img_7873Almost 500 attendees, including over 250 people identifying as transgender, gathered in Richmond, Virginia on Saturday for the 3rd annual TIES (Transgender Information and Empowerment Summit) hosted by Equality Federation Member, Equality Virginia. TIES is the largest conference of its kind in the south and is free to attend.

The conference offered a variety of programs and workshops designed specifically to serve the interests and needs of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals and allies. Attendees also had the opportunity to start the process of updating their identity documents through the Name and Gender Marker Change Clinic, meet one-on-one with a licensed mental health provider, and learn about policies affecting their everyday lives. TIES welcomed over 25 speakers and facilitators who are experts on issues affecting the transgender community.

“We are thrilled to see how much TIES has grown in just 3 short years,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, adding “Equality Virginia is happy to provide a space for so many Virginians to have an open dialogue and to learn and grow―not just from experts, but from each other.”  

Participants ranged from those identifying as transgender, genderfluid, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, or intersex, as well as allies, partners, families, and friends of trans individuals, all congregated for the opportunity to gain knowledge and perspective. TIES included a separate youth conference allowing those grades 6-12 to obtain resources and share ideas for creating trans-positive spaces. Coinciding programs for parents of trans youth were also offered by national partner Gender Spectrum. FORGE, a national transgender anti-violence organization, also hosted a workshop highlighting violence and trauma the transgender population experiences, offering practical skills to help survivors heal.

Equality Federation congratulates Equality Virginia on an incredible conference!


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Mel King

Mel King is the Development and Operations Manager for Equality Federation, the national strategic partner to state-based organizations working to win equality in the communities we call home. In this role, he manages the individual giving program and the donor database, as well as operations for the communications department and internal systems. He also serves as the board liaison.

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