LGBTQ2IA+ Families Then and Now 2024


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We are excited to open registration for our 2024 LGBTQ2IA+ Families Then and Now series. Through conversations with a diverse range of parents who identify as LGBTQ2IA+ at different stages of family life, this free webinar series explores the changing landscape of LGBTQ2IA+ parenting.

Together, we discuss the experiences of families living in a diverse range of social contexts. By listening to the stories of each family, we hope to broaden and deepen our vision of family to be far more inclusive and to embrace the diversity of who families truly are in America today.

The five-part series begins on Monday, May 6, 2024, and continues through July 1, 2024. Each webinar is 1 hour followed by a 30-minute Q&A session with our diverse range of panelists. All webinars feature live Spanish language translation and closed captioning.

Here are some of the topics these conversations explore:

  • Impact of policy and law on families’ lives, children’s literature, and educational settings
  • LQBTQ2IA+ family formation and gendered notions of parenting
  • Generational and evolving perspectives on gender, sexuality, and identity
  • Two-spirit experiences and perspectives
  • Ethnic and racial diversity in LGBTQ2IA+ families
  • Representation of diverse family forms in literature and other media

This series is part of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center’s Family-to-Family Real Talk conversation series.

Laura Benkov headshot

This series is moderated by Laura Benkov, PhD, a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist who has worked with children, adults, couples, and families for decades in a variety of community mental health, private practice, school, and hospital settings, providing supervision/training, psychotherapy, and psychological/neuropsychological evaluations.

She is the author of one of the first books (and several subsequent articles) on the subject of lesbian and gay parenthood, Reinventing the Family: The Emerging Story of Lesbian and Gay Parents (Crown, 1994). She has been on staff at Boston Children’s Hospital and is formerly the Clinic Director at Think: Kids at Massachusetts General Hospital. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, she worked at Fenway Community Health Center in Boston, focusing on HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ family formation.

Episode 1: Maya Gonzalez

Monday, May 6, 2024, 3 – 4:30 PM ET/ 12 – 1:30 PM PT

Maya Gonzalez

Children’s book artist, activist and Co-founder of Reflection Press

Maya Gonzalez is an award-winning children’s book artist, author, activist, and progressive educator. Maya’s work addresses systemic inequity in relation to race/ethnicity, sexism, and cissexism using children’s books as radical agents of change and healing, both personally and culturally. Maya co-founded Reflection Press, a POC, queer, and trans-owned independent publishing house that uses holistic, nature-based, and anti-oppression frameworks in their books and materials for kids and grown-ups. Maya is also the creator of the Gender Wheel, an approach to gender and body diversity that is nature-based, decolonized, and holistic and provides lectures and workshops to educators, parents, and caregivers.

Episode 2: Alphonso Mills & Ja’Mel Ashely Ware

Monday, May 13, 2024, 3 – 4:30 PM ET/ 12 – 1:30 PM PT

Alphonso Mills

Executive Director of This Is Your Moment (TIYM) Network

Alphonso Mills is the Executive Director of This Is Your Moment (TIYM) Network, a media organization that promotes awareness and education about HIV advancements, prevention, and social determinants of health. He has an extensive background in the HIV field and is currently the Community Engagement Strategist for an AIDS Service Organization in Atlanta, helping to advance the cause. Alphonso has achieved impressive results since the pilot release of TIYM in 2021 and is partnering with the Emory School of Public Health to develop a media intervention program to pilot in sexual health clinics around Atlanta. Alphonso is a Black Gender Nonconforming person who grew up in a military family and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Morehouse College. With his dedication to the HIV field, Alphonso is a leader in advancing awareness and education about HIV and promoting health equity for all. Alphonso is the partner of Ja’Mel Ware and the parent of Sea Cannon.

Ja’Mel Ashely Ware

Entertainer, entrepreneur, educator, and cofounder of Intellectual Ratchet (IR)

Ja’Mel Ashely Ware is a multifaceted individual known for his contributions as an entertainer, entrepreneur, and educator. His remarkable work in entrepreneurship, HIV awareness, and reproductive health within the LGBQ and Trans community has garnered widespread recognition. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Social Work, Ja’Mel ventured into entrepreneurship by founding Intellectual Ratchet (IR), a Diversity and Inclusion Entertainment brand. He is pursuing an MBA at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School to further his expertise. Dedicated to supporting young Black queer entrepreneurs, Ja’Mel leads Project Innovate, a micro-grant program affiliated with THRIVE SS. Ja’Mel lives by the motto, “Live Life Whole. Be your complete self and embrace life to the fullest,” embodying these values in his endeavors while inspiring the next generation of thinkers and doers. He is a proud partner to Alphonso Mills and a seahorse dad to Sea Cannon. 

Episode 3: Wendy Kramer & Ryan Kramer

Monday, June 3, 2024, 3 – 4:30 PM ET/ 12 – 1:30 PM PT

Wendy Kramer

Co-Founder and Director of the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR)

Wendy is the Co-Founder and Director of the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR). The DSR was founded in 2000 with her donor-conceived son Ryan to assist individuals conceived as a result of sperm, egg, or embryo donation who are seeking to make mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties. With more than 92,000 members in 105 countries, the DSR has helped connect more than 25,600 of them with their half-siblings and/or their biological parents. Wendy has listened to, advised/consulted, and researched thousands of these parents, donors, donor-conceived people, and other donor family members.

Wendy has conducted and presented many research studies on all donor family members and is co-author on dozens of resulting peer-reviewed papers published in Social Science and Medicine, Human Reproduction, Reproductive BioMedicine & Society, Facts, Views & Vision in OB/GYN, Reproductive BioMedicine Online (RBMOnline), Advances in Reproductive Sciences, Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Fertility and Sterility, The Journal of Family Issues, Children and Society, The Journal of Law and the Biosciences, and more. She has contributed chapters to several books on donor conception, has reviewed abstracts for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and has been a peer reviewer for the journals Human Reproduction, Reproductive Health, RBMOnline, Frontiers in Global Women’s Health, and The Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research. Wendy is a Review Editor for the journal Frontiers in Reproductive Health – Assisted Reproduction.

Wendy was an Associate Producer for the 2011 Emmy-nominated documentary Sperm Donor and on the 2013 MTV News & Docs, six-part docu-series called Generation Cryo. She published the book Counseling Donor Family Members: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals and has conducted related training for counselors and psychology organizations in the US, Canada, Europe, and Argentina. She co-wrote the book Finding Our Families: A First-of-Its-Kind Book for Donor-Conceived People and Their

Ryan Kramer

Ryan Kramer, a 34-year-old donor-conceived person, co-manages the DSR with his mother Wendy. Ryan is a product manager with a background in engineering and technology, having worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Apple, and Google. Ryan was the first donor-conceived person to find his biological father (donor) via a commercial DNA test, in 2005. He has 29 known half-siblings — so far.

Episode 4: Koreen McQuilton, Ryann Stilton and Halle McQuilton

Monday, June 17, 2024, 3 – 4:30 PM ET/ 12 – 1:30 PM PT

Koreen McQuilton

Director of Communications and Marketing at Belmont Day School

Koreen McQuilton is the mother of two donor-conceived daughters, Ryann Stilton and Halle McQuilton. When Ryann and Halle were teenagers, they became interested in learning more about their biological fathers and the potential for connecting with half-siblings with the help of the Donor Sibling Registry. Over the years, they have connected with dozens of half-siblings and each of their donors. Koreen is the director of communications and marketing at Belmont Day School, an independent elementary and middle school in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Ryann Stilton

Ryann Stilton was donor-conceived and grew up in the Boston area with lesbian moms and her younger sister, Halle. As a young adult, she met her donor and many of her half-siblings via the Donor Sibling Registry and through DNA testing. Today Ryann works as a software engineer and lives in Ireland with her wife and cats. 

Halle McQuilton

Halle McQuilton is donor-conceived and was raised by 2 moms in the Boston area. Inspired by her sister Ryann’s experience, she has connected with her sperm donor as well as a number of half siblings through the Donor Sibling Registry (the count is now 30+). Halle currently works in the Privacy field with experience in the crypto, web3, and fintech spaces.

Episode 5: Monday, July 1, 2024, 3 – 4:30 PM ET/ 12 – 1:30 PM PT

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