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Gender Spectrum’s mission is to create a gender-inclusive world for all children and youth. To accomplish this, we help families, organizations, and institutions increase understandings of gender and consider the implications that evolving views have for each of us.
Who We Are
I facilitate trainings, conduct workshops, develop curriculum, consult with parents/professionals, and provide resources in service of a more compassionate understanding of gender and young people. I have served in a leadership role as the Director of Education and Advocacy with the Child and Adolescent Gender Center at UCSF-Benioff Children’s Hospital. An aspect of my job that I enjoy the most is working throughout the United States (and beyond), to help institutions think more expansively about the gender diversity of all children and teens, and ways to create more inclusive conditions accordingly.
I’ve worked as an educator focused on issues of social justice and equity for over 30 years. My education career began as a middle school science teacher and school administrator. I have also served as a district administrator in Oakland, California, as well as a school reform coach with the National Equity Project and professor at California State University, East Bay in the Department of Educational Leadership.
As a teenager beginning to look beyond my own experiences in suburban Salt Lake City, this book had a profound effect in shaping my sense of the hypocrisy inherent in large, impersonal institutions in the face of an unfeeling world’s brutality. Teenagers are often frustrated by the unfairness of the world around them and their own lack of control over their circumstances. In Catch-22 we see a level institutional indifference in the face of true horror that resonated for a 17-year old who saw little but hypocrisy in the adults and institutions that controlled his life.
My primary function is to assist in the content creation process from ideation to execution. This means that I work with many different people to crowdsource content the organization would like to put out and, with the help of my amazing team and our passionate community, we make it happen! In addition to managing online programming and content, I also manage our online community and platform called the Gender Spectrum Lounge. The Lounge is a transnational digital space for gender-expansive teens, their families, allies, and support professionals to connect, collaborate, and find resources. Stop by and say hello sometime!
I have worked in the nonprofit sector for close to a decade, focusing primarily on at-risk populations. I’ve designed curriculum and programming for various youth development programs, including: wilderness transformational leadership programs, juveniles in detention, youth in foster care, young people navigating post-acute neurological rehabilitation, and have taught comprehensive health education in under-resourced areas of the San Francisco Bay Area.
My current favorite book is by Jacinta Bunnell & Nathaniel Kusinitz called Sometimes The Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon. It’s a coloring book that reimagines fairy tales and nursery rhymes in a way that creates space for young people of all gender identities and expressions to break the mold of gender categorization.
I support Gender Spectrum’s communications and fundraising efforts. This includes sending Gender Spectrum emails, writing blog posts, sharing social media, creating resources, helping to implement Lounge programming, managing data resources, facilitating individuals sharing their story, updating website content, and managing online fundraising platforms.
I’ve spent the past five years supporting small and medium-sized nonprofit organizations with their digital communications, online fundraising, and data management. Prior to that, I worked at the American Cancer Society for nearly 10 years.
Moneyball had a large impact on my work and career. I read it as I started my nonprofit career and it inspired me to use data to help organizations work more effectively and efficiently. I hesitated to select this book because it seems far too cliché, however I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
I work primarily within our Teen programming at Gender Spectrum. This means that I oversee aspects of our national Youth Council, help plan the high school program for our annual conference and create more communities of support for teens! I also collaborate with teens (locally and internationally!) who are interested in sharing their story and experiences in order to create more digital resources, content and online community for teens and all others in the Gender Spectrum community.
My primary background is in working with youth and families in both the mental health and community health fields. I have always been very interested in community development work both internationally and locally. Prior to working for Gender Spectrum, I spent many years working at a mental health agency in Oakland where I provided intensive therapeutic and behavioral support to youth and families. I also spent multiple years working in Uganda specifically around HIV/AIDS. I am particularly passionate about social justice and elevating the voices and perspectives of queer and gender-expansive youth!
I recently read a book that really resonated with me called Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera. Juliet Takes a Breath is a queer coming of age story! As a queer person myself, the book was particularly influential because coming of age novels that feature queer characters are often hard to find! I loved learning and reflecting on their journey and couldn’t help but think about how 19-year-old me would have really benefited from reading this book!
As Gender Spectrum’s administrative assistant, one of my main responsibilities is to help coordinate trainings. That means that I get a glimpse of the geographic breadth of the interest in gender inclusion work. We get training requests from all over the country, and even from other countries. Exciting!
I’ve worked for a lot of nonprofits, and have done lots of different things – direct service work in medical and mental health settings, backcountry trail maintenance, work with youth, and grant writing among them. I’ve also done some writing and editing, teaching, and I’ve been a tour guide! (Which sounds fun, but it isn’t.) I’ve worked with many great people and in support of many great causes, but being at Gender Spectrum has, for the first time, given me a chance to contribute to a mission to which I feel personally connected. It makes a big difference.
Several years ago, while I was in Thailand for several months with nothing to do, I came across a copy of A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn. I couldn’t put it down. The book gave shape to a story of America that I had previously only heard obliquely mentioned as “the stuff they don’t teach you in school.” I hear there’s a kids’ version, and I’d be curious to read that, too.
As a member of the Board of Directors, my role is to work with my fellow board members to create a vision for the organization and establish the strategic priorities to help ensure that the organization is able to further its mission to create gender inclusive environments for all children and youth. As Executive Director, my role is to successfully lead and manage the organization consistent with the direction set by the Board of Directors.
I’m thankful to be a part of the Gender Spectrum team and to have such a talented, passionate, and dedicated staff to work with. In addition to my internal management role, I have the great opportunity to speak at conferences and consult with organizations and corporations on the changing understanding of gender and the implications it has for parents and families, social institutions and corporations. In 2016 I co-authored The Transgender Teen with Gender Spectrum’s Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors, Stephanie Brill.
The book that has had the most profound influence on me is the New Testament. As a teenager, I was struggling to make sense of the world. A schoolmate invited me to attend her church, and while I was initially hesitant to go, I ultimately decided to give it a try. It was the first time I read the New Testament: the message of unconditional love and the importance of working for a just society transformed me and continues to influence both my spirituality and work today.
I engage partners, funders, policy, and research to support the fundamental mission of Gender Spectrum. I also conduct program development and evaluation, develop written materials, and present at national education conferences. I believe strongly in the power of relationship building and collaboration to bring together diverse organizations committed to the health, safety, and well-being of all children and youth.
My career in nonprofits and education has centered on generating opportunities for educators, students, and parents to work together to create inclusive spaces for all students. Immediately before joining Gender Spectrum, I directed the launching of at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program, created in 2007 to foster LGBT inclusion in elementary schools. I also directed the Safe Schools Program for LGBT Students at the Massachusetts Department of Education and chronicled the lessons learned from that time in the book When the Drama Club is Not Enough which I coauthored with Jeff Perrotti.
Books and reading have always been a big part of my life. So one book? That’s tough. Glancing at my bookshelves, Beverly Daniel Tatum’s book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria stands out as having stood the test of time. It provided me with personal insight and has been a model of how to approach a topic that can be challenging for many in a manner that is accessible but not watered down. Tatum does this by harnessing the power of personal narrative, research, and case studies to shift perspectives and ultimately, practices. For years I’ve used this quote from the book in workshops, “A sincere, though imperfect, attempt to interrupt the oppression of others is usually better than no attempt at all.”
As the Director of Family Services and Administration, I provide resources and support to Gender Spectrum families throughout the year. I facilitate the Gender Spectrum support groups for parents, help create online programming for adults raising transgender, non-binary and other gender-expansive kids, and help organize the yearly conference. I also help with the many administrative duties that keep the organization running on a day-to-day basis.
I have been exploring gender since earning my B.A. in Women’s Studies, with an emphasis on race and ethnicity, at Brown University. After working for two International AIDS Conferences—one in San Francisco in 1990 and one in Italy in 1991–I attended University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where I focused my studies on public interest law. I worked as a legal aid attorney practicing domestic violence family law and housing law, and later represented clients in social security disability cases.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison was an especially influential book for me, as it was one of the first books I read as a young person that spoke to both race and gender. The heart-wrenching story left a deep impression and reinforced my sense of injustice at people being treated differently in this world solely based on factors completely out of their control. It also reflected the profound effect societal norms can have on one’s internal sense of self.