A free informational presentation for parents and community members

Parents and community members are invited to attend a free educational presentation, "What Parents Need to Know about Transgender Individuals" being held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23 at the John H. Stamler Police Academy on the Union County Vo-Tech Campus, 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains.

The purpose of the presentation is to help parents and other adults better understand gender identity and transgender issues, and to provide tips on how to speak with children and adolescents about these sensitive topics, as well as addressing any questions or concerns any attendee may have.

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The presenter, Dr. Paula C. Rodriguez Rust of Spectrum Diversity, LLC, is a renowned professional diversity educator and bullying prevention consultant serving schools, workplaces, and community and professional groups statewide.

"Parents want to know what to do if a child's classmate is transgender, what to do if his/her own child is transgender," Dr. Rodriguez Rust said. "My goal is to help parents better understand what it means to be a transgender person, and how we know if a child is transgender.”

"There is a whole new youth culture regarding gender that adults need to learn more about,” said Jo Ann Hamilton, Co-Chair of the Union County Human Relations Commission, one of the program sponsors, and recently retired educator. "The program is designed to provide an informational experience to help attendees learn more about the terms that we now hear, including ‘LGBTQ’, ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ and ‘sexual orientation,’ to name a few,"

“Today’s youth are exploring their own gender identity in new ways, and it is important to understand their perspectives to the greatest degree possible,” added Commission Co-Chair Mark Spivey, Director of Communications for the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.

Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair Bette Jane Kowalski said, “Everyone experiences transgender transition in their own unique way. Social, legal, and medical issues are different for each person. Through this workshop we hope to provide families with a platform of understanding that can foster a positive, self-affirming experience.”

The program, is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Office of the Union County Superintendent of Schools and the Union County Office of LGBTQ Affairs.  For more information, please contact Karen Positan, Union County Human Relations Commission, kpositan@ucnj.org or 908-889-9028.

For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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