Parents for Transgender Equality National Council

Produced by the HRC Foundation

All across this country, thousands of parents are taking action to support and protect their transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive children. They are urging school leaders to implement gender inclusive policies, they are meeting with elected officials, they are sharing their stories with neighbors, friends, and other community members with the hope of changing hearts and minds. Some parents do this very quietly, others take to a larger stage; no matter what steps parents and other caregivers are taking on behalf of their children, it is life changing and world-changing, and we applaud you for your unconditional love and fierce determination to create the kind of world trans, non-binary, and gender-expansive children deserve to live in, and thrive in.

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HRC’s National Parents for Transgender Equality Council represents a small but mighty, diverse segment of those parents out there who, every day, are modeling love, acceptance, and affirmation for their trans children, and by extension, all trans children. Not all parents are able to be public in their advocacy, or there may be limitations to how much and how loud their advocacy can be. There are many ways to engage in our work, and we invite you to fill out the form below to receive occasional updates on local and national initiatives for parents, for example, we sometimes reach out to our database to identify parents in a particular state, or with a particular story of experience, or a particular professional or skill. Please utilize any and all of our resources that can help you and others in your network, and let us know how we can help you.

Meet our current Parents for Transgender Equality National Council!

Lizette and Jose Trujillo (Arizona)

Jose (he/him) and Lizette Trujillo (she/her) are small business owners and community advocates for transgender youth and families. They spend much of their time volunteering in their local community, where they facilitate a support group for families of transgender, gender-creative, and gender non-conforming youth. They are excited to serve on the Human Rights Campaign's Parents for Trans Equality Council. Jose and Lizette are proud parents to a 15-year-old trans son. Jose and Lizette have learned so much through their child's experience, and are committed to creating awareness and change around trans youth and their needs.

Debi Jackson (Missouri)

Debi Jackson (she/her) and her husband Tom are raising their two children in Kansas City, Missouri. Debi became an advocate for transgender rights in 2014 when her speech about her child’s transition at 4 went viral. The self-described former "conservative Southern Baptist Republican from Alabama" now speaks on behalf of transgender children and their families around the world. Debi has been awarded the NEA LGBTQ Caucus Role Model Award for her contributions to education about the LGBTQ+ community. Her work now focuses on providing training to schools, pediatric offices, and small businesses on trans-inclusive policies and developing communications strategies to combat the legislative attacks on trans youth across the US. She has been a consultant on an Emmy Award-winning ACLU documentary about transgender children, and her family is featured in the feature-length documentary “Transhood” available on HBO Max. Her non-binary child, Avery, has also told their own gender journey story in a children’s book, “It’s Okay to Sparkle” and was featured on the cover of the “Gender Revolution” issue of National Geographic magazine.

Stephen Chukumba (New Jersey)

Stephen Chukumba (he/him/his) is a single father of four children, Asha Ming, Chima, Hobbs and Nokosi. One of Stephen’s children identifies as a transgender boy and since his son’s coming out, Stephen has made it his mission to disabuse the world of its ignorance and intolerance of LGBTQ people and the issues they face.S tephen is a scrum master at Capital One, where he is an active member of several business resource groups devoted to assisting the members of minority and disenfranchised groups. As a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council, PFLAG and GLAAD, Stephen leverages his membership in these powerful advocacy platforms to speak and educate about the unique challenges faced by people of color raising transgender youth.

Rachel and Frank Gonzales (Texas)

Rachel (she/her/hers) and Frank Gonzales (he/him/his) are advocates and allies in the movement for transgender equality. As the parents of a transgender child, they fight to ensure that other parents are able to advocate for their transgender children and that all transgender people receive the love and support that has allowed their trans daughter to thrive. Rachel and Frank have testified multiple times at the Texas Capitol, and have been an integral part of blocking Texas’s anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, and the many bills proposed in 2021 and continue to push for trans equality across Texas and around the country.

Jennifer Solomon (Florida)

Jennifer Solomon (she/her/hers) lives in Miami and is a proud parent of four children, two of whom are part of the LGBTQ community. Cooper is the youngest and identifies as gender non-conforming. While his gender identity is male, his gender expression is fabulously female. A pediatric RN by profession, Jennifer chooses to spend her time advocating for all LGBTQ youth to live healthy lives as their authentic selves. She is the founder/president of PFLAG Miami Chapter where she has created a safe space for families to gather, receive support, give advice and become allies for their loved ones. Jennifer co-leads the Miami Coalition for Queer Youth and works to ensure all students have access to a safe, equitable education. She also is the LGBTQ+ chair for the Miami Dade Council of PTA/PTSA. Other programs she is involved with include Equality Florida’s Trans Parent Action Network and FL PTA’s Kaleidoscope Chapter. Equality Florida recently honored Jennifer as the 2023 Equality Florida’s Voice for Equality Award. SAVE honored her advocacy as a 2023 honoree Champion of Equality. By sharing her family’s experience with raising a child who redefines what it means to be a boy, she hopes to educate others and make the world a kinder, gentler place for all children.

Joy Wilson (Oregon)

Joy Wilson (she/her) is the proud mother of two daughters, one who socially transitioned at the age of 8. In an effort to destigmatize trans youth, her family put out a video with Basic Rights Oregon that was showcased at TEDx Portland. Joy has been an outspoken ally and advocate, whether in meetings with public school officials, speaking at press conferences, lobbying state legislators, or doing interviews with news media. In addition to casual one-on-one advocacy, Joy has spoken in more formal settings, such as a panelist for the Oregon Council of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry conference as well as for 1st & 2nd year med students at Oregon Health & Science University - all to help educate and advocate for meeting the needs of transgender youth.

Keisha and Sean Michaels (Maryland)

Keisha (she/her/hers) and Sean (he/him/his) Michaels are the parents of two children and live in suburban Maryland. Both are originally from Massachusetts, they met while attending the same HBCU and have since enjoyed the Mid-Atlantic region for most of their adulthood. Keisha practices medicine full-time and is an avid reader. She co-moderates a Facebook physician group that supports parents of children who identify as LGBTQI. Sean is an entrepreneur and stock market trader. Keisha and Sean are the parents of a transgender child and have committed to helping other families love and accept their children and family members who are gender atypical.

Sonia Murphy (Maryland)

Sonia Murphy (she/her/hers) is the proud mother of two daughters, and “Auntie” to countless children, including her transgender nephew, of whom she has full custody. She is inspired by her nephew, who is a Champion (transgender youth advocate) with The Gender Cool Project, a youth-led movement that works to replace harsh and misinformed views regarding transgender youth with positive and uplifting messages and stories. In her professional capacity, Sonia is a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and a former President of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia.

Lisa and Jeff Stanton (Texas)

Jeffrey (he/him/his) and Lisa Stanton (she/her/hers) are proud parents of a transgender child. Lisa has over 20 years of experience in non-profit. Currently, she is the Development Director at Camp Havaya- where campers and staff from all over the world- different races, cultures, practices, abilities, sexual orientations - come to camp because they know they are more than accepted- they are celebrated. She is a lifetime member and past president of the National Council of Jewish Women. Jeffrey has over 20 years of experience in commercial acquisition, leasing construction and property management. Both Jeffrey and Lisa are passionate about advocacy work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ Community. Parenting twins Max and Maya is the work that Lisa and Jeff take most seriously. Specifically, the honor of modeling what it means to help repair the world; through acts of loving kindness, using their voices and skills to speak out on behalf of those who are marginalized in the hopes of building a more inclusive and equitable community.

Jennifer Slipakoff (Georgia)

Jen Slipakoff (she/her) came into her advocacy work when her daughter transitioned at the age of four. Jen is now a member of the Human Rights Campaign National Board of Governors, recently served as co-chair for HRC's Atlanta Steering committee and currently leads HRC’s volunteers in political action work in Georgia. In addition to her involvement with HRC, she served as the co-president for the PFLAG metro Atlanta chapter and has been recognized by several advocacy organizations for her work creating positive change in Georgia. In 2018, Jen was the Democratic nominee in the race for State Representative for Georgia’s 36th House District and was the only Democrat to run in that district for more than 30 years. When not working as a political consultant, Jen spends her time speaking both locally and around the country about the importance and value of the LGBTQ community. She and her husband are proudly raising their two children, two dogs and a cat.

Mikael and Melissa McLaren (Ohio)

Mikael (he/him) and Melissa (she/her) live in central Ohio and have identical twins. Their daughter socially transitioned at the age of 4 after several years of telling her family that she wasn’t a boy like her brother. Mike and Melissa have been educating others ever since. Their family spoke at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 2018 annual conference about affirming their transgender child’s identity and the positive impact on their family to an international audience of medical providers. The McLaren family have been public advocates for transgender youth and have taken part in educational conferences, radio and television news media, and worked with organizations such as HRC, Equality Ohio, TransOhio, ACLU and others. Mike and Melissa have testified in front of the Ohio State Board of Education and the Ohio General Assembly to advocate for transgender youth against bills that would ban them from playing on sports teams, bans on gender-affirming medical care, and curriculum bans. Melissa is a nurse of 18 years. She currently works in higher education to open the doors for more individuals to pursue a career in healthcare. Mikael, originally from Buffalo, NY is a manager in customer service whose job has led the family to Minnesota, Florida, and Ohio, which is Melissa’s home state. Melissa was a founding board member of the Rainbow Alliance of Fairfield County and currently serves as the Vice President. She is a board member of Equality Ohio. Both Mike and Melissa are active in the Trans Allies of Ohio, an organization of parents and allies fighting for the transgender community. They are excited to continue serving the needs of parents, family members, and caregivers of gender-diverse youth through the work of the HRC Parents for Transgender Equality National Council.

Reema and Rahul Deshmukh

Reema (she/her) and Rahul (he/him) are immigrant parents of color who are raising two beautiful children, one of whom is transgender. Our journey towards becoming allies began by helping our young child learn to navigate and live as their authentic self. As parents, we knew that we had a responsibility to support and love our child unconditionally. We are focused on better understanding our child’s needs and how to advocate for their rights. We want to raise our child to be proud of who they are. Our dedication to our children’s well-being extends beyond our family. We are active members of Desi Rainbow, a South Asian LGBTQ+ organization aimed at promoting family acceptance in the Desi community. We also engage in community outreach to educate people on LGBTQ+ issues and provide resources and support to families and individuals in need. As immigrants of color, we understand what it’s like to feel marginalized and discriminated against. Oppressive systems can harm individuals and communities. Fighting for social justice and standing up for the rights of all people is something that has always been important to us, and more so for the marginalized LGBTQ+ community. We believe that being a strong ally means listening, learning, and taking action. We will continue to educate ourselves, challenge harmful beliefs and behaviors, and advocate for policies that support the LGBTQ+ community. Through powerful national platforms like HRC, we hope to inspire ourselves and others to become strong LGBTQ+ allies and work towards a common goal where everyone can live with dignity, respect, and acceptance.

Dahn and Alimi Ballard (California)

Dahn (she/her/hers) and Alimi Ballard (he/him/his) were advocates and allies in the movement for transgender equality even before they knew their son was Trans. Having created a social justice tool called "The Red Dot Experiment" when their kids were in Elementary school, "The Experiment" which is a teaching tool and lesson plan that focuses on the harm and cruelty of discrimination based on race/sex and gender expression. Having then successfully used this social justice tool in their local schools for years, Dahn and Ali were already committed to the cause. Since their son came out as trans male in the 8th grade Dahn and Ali have made it their priority to use their voice and platform to raise awareness conversation and advocate on behalf of all transgender people, especially those in the BIPOC Community of which they are a part of. Recently seen on the acclaimed series "Black Love" on OWN speaking about their son and on Podcasts and Interviews along with conducting workshops. Dahn and Ali are using their mic to educate and advocate on behalf

Parents of Transgender Youth Have Important Advice for New Parents Starting Their Journey!

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We are proud to partner with Trans Families, the national premiere resource for parents of trans children to find support. Trans Families inspires hope, increases understanding, and creates a visible pathway to support trans and gender-diverse children and all those who touch their lives. If you are a family member who needs information and support regarding your child's gender expression or identity, Trans Families can help. Click here to learn more.

Trans Families

Resources for parents, family members and caregivers of transgender, non-binary and gender-expansive youth!

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