Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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Clinton PTA Hosts Talk on Transgender/Non-Binary Understanding

In an effort to promote understanding of an often-misunderstood population, the Clinton PTA is hosting a virtual forum for parents and young adults to better understand people in the transgender and non-binary community. The event starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7.

Have you ever wondered what was the correct pronoun to use when meeting someone who is a transgender person? Or what exactly is meant by the term non-binary? What about ways to help make sure everyone, regardless of gender, feels comfortable? If so, the Clinton PTA’s event “Getting to Know the Transgender and Non-Binary Community” may be of interest.

The virtual event requires registration and spots are still open. The registration link can be found on the Clinton PTA’s Facebook page.

Helping lead the event will be Tony Ferraiolo, director of Health Care Advocates International’s Youth and Family Program.

According to a press released from the PTA, “Since 2005 Tony has provided trainings to over 60,000 people around the country. Tony has dedicated himself to both promoting competent and respectful health care for people in the transgender community, by educating providers, and advocating on behalf of patients [and also] training educators on providing a safe and respectful space for transgender children in a school environment.”

PTA Vice President Abby Roccapriore, one of the event organizers, said that the event is meant for people who are curious or have question about people who are transgender or non-binary. Roccapriore said the event will cover topics such as what it means to be a person who is trans or non-binary, facts and misconceptions about the gender identities, the role the school community plays in making trans or non-binary kids feel safe, and a question-and-answer session. Roccapriore estimated the event should last around an hour.

The Clinton PTA has a tradition of holding events throughout the school year on a wide range of issues that affect the community or school-aged children. Roccapriore explained that the idea for this particular topic came from positive feedback that came from those other sessions as well as the knowledge that the topic had never been broached in a community forum.

“In the past, these issues have been discusses and worked through with teachers and staff, but it wasn’t a thing we tackled,” said Roccapriore. “We thought it would be good to give something that has more general info about the topic.”

Discussions on gender identity can prove to be uncomfortable to some and very controversial to others. Since the PTA started publicizing the event, Roccapriore said she has not received any negative feedback thus far about the PTA holding an event on gender identity. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.

“The school system has been amazing. I’m excited about it,” said Roccapriore.

Even just by holding the event, Roccapriore said she hoped it shows that the Clinton school community is actively trying to become a more welcoming place, especially as other communities around the state are not able to have these conversations.

“Just by offering kindness and willingness to understand, children feel more accepted,” said Roccapriore.

Roccapriore said that the PTA is hoping to record the session so that interested parties could then watch it at a later date if they miss it. Roccapriore said the PTA also hopes to continue the outreach beyond this one-off event.

“Eventually we want to do more events and possibly start parental support groups,” Roccapriore.

Roccapriore said that examples the kinds of parental support groups that could be started include one for parents of trans or non-binary kids, one for parents of special education kids, one for parents of kids with disabilities, etc.

“Offering these opportunities also really helps to meet new parents in town,” Roccapriore added.

More information on this event can be found on the PTA’s Facebook page or on the PTA website.


Eric O’Connell covers news for Clinton for Zip06. Email Eric at e.oconnell@shorepublishing.com.

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