LGBTQI Parents Schedule Second Annual Family Symposium On Jan. 28

On Sunday, January 28, 2018, North Bay LGBTQI Families will hold our 2nd Annual Family Formation Symposium at Social Advocates for Youth from 9am to 5pm at 2447 Summerfield Rd, Santa Rosa, CA.

Supported by a grant from the LGBTQI Giving Circle Sonoma County and generous community donors, this is a free day for LGBTQI families and prospective queer parents as well as LGBTQI youth and elders looking for community. Social Advocates for Youth is a homeless youth organization – a high percentage of homeless youth are queer because of the still high stigma within their families of origin.

SAY is allowing use of their conference space for the Symposium.

North Bay LGBTQI Families annual events are curated with the intention of serving the widest possible LGBTQI+ audience who need community and resources regardless of socio-economic status. As a result, this is a free, family-friendly event with complimentary childcare and lunch provided, and the workshops can include a Spanish translator and ASL interpreter upon advance notice.

The day’s programming will be divided into 3 blocks: Build, Protect, and Advocate.
The Build block centers around the diverse and creative ways LGBTQI folk form and build their families. If you want a family but don’t know how or where to start the process, this is for you. The morning will open with the keynote address, Genes Make People, People Make Families: Talking to our children about their Donor Origins, by Alice Ruby, Executive Director of the The Sperm Bank of California. Then, North Bay LGBTQI Families founding member, Sara Flores, a CNM and NP specializing in transgender heath, will lead an overview workshop on queer family building. Emmy-
Nominated filmmaker and queer parent Nicole Opper will screen an episode from her PBS docu-series The F-Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Series and discuss the deeper issues of the fost-adopt world. Participants will then divide into breakout sessions specific to their family building needs: Foster-to-Adopt, Trans Parents, ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) and Surrogacy, and Tracking Ovulation. The breakout
sessions will be facilitated by medical providers specializing in LGBT families, some who are queerparents themselves.

The Protect block centers around the legalities queer families must consider when intentionally forming their families. The 1st Annual Family Formation Symposium was held in response to the Trump nomination and was a call-to-action that our families legally protect themselves. Family Law Attorney Kinna Crocker, of Crocker Law held a legal workshop on the necessity of 2nd Parent Adoption, and Attorney Naomi Metz addressed them importance of estate planning. At the 2018 Symposium, Kinna
Crocker will again lead a legal workshop addressing Known Donors: Protections and Considerations, and in response to DACA, Immigration Attorney Angela Emerick will speak on Keeping Our Families Together: Know Your Rights About Immigration.

The Advocate block is open to the greater North Bay community to include teachers, school administrators, educators, and all parents who are committed to creating safe and welcoming classrooms. We will open the Advocate block with a keynote address from Renata Moreira, Executive Director of Our Family Coalition, on the passing and implementation of the FAIR Education Act – specifically that including LGBTQ history and families in the classroom creates safer learning environments for all children. Next, award-winning children’s book author, illustrator and queer parent Maya Gonzalez will present on Creating a Culture of Support on Gender and LGBTQI Children’s Books
at Home and School. After, we will end the Symposium with HRC’s comprehensive Safe and Welcoming Schools workshop, facilitated by Our Family Coalition Education Director Tarah Fleming.

At the beginning of the HRC Welcoming Schools workshop, we will distribute 25 complimentary, autographed books of Maya Gonzalez’s latest book: “They She He Me Free to Be! Busting gender stereotypes and assumptions one pronoun at a time!” It is North Bay LGBTQI Families intention that parents, teachers and educators distribute this book to your child’s classroom and school library.

In addition, Community Matters – Safe School Ambassadors will table at the event to speak about their Upstander program.

“With the Advocate block, we want to give our parents resources to take directly to their child’s teachers and classrooms and start what can be sometimes difficult conversations on diversity and inclusion. How do you work with schools in a non-defensive way? How do we ensure children of queer parents, as well as LGBTQI+ identified youth who may not have a strong parent advocate, or any child with differences,
have that right to a safe and joyful learning environment? Our advocate block will help start these difficult conversations on what can be a silent topic among parents, teachers and the greater Sonoma County community,” says Leslie Wiser, lead organizer and founding member of North Bay LGBTQI

“In addition, this is a rare Sonoma County event specifically for LGBTQI parents and their children to come together and build community. Peer support is one of the most critical needs for our parents and children. Our kids will also have the opportunity to gather in a safe space to meet other kids whose families look like theirs. For once, our families will be the norm rather than the exception. So we are providing a free childcare area with trained early childhood educators, with fun activities like drag queen
story time with Reina De Azlan and a bilingual story and music hour with Veronica’s Dondero. Studies have shown that these positive social-emotional experiences provide a critical foundation for success in school for our children. This is vital when our kids see few images of families like theirs in picture books, school curricula, and advertising,” added Wiser.

To further bolster the visibility of our families we will have a slideshow running of LGBTQ families done by internationally recognized photographer, Sarah Deragon. During the day she will also be adding new images to her photo project called, The Identity Project. The project is committed to reflecting the beautiful diversity of our LGBTQ communities and is actively seeking participants who are POC, trans*, bisexual, youth, elders, disabled, immigrant and otherwise identify as outside of the
mainstream gay and lesbian culture, especially families. Anyone that identifies as LGBTQ can come be photographed and it is entirely free.

Sign up online:

Event Details:
Schedule for January 28, 2018 Family Formation Symposium:
9am-Doors open
9:30am- Welcome by Leslie Wiser, Founding Member of NBF
9:35am- Genes Make People, People Make Families: Talking to Kids about Donor Origins by Executive
Director Alice Ruby of The Sperm Bank of California
9:55am-Queer Family Building Overview by Sara Flores-Reclaim Midwifery, CNM, NP
10:40am- Screening of Season 1 Episode 1 The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story with Emmy-
Nominated Director Nicole Opper
11:00am- Personal story by Rose, a young LGBTQ adult who went through foster system
11:05- Bathroom Break, Choose Breakout Session
11:20am- Simultaneous Queer Family Building Breakout Sessions
* Foster-to-Adopt Considerations with Director Nicole Opper and Rose
* Charting Your Ovulation Cycle with Rebecca Elowen LM, CPM, IBCLC of Hearthstone Midwifery &
Lactation Services
* Going the ART or Surrogacy (assisted reproductive technology) Route: Be your Own Advocate with
queer parent and Family Medicine Dr. Kayla Flores Tindall
* Trans Parents with queer medical providers Sara Flores-Reclaim Midwifery and Toni Marie Ramirez,
MD Family Medicine with Specialization in Trans Health
12:00pm-LUNCH from generous community donors
12:45pm- Known Donors: Legal Considerations by Kinna Patel Crocker of Crocker Law
1:30pm- Keeping our Families Together: Immigration Considerations by Angela Allen Emerick of
Emerick Law Offices. Zahyra Lizette Garcia will share her personal narrative.
2:00m- Break
2:15pm – Keynote Address by Renata Moreira, Executive Director of Our Family Wedding: How the
FAIR Education Act will create safer and more inclusive schools
2:35pm- Creating a Culture of Support/Gender and LGBTQI Children’s Books at Home and School by
Award-Winning Children’s Book Author and Illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez of Reflection Press
3:05pm- Creating a Welcoming School for All Families by Our Family Coalition’s Education Director
Tarah Fleming.
4:45pm Closing Remarks and Cleanup
5:00pm- Conference Ends
About North Bay LGBTQI+ Families (NBF)

Our mission is community building, support, education, outreach, promotion, and advocacy on behalf of all LGBTQI families and their children in the North Bay. Based out of Santa Rosa, California. North Bay LGBTQI Families was started by a Core Group of Sonoma County parents in February 2017. We are a parent-led and volunteer-led organization, with the Core Group organizing events since 2016 under
different umbrellas. In January 2017, NBF was awarded $1000 Sponsorship from Community Foundation Sonoma County to support our 1st Annual Family Formation Symposium. In May of 2017, NBF became a fiscally sponsored project of Our Family Coalition, whose mission is to serve LGBTQI families, caregivers and their children in San Francisco and the East Bay. In September 2017, NBF was awarded $10,000 from the LGBTQI+ Giving Circle Sonoma County to support our 2018 annual events:
The Family Formation Symposium, The Queer Family Pride Campout, and The LGBTQ Family Contingent in the Sonoma County Pride Parade.

To learn more visit:

About Our Family Coalition: Fiscal Sponsor for North Bay LGBTQI Families
Based in San Francisco, CA, Our Family Coalition advances equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) families with children through support, education, and advocacy. We seek to create an inclusive and just world where all LGBTQ families with children have visibility and opportunities to thrive as valued participants in our schools, institutions, and communities. Our Family
Coalition brings a unique and progressive voice of families to the LGBTQ movement. We cultivate community-based leadership among LGBTQ families and strong partnerships with our allies in California, to advance social justice and make our nation a more respectful and inclusive place for all.

Our Family Coalition was formed in 2002 through the merger of two organizations: the East Bay-based Our Family (founded in 1994) and the San Francisco-based All Our Families Coalition (founded in
For more info, go to:

To learn more visit:

About Social Advocates for Youth:
Social Advocates for Youth provides support, opportunities and hope to children, youth and families. We are dedicated to creating and supporting a caring community where all children, youth and families
grow, thrive and succeed.

About Sonoma County LGBTQI+ Giving Circle:
The mission of the Sonoma County LGBTQI Giving Circle is to strengthen Sonoma County through collective funding that nurtures and develops programs to benefit the LGBTQI community. Our members give to a collective fund that is then granted to Sonoma County 501 (c)(3) non-profit organizations according to members’ votes.The Giving Circle was launched in April of 2014 and
currently has 115 members. The LGBTQI Giving Circle Fund is managed by Community FoundationSonoma County. To learn more visit:

For more workshops details and facilitators visit:

Facilitator: Our Family Coalition’s Education Director, Tara Fleming
Teasing and bullying based on gender identity and family diversity is common and often starts in elementary school. To reduce these incidents and build a more positive and inclusive school climate, Our Family Coalition created this workshop to provide language when talking about the spectrum of gender
identities, different kinds of family formations, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender ,community. We will introduce Welcoming Schools, a comprehensive program to support educators and families, including lesson plans, book lists, climate surveys and answers to challenging questions. The workshop provides practical ways to create more welcoming and respectful environments for all children and an opportunity to increase our skills and access to the latest resources in equitable and
inclusive education.

About Tara Fleming, M.Ed., CPC
Tarah Fleming is a long-time educator, keynote speaker and lead facilitator on topics of social justice, equity literacy, anti-bias education and the dynamics of power and privilege with over 25 years of national and international experience. As a white identified, cisgender, heterosexual mother of a mixed heritage teenager, she brings a unique perspective on allied behavior and a devotion to work as a change
agent in multiple solidarity movements. Tarah is the Education Director at Our Family Coalition (OFC) working with LGBTQ families, and the former Co-Director for iPride; an organization dedicated to mixed heritage and multiethnic families. In 2003, she co-founded the high school student component for the White Privilege Conference (WPC) now called the Youth Action Project (YAP) which remains as one of the premiere action-oriented national conversations. Tarah continues in her consulting/coaching practice Start Dialog providing personal and professional support for educators and activists, group dialog facilitation, and real systemic change training.

Creating a Culture of Support/Gender and LGBTQI Children’s Books at Home and School with Award Winning Author & Illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez of Reflection Press Books can be the perfect bridge between home and school for LGBTQI families. They can provide spaces for our kids to see our families reflected. They can help create a classroom culture of support and awareness, which in turn can provide support for other kids who may be LGBTQI at school. Being an informed advocate about what books best serve our community helps parents feel more confident and equipped with resources when speaking to teachers and principals, as well as our kids. We will take a critical look at a number of books to help identify what factors are necessary in LGBTQI children’s books to create a supportive classroom as well as the necessity of books like this in the classroom in general. Hands on, informative and playful. Included handout, Basic Criteria to Choose Affirming LGBTQI Children’s Books for Family and School

About Maya Gonzalez, Award Winning Children’s Book Author and Illustrator
Maya Gonzalez is an artist, author, educator, activist, peacemaker, publisher, equality lover, obsessive recycler, traveler, river lover, tree talker, sky kisser……Her fine art graces the cover of Contemporary Chicano/a Art and is well documented as part of the Chicano Art Movement. She has illustrated over 20 award-winning children’s books, several of which she also wrote, Her book My Colors, My World won the prestigious Pura Belpré Award Honor from the American Library Association and her picture book,
Call Me Tree was listed in Kirkus’ Best Picture Books of 2014 that Celebrate Diversity. Since 1996, Maya has been providing presentations to children and educators about the importance of creativity as a tool for personal empowerment. Her work with children in public schools helped her develop several lines of curriculum that offer a holistic approach to learning and open doors to new ways of thinking and
relating in the world. In 2009 she co-founded Reflection Press, an independent press that publishes radical and revolutionary children’s books, and works that expand spiritual and cultural awareness. And in 2013, Maya co-created an online learning environment called School of the Free Mind about expanding the mind and reclaiming the creative. The School offers e-courses for those who are ready to uncover and connect with their unique and most powerful way of living and creating. Her latest courses include sharing everything she knows about creating children’s books, living life as your work of art, and manifesting your reality using peace as a path in! In 2015, Maya launched Write Now! Make Books series for kids through Reflection Press, a free, playful, in-depth program that engages kids and teens in the very real conversation of diversity in their books. Maya lives and plays in San Francisco with her two powerful kids and her partner Matthew.
More Information:

“THEY SHE HE ME FREE TO BE!” Children’s Book given away at the Welcoming School Workshop
“The authors have succeeded in creating a gorgeous and much-needed picture book about pronouns and gender fluidity. A beautiful and gentle exploration of identity and kindness.” – School Library Journal, STARRED review The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story by Emmy-Nominated Director Nicole OpperMeet Emmy-Nominated Director and queer parent Nicole Opper when she screens Season 1 Episode 1of the PBS series The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story, then explore the deeper considerations of thefoster-to-adopt process during her facilitated fost-adopt breakout session.

About The F Word: A Foster-to-Adopt Story: Watch the journey unfold in this short comedic docuseries about one queer couple’s journey to parenthood through the foster-to-adoption process. Along the way they seek out advice from other fost-adopt families and expand their search in ways they never imagined. More information at
Contact: Nicole Opper, Director/Producer:, 415-583-4364
The Identity Project by Photographer Sarah Deragon
The Identity Project is committed to reflecting the beautiful diversity of our LGBTQ communities and is actively seeking participants who are POC, trans*, bisexual, youth, elders, disabled, immigrant and otherwise identify as outside of the mainstream gay and lesbian culture, especially families.