A hybrid (in person & online) community event for teachers, counselors, chaplains, faith leaders & families
This program is designed to create safe and affirming spaces for transgender or gender expansive children at home, school and faith communities. These are the 3 places children need to be affirming if they are to thrive. These are also the spaces that parents need support to become effective advocates for their transgender or gender expansive children.
(1.) Family support — developing knowledge and skills in how to talk with family members about transgender issues and realities; to be able to reach across religious and cultural divides: and how to effectively create safe and affirming spaces for gender expansive children to thrive within their home and extended family. Lead presenter: Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson
(2.) School support — developing knowledge and skills in how to talk with teachers, counselors and administrators about transgender issues and realities: and how to effectively create safe and affirming spaces for gender expansive children to thrive at school. Lead presenter: Tim’m West
(3.) Religious support — developing knowledge and skills in how to talk with religious leaders, chaplains and pastoral counselors about transgender issues and realities: and how to effectively create safe and affirming spaces for gender expansive children to thrive in their faith communities. Lead presenter: Sue Jelinek
Rev. Dr. Erin Swenson is a licensed psychotherapist for more than 25 years, Erin has specialized in the area of transgender experience working with hundreds of individuals, couples, and families. As a Presbyterian minister, she has served as pastor, counselor, chaplain and educator within a variety of faith communities, including Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Care at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. In September 1996, the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta sustained her ordination from 1973, making Erin the first mainstream Protestant minister to retain her ordination after a gender transition.
When Co-Moderator of More Light Presbyterians, Erin became instrumental in bringing transgender experience into the Presbyterian Church (USA). As a board member of the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Erin earned the Outstanding Service to the State Award for her work with the Georgia State Legislature. Erin’s home is in Atlanta, Georgia and in her leisure time she enjoys training for triathlons and has completed over 40 competitions.
Tim’m West is an educator, poet, youth advocate, and Hip-Hop artist who has spent decades traveling the nation, speaking about issues at the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and social justice. A graduate of Duke University (BA), The New School for Social Research (MA) and Stanford University (MA), he is the author of several books and hip-hop projects and is widely anthologized. He has also appeared in multiple documentaries at the intersection of hip hop and Black masculinity.
A seasoned educator, Tim’m served as inaugural faculty at Oakland School for the Arts, impacted educational outcomes as an English teacher and basketball coach at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School for Public Policy, taught at Houston Community College, and served as Director of Youth Services at Chicago’s Center on Halsted.
A Board member of the LGBTQ Institute located at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta where he is now a DEI consultant, Tim’m was named one of 31 icons during LGBT History Month in October of 2015. A Renaissance man who wears many hats, Tim’m leads Teach For America’s National Prism Alliances, advancing safer and braver classrooms for LGBTQ educators and students for grades preK-12. An Upward Bound alum and former admissions offer, he continues to work as an expert in the selective admissions landscape while supportive of many college access and equity programs. In Spring of 2021, given the viability of virtual teaching, Tim’m was invited to again lecture in the Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, where he teaches Hip Hop Studies and Theory & Methods.
In Cincinnati, Tim’m is Founder and Board member of Cincinnati Black Pride, and on the Board of The Buckeye Flame.
Susan L. Jelinek, MDiv, BCC is Staff Chaplain II, Pastoral Care Department and part of the Transgender Clinic Team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ.
A co-author for “Screening for Spiritual Struggle in an Adolescent Transgender Clinic: Feasibility and Acceptability” in the Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy (2016), and co-author of “Spiritual Care of Transgender Persons,” for the medical textbook, “Introduction to Transgender Medicine: A Multidisciplinary Approach,” (2018).
Susan Jelinek has demonstrated how research, spiritual care, and clinical care can intersect and interwoven for improved outcomes for patients and their families. She has also presented regionally and nationally on spiritual care of the transgender patient and their family. In 2017, Susan L. Jelinek was awarded the Anton Boisen Professional Service Award by the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) for her commitment to excellence in professional chaplaincy and her unique contribution to contemporary chaplaincy care. She is also a devoted fan of the Chicago Cubs.