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LGBTQ Family Acceptance Forum

October 15, 2012

LGBTQ Family Acceptance Forum Invites Church Professionals

Church members and professionals who want to provide support and resources for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their families, are invited to a workshop with a leading national expert in LGBTQ family acceptance training.

The Tarrant County Mental Health Connection and the Cultural Connection are sponsoring two days with Caitlyn Ryan, PhD, project director for the Family Acceptance Project. The planning team for this event has sought to include open and affirming church professionals in its planning. “Churches can play a critical role, either positive or negative, as youth work out sexual identity issues,” said Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, pastor of St. Stephen Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, who serves on the planning team. “That’s why church professionals need to be at this workshop, as much as the schools and the agencies. We can provide the structure of hope and acceptance.”

The workshops take place November 7-8 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

On Wednesday night, Nov. 7, 6-8 pm, Fort Worth City councilman Joel Burns, one of the leaders of the “It Gets Better” project, will join Dr. Ryan for an open workshop for LGBTQ youth, friends, and families called “Building Supportive Families: Bringing LGBTQ Youth and Their Families Closer.” Supper and snacks will be provided. This free presentation allows LGBTQ youth, their families, and friends to hear from national and local experts about the importance of acceptance, positive relationships, safe spaces and ways to create and foster all three. It will examine how families and friends respond to a young person’s coming out and how their reactions affect health, mental health and development for LGBTQ young people. Please register at http://lgbtqyouthandfamilies.eventbrite.com/

On Thursday, Nov. 8, 8 am-5 pm, professionals and volunteers who work with youth and their families are invited to an all-day seminar with Dr. Ryan called “Join the Conversation: Discussing the Needs of LGBTQ Youth.” This workshop will include panel discussions with youth and local service providers. There will also be a cohort group breakout session, and the hope is that church professionals can use that time to network, process new information and find ways to share resources beyond Nov. 8. CEUs are available to those who require them. Cost for the professional workshop is $60. To register, please visit: http://jointheconversationlgbtq.eventbrite.com/

For further information, please contact Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch at revfritz@ststephen-pcusa.com<mailto:revfritz@ststephen-pcusa.com>. Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TarrantCountyLGBTQYouth

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