as a speaker and facilitator on equity, DEI work, social justice, and gender/sexuality studies. Aurora and her work were awarded a place in Richmond Style Weekly’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2019. Currently, Aurora serves as a governor-appointed member of the Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board and works as a Program Director for Diversity Richmond, an LGBTQ Community Organization in Richmond, VA. Website: www.AuroraHiggs.com

Charley Burton (he/him) is a native of Charlottesville VA. He is the National Program Director for Black Transmen Inc. Black Transmen Inc. is the first and only national organization solely for Black Transmen. Charley is a board member of CVILLE Pride, PFLAG of the Blue Ridge and Board chair for University of VA Trans Advisory Council. Charley was also one of the founding board members of Black Transmen Inc., and a board member for Equality VA, and has been nominated by Governor Northam for the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee.  Charley also founded Diversity in Recovery which is a 12-step recovery space for people in the LGBTQ/BIPOC and their allies.  He was awarded the Outstanding Virginian by Equality VA, The Community Root award by Black Pride RVA. Charley has also been recognized for a United Way of Greater Charlottesville for the Caring for the Community for Above and Beyond Voice for Equity. Charley is certified as a Safe Space and Transgender 101 trainer to train businesses and organizations to better understand diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Charley has been in recovery for 15 years and continues to stay active in his recovery community.  Charley’s book will come out in early 2022 published by Transgender Publishing.  He is in management with WorkSource in Charlottesville VA. WorkSource provides job training, employment, job placement assistance and support services for persons with disabilities. Charley also shares his life story of recovery and living as a Black Transman in the South. Visit his website at www.charleyspeaks.com

Justin Sykes (he/him) grew up just south of Richmond Virginia. This past May he received his undergraduate in sustainable development with a concentration for social change from Appalachian State University. His passions include rollerblading, collaging, advocating for climate justice, and advocating for the protection of trans youth. Currently, he is taking part in a service program dedicated to intentional living, spiritual growth, and racial justice work in Atlanta called The Quaker Volunteer service. 

Noah Vann (he/him) grew up in Stanardsville, VA but now attends George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He is studying criminology and psychology, with hopes to earn a master’s degree in forensic psychology. Noah is active in his university’s LGBTQ community and is passionate about human rights for all people, especially those in transgender community. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, playing video games, and spending time with his mom and cat. 

Tona Brown (she/her) is a Vocalist, Violinist, entrepreneur, and teacher with an international performance career as a violinist, Mezzo-Soprano, and has performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.  Ms. Brown is also an advocate for transgender issues and the arts often speaking and performing at colleges and universities. Tona Brown is the first transgender woman of color to perform the National Anthem for a sitting President at the LGBT Leadership Gala Dinner for former President Barack Obama at the Sheraton in NYC. Tona Brown was the first transgender woman to headline at Carnegie Hall performing a program of African American composers with an all-inclusive LGBT cast of performers. Ms. Brown was formally educated at the Shenandoah University and conservatory of Music studying violin performance with minors in viola, piano, and voice. Tona graduated from the Governors School for the Arts a prestigious high school for gifted and talented students. Tona Brown recorded an opera movie for Shenandoah University’s 2021 production of “Suor Angelica” playing the role of La Zia Principessa. Ms. Brown will be performing in a lead transgender role as Hannah After in the opera “As One” by Laura Kaminsky with the Lowell Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Orlando Cela in the fall of 2021. Ms. Brown was also asked to do a masterclass on Transgender Voices by the Virginia National Association of Teachers of singing and teaches private lessons to students with her company Aida Studios. She now has her own show on Twitch.TV called “Conversations with Tona Brown” and you can follow her on the “Primadonnatona” Channel!   

TIES 2021 Presenter Bios

Armand Carnelian Fortin (they/he) is from the Hampton Roads area, and they currently serve as Director of Volunteers for the Transgender Assistance Program of Virginia. Armand is a music teacher, recording artist, and bird enthusiast. He currently resides in the DMV area. 

Asaf Orr (he/him) is a Senior Staff Attorney and Director of the Transgender Youth Project at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. For more than a decade, he has litigated precedent-setting cases that safeguard legal rights that ensure transgender youth can thrive. Asaf also worked helped develop transgender-inclusive policies in a wide range of areas as well as authored numerous publications.

Bary Hausrath (he/him) is a Virginia-licensed attorney in private practice. He also volunteers as the supervising attorney for the Virginia Equality Bar Association’s Name and Gender Marker Change Clinic, which has helped hundreds of trans and gender nonconforming individuals obtain appropriate identification documents.

Brooke Taylor (they/them) is a Black, queer, non-binary, social justice advocate who has dedicated their life to serving marginalized communities. Brooke is a proud Bison (Howard), Panther (VUU), and Ram (VCU) alum, and has called Richmond home for almost a decade. They have facilitated hundreds of trainings, conversations, and classes within various demographic groups and has worked directly with persons facing incarceration, discrimination, homelessness, and poverty; they also specialize in creative problem solving in professional settings. Brooke is passionate about creating inclusive spaces for BIPOC folks and is committed to breaking down barriers within the community. 

CasSandra Calin (she/her) is a 28-year-old Black-Cuban social worker in Richmond, VA, who is passionate about spirit work, mental health, and indulgence and pleasure. She has been supporting her people, queer and trans and Black and Brown community, through trauma, relationships, mental health, challenges, and the struggle to love ourselves for 10 years. CasSandra enjoys writing, singing, and cooking as creative outlets. She’s excited to explore how we can take care of ourselves and each other in long-lasting and fulfilling ways!

Cedric Pulliam (he/him) serves as co-founder of ECHO VA Coalition and has been advocating for HIV and public health needs since 2009 at the community, state, and federal levels. Ensuring health equity for those at highest risk is most important in the purpose of his work and elevating Virginians living with HIV has been a center-focus of his advocacy. Cedric’s motto is that regardless of HIV status or any health status no law should target healthcare and he plans to continue to advocate and fight for this until the law reflects this.

De Sube (she/her) has been a transgender advocate and activist for 25 years. She is happily retired, which gives her ample to time to follow her passion –  the transgender community. She founded the Gender Expression Movement support group almost 16 years ago and is one of the founding members of the  Transgender Assistance Program of Virginia where she currently serves as Chairperson, Director of Client Services & Treasurer.

Deborah Dunn, PAC, MBA (she/her) is a family practice physician assistant and the Trans Health Coordinator of the LGBT Resource Center for Chase Brexton Health Care. In her position at Chase Brexton, Dunn provides leadership and coordination of care for 4000 transgender-identified patients, establishes best practices for medical transgender care, trains other medical providers, provides consultation to external organizations on transgender-related issues including employee transition, engages in advocacy at the state level, and identifies research and funding opportunities related to transgender care. She has presented at numerous national conferences, engaged in strategic planning with several nonprofit organizations, and volunteered throughout the local community. 

Deirdre Johsnon (she/her) has lived, learned and experienced HIV on her own terms since 2000. She utilizes her sense of humor and lively personality to openly share her medicine and medical adherence journey with the world using #MedsWillMakeMeDance. Deirdre is transparent about how she is not allowing HIV to have control of her, but fearlessly taking control of HIV. Deirdre is native of Virginia, and has worked as an educator, case manager, prevention case manager and speaker, however, she is most passionate about eradicating stigma, ending criminalization of people living with HIV, combating racial injustice, health disparities, and being an active Partner in Change s the co founder of Ending Criminalization of HIV and Overincarceration in Virginia (ECHO VA), State Lead for Positive Women’s Network, USA, and Ambassador for Undetectable Equals Untransmittable (U=U)

Delton Harris (he/him) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in NC and VA and a doctoral student at Virginia Commonwealth University. As a therapist, he specifically work with individuals of the LGBTQIA+ community, those who identify as of color, and individuals who have been diagnosed with HIV. His goal as a therapist, community mental health trainer, and student is to advocate, and empower vulnerable communities, while educating, and implementing radical change within systems to increase equity and social justice. 

Dexter Davis (he/him) is a proud Black transgender man who is actively involved in uplifting his communities. His passion led him to become a facilitator for multiple transgender support groups including Transcending Empowered Aspiring Men (T.E.A.M), a support group at Nationz Foundation for men of trans experience, and founding The Men in Transition, a non profit social support organization dedicated to serving the unique needs of transgender men and transmasculine people within Hampton Roads, in Virginia.  He is a dedicated member of the Alpha Colony of Alpha Omega Kappa Fraternity, Inc. (AQK), which is a non-collegiate greek lettered organization for men of trans experience focused on fellowship, service, and leadership. He is also member of Equality Virginia’s Transgender Advocacy Speakers Bureau.

Eden Heilman (she/her) joined the ACLU of Virginia as the Legal Director in June 2018, and in this role, she leads the office’s legal program, focusing on a broad array of civil rights and civil liberties issues impacting Virginia’s citizens and communities, and using integrated advocacy strategies such as impact litigation, policy advocacy, and public education. Prior to joining the ACLU of Virginia, Eden served as the Managing Attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s office in New Orleans where she directed the organization’s litigation and policy advocacy efforts in Louisiana, with a specific emphasis on children’s rights, education, and juvenile justice. She previously served as a senior staff attorney and staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a law fellow at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. 

Dr. Elyse Pine, MD (she/her) is a board-certified pediatric endocrinologist and Trans Youth Lead Physician of the Gender JOY program at Chase Brexton Health Care in Maryland, which serves over 1800 transgender and gender diverse youth ages 4-26.  Dr. Pine began working with gender variant children and adolescents while serving as an assistant professor at University of Maryland Medical Center in 2011.   She has published research and clinical articles related to transgender care and lectures frequently.

Rev. Emma Chattin (she/her) currently serves as the senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia (MCC NoVA), a spiritual community for all people- no exceptions, no kidding (the MCC Denomination was born that way).  She is also the Executive Director of the TransGender Education Association of Greater Washington DC (TGEA), whose mission is to support trans and gender expansive individuals, their Friends, Family, and Allies, and the communities in which they live and work.  Rev. Emma is a founding co-facilitator of several support and community building groups for the Trans community, including parents of Trans-youth, Trans & Gender Expansive Tweens & Teens, as well as spouses of individuals in gender transition.   She lives in Northern Virginia with Heather, her wife of 25 years. 

He She Ze and We (est. 2012) serves families with transgender and nonbinary loved ones (of all ages) through support, education and advocacy.  Recently achieving 501c3 non-profit status, He She Ze and We (HSZW) spreads awareness about gender identity and the issues of transgender and nonbinary youth through educational trainings and advocacy work in addition to weekly support meetings.  Though HSZW is based out of Richmond, they provide their services to families all over Virginia and beyond.  Lear more and visit our website: heshezewe.org 

Jamison Green, Ph.D. (he/him) is a writer, educator, policy consultant, legislative provocateur, and long-time advocate for transgender and non-binary people’s rights, access to quality healthcare, and social safety. He transitioned from female to male in 1988 at the age of 40, and in 2011 he became the first American transgender person elected to lead the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). He lives in southwestern Washington state. Hs is the author of “Becoming a Visible Man” (Vanderbilt University Press, 2020; first edition 2004).

Rev. Jess Cook (they/them) is a trans/non-binary Presbyterian minister, currently serving at More Light Presbyterians, though they are in the process of starting a new worshipping community in Richmond, VA. Before joining More Light, Jess was the Youth Programs Director at Side by Side. They were the first openly non-binary person ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Jess is an awkward extrovert who loves people and gets very excited talking about ways we connect with ourselves, one another , and the world around us.

Dr. Keelee MacPhee, M.D. (she/her) is a highly skilled reconstructive plastic surgeon who has been in practice for over 18 years. With a focus on gender confirmation surgery of the breast, genitals, body, and face, she is passionate about helping her patients become more confident and comfortable with their bodies. Her goal always is to provide clinical excellence,¬ while achieving beautiful, natural results. She performs surgery primarily at NC Specialty Hospital, a small private hospital with well trained staff excited to work with our patients.  She also works at Duke Regional Hospital, part of the Duke University Health System. She finished her residency in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Surgery of the Hand at UNC. She also did a residency in the Division of Plastic Surgery and the Department of General Surgery at the University of Florida. In 2005, Dr. MacPhee returned to North Carolina to open her own practice. She is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Nikki Easterday (they/them) is a Staff Attorney at TLDEF, with a background in challenging health insurance denials of gender affirming care. Mx. Easterday previously worked with Community Service Society of New York advocating for improved access to healthcare and with the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight on the federal implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Mx. Easterday is a graduate of CUNY School of Law and the University of California, San Diego.

Oliver Bullington-McGuire (he/him or they/them) is a queer transgender youth activist, and has been doing advocacy work for the past 2 years in Virginia. He graduated from high school in June of 2021 and will be attending University of Toronto in fall of 2022. Outside of activism, Oliver is an award winning artist and aquarium hobbyist.

Rebecca Rose (she/her) is the Crisis Counselor at the LGBT Life Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Rebecca manages the Intimate Partner Violence Program at the LGBT Life Center where she provides crisis intervention, safety, advocacy and supportive services to victims and survivors of Intimate Partner Violence within the LGBTQ+ community. Rebecca has been working within the victims services field for 5 years and has dedicated her career to her passion of advocating for others, especially those whose voices have been silenced or who are not able to advocate for themselves. 

Sarah Pitney (they/them or elle/ellx) is a senior associate at Benach Collopy LLP in Washington, D.C. Their practice includes family-based, deportation defense, asylum, naturalization, and waiver cases. They have represented numerous LGBTQI+ clients in all stages of the immigration process. They serve as an advocate for LGBTQI+ practitioners within the immigration law community and gladly mentor practitioners on ways to create a more welcoming space. Sarah serves on AILA’s USCIS Field Ops Committee and the AILA DC Chapter’s Conference Committee. They were recognized as one of the LGBT Bar’s 40 Best Attorneys Under 40 in 2018.

Torrianna Foster (they/them or she/her) is a queer, Black disabled femme based in North Carolina. They are a community organizer, womanist ethicist and sex educator with a M.Div in Womanist and Feminist studies. Torrianna is beyond excited to be sharing space to talk about spirituality and wholeness as a Christian escapee and Hoodoo practitioner.

Willow Woycke (she/her) is a 58 year old transgender woman and primarily a wife, parent, and grandparent. She is President of the Transgender Education Association (TGEA) of Greater Washington, on the Board of Fairfax County Public Schools Pride (FCPS Pride), and is Emeritus Chair of her employer’s Pride Employee Resource Group. Willow is a cyber security engineer by day, and she advocates for transgender youth and figure skates by night.

TIES 2021 Wellness Center

Wednesday, October 20 from 5:30-6:30 PM — “Ask A Healthcare Provider” Drop-In Hour
Thursday, October 21 from 4:30-7:30 PM — Appointments
Saturday, October 23 from 2:00-5:00 PM — Appointments

The Wellness Center offers free, virtual conversations between TIES participants and trans-friendly healthcare providers in the medical and mental health fields who have training and experience providing trans-affirming care. This is a great opportunity to ask questions, identify resources, and discuss general next steps to getting your healthcare needs met. 

On Wednesday, all are welcome to the “Ask A Healthcare Provider” Drop-In Hour. Stop by any time for questions relating to medical health or mental health — questions and conversations during the drop-in hour are NOT confidential and other TIES participants may be present.  

On Thursday and Saturday, private one-on-one conversations are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis by appointment.  You can sign up for an appointment here by Tuesday, October 19 at 5:00pm: bit.ly/TIES2021wellness

TIES 2021 Name & Gender Marker Change Legal Clinic

The Name & Gender Marker Change Legal Clinic provides free assistance with the name and gender marker change process where trained attorneys meet one-on-one with TIES participants by appointment. This includes: obtaining court orders, updating driver’s licenses, passports, birth certificates, and other identity documents and public records. Registration for appointments can be made up until Saturday evening, October 23, when the conference ends. Appointments with an attorney will occur virtually in the week following TIES. Thanks to the Virginia Equality Bar Association (VEBA), Bary Law, and the University of Richmond School of Law^ for their assistance. Click here to make an appointment today in English: bit.ly/TIES2021clinic or click here to make an appointment in Spanish: bit.ly/TIES2021clinica

^Note: We appreciate the support of the University of Richmond School of Law and we remain in full support of the demands by the UR Black Student Coalition, which the larger university has yet to fully meet. We continue to call on the University of Richmond to meet all demands by the Black Student Coalition. Learn more about the Black Student Coalition and their demands: www.protectourweb.com.

Side by Side Youth Support Groups

These meetings are not officially part of the TIES conference, but it is important that trans and nonbinary youth in Virginia to know about spaces and resources for them! Parent permission is required for youth under 14. If this is your first time at a Side by Side support group, please fill out the New Youth Form. If you have any questions about support groups, visit Side by Side’s website or contact Delton Harris ([email protected]).

Mondays 6:30-8:30pm: LGBTQ+ Youth of Color ages 14-20 — https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88478111453

Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm: LGBTQ+ Youth ages 14-20 — https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82701482849

Wednesdays 6:00-7:30pm: Middle School LGBTQ+ Youth ages 11-14 (Parent Permission Required) — https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82880203126

Thursdays 6:30-8:30pm: Transgender Youth ages 14-20 — https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89581510999

Conference Sponsor

Thank you to our conference sponsor, Gilead!

Signature Sponsors

Thank you to our Signature Sponsors:
Planning & Equity Committee Sponsor – Virginia Pride
Community Investment Sponsor – Kaiser Permanente
Accessibility & Empowerment Sponsor – Mosaic Interpreting Services