8th Annual Transgender Information & Empowerment Summit

TIES 2021 Recap

TIES 2021 Recap

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 8th Annual Virginia Transgender Information & Empowerment Summit (TIES 2021) from Wednesday, October 20 through Saturday, October 23, 2021!

This event was made possible thanks to our generous sponsors, including our conference sponsor Gilead and our signature sponsors, Virginia Pride, Kaiser Permanente, and Mosaic Interpreting Services. This event also could not have happened without the time and effort of the TIES Planning & Equity Committee, a group of LGBTQ folks of color and Spanish speakers from all backgrounds, who came together to shape the direction of the conference.

TIES once again took place over multiple days and occurred completely virtually. Even after a record-breaking 2020, this year was our most successful TIES yet, with more participants than ever before thanks to the digital format! This year’s TIES theme was mental health and wellness, and the conference continued a strong focus on language accessibility, racial justice, and connectedness.

This unique conference is designed to address the needs and interests of transgender and nonbinary Virginians of all ages as well as their friends, family members, partners, and allies. More than anything else this meant building connections and strengthening our communities. 

We are grateful for the amazing presenters, volunteers, interpreters, providers, community voices, and legal clinic partners who dedicated their time and resources to support the conference. Make sure to check out our online program to see all TIES 2021 had to offer.

Leer sobre TIES 2021 en español

See what TIES 2021 was all about!

Watch recordings of our keynotes

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Check out photos from TIES 2021

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Read the TIES 2021 program

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What made TIES 2021 so special

  • This year, over 730 participants interacted with TIES from across Virginia and the world, with around half being transgender and nonbinary, and the rest being allies, family members, providers, and partners. That makes this year’s conference the most attended TIES ever!
  • The conference offered 18 unique workshops, featuring 25 presenters and facilitators, on topics varying from school advocacy to health care access to emotional wellbeing, and so much more. Check out our online program to see the workshop descriptions. Thank you to our presenters and volunteers who made these workshops possible! 
  • TIES hosted four powerful keynote discussions featuring trans and nonbinary young adult leaders as well as Black trans and nonbinary changemakers like Tona Brown, Aurora Higgs, and Charley Burton. Check out the recordings on our TIES 2021 Keynote playlist on YouTube, or see below.
  • The TIES conference app, Whova, allowed hundreds of participants and dozens of community partners to connect with each other virtually, chat one-on-one, schedule meet-ups, post photos, and plan their days. Overall, folks sent nearly 1,500 messages to each other and made 1,131 posts on the community boards.
  • This year, EV massively expanded community involvement in the conference with the TIES Planning & Equity Committee, which was a fun, engaging, and collaborative experience for staff and committee members. We are so grateful for the 23 participants who showed up to create an incredible space where LGBTQ people of color and Spanish speakers of all backgrounds came together to make decisions about all major aspects of the conference and shape its direction!
  • Interpretation in Spanish, American Sign Language (ASL), and English was available for all main conference events at TIES for the first time ever! Conference materials were available in Spanish and English thanks to volunteer translators. Leer más sobre TIES 2021.
  • Daily social events were available to unwind, relax, and come together with other participants at TIES. A special thank you to our talent show and open mic performers!
  • Over 65 community organizations partnered with Equality Virginia to support the event, spread the word about the conference, and connect with TIES participants. Check out the list of our community partners below and on our main TIES webpage.
  • The TIES Legal Clinic served 34 people with free assistance on the name and gender marker change process. Thanks to our friends at the Virginia Equality Bar Association, Bary Law, and the University of Richmond School of Law, the clinic occurred virtually in the week after TIES where participants could virtually meet with an attorney. Services were available in English, Spanish, and ASL.
  • Participants made over 20 appointments at the TIES Wellness Center, which offers free conversations with trans-affirming medical and mental health providers. Thank you to all of the Wellness Center providers and volunteers who donated their time!
  • Don’t forget to check out our TIES 2021 music playlist from our Hallow-Queen/Quing/King Dance Party!
  • Your support for this year’s TIES helped us bring in $3,072, which is over 60% our $5,000 goal! The team at Equality Virginia is grateful for your trust and support during the second virtual TIES celebration. The funds you raised make this conference possible and also keep it free for all to join in community with one another. If you didn’t get a chance to join or want to help us reach the $5,000 goal you can click here to donate.

Watch the Keynotes

A Life of Leadership: A Keynote Discussion with Charley Burton

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

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)

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

Hear from attendees:

“Community connection, resources, and information!”

“…[S]o thankful for this! Connected to folks that I wouldn’t have been able to without these services!”

“The opportunity to find out the latest information about trans communities in Virginia and the issues we’re facing.”

“I was very impressed by how the conference incorporated and addressed racial justice this year.”

“I liked many things. I appreciated the thoughtfulness and inclusivity of the programming, with translation services and representation of diverse backgrounds. The medical appointment I had was very helpful to me and answered my questions. Staff were very helpful and available. The sessions I attended were engaging and empowering.”

“I like the focus on local folks in VA as it helps networking and resource sharing.”

“It felt like people cared.”

“It feels like a great sense of community.”

“La diversidad de talleres, los temas fueron bien distribuidos a lo largo de la conferencia.”

“This was among the best events I’ve been to online that incorporated accessibility.”

“I was very impressed by this. This is the first conference I’ve attended that had such an intentional stance toward accessibility and language justice. Keep it up!”

“I thought this was a fantastic conference and I really appreciate that it was accessible in so many ways, including financially, for me.”

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

Legal Clinic Partners

Trans-friendly attorneys and law students provide TIES attendees with free legal assistance on the name and gender marker change process. Thanks to the Virginia Equality Bar Association (VEBA) and BaryLaw for running the clinic, and the University of Richmond School of Law* for their support with attorneys and law students.

*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.

Community Voices

Community Voices are community-based organizations that get involved to support TIES by spreading the word about the conference.