A Triple P Perspective: Personal, Parental, and Professional Perspectives on Promoting Inclusivity and Positive Mental Health for LGBTQ Youth

Three unique perspectives…one unifying vision – a world in which every LGTBQ youth has access to an affirming school community where they feel safe, respected, and embraced.  We concluded Pride Month with a dynamic panel presentation offering insights from personal, parental, and professional perspectives borne out of groundbreaking work and advocacy in support of LGBTQ youth. Be inspired and learn ways that you can contribute to urgently needed culture and systems change!

  • Overviewed common terminology and misconceptions of the non-binary and trans community
  • Information about the current state of mental health and distress among LGBTQ youth
  • Heard from experts with both lived and professional experience around the importance of gender-inclusive communities in supporting the wellness of LGBTQ youth
  • Learned about ways to support and advocate for your LGBTQ child and maintain your wellness as a parent
  • Heard about a range of practical school-based strategies for creating gender-inclusive, welcoming communities where LGBTQ youth can thrive


Tony Ferraiolo is internationally known as a compassionate and empowering Life Coach who has earned his reputation as a thought-provoking and motivational speaker and trainer. Since 2005, Tony has worked with individuals, groups, and educational institutions to reach thousands of people worldwide. In 2008, he was the founder of multiple support groups for transgender and nonbinary youth and their families. The work Tony does has allowed him to see firsthand how children’s lives are transformed from hopelessness to hopefulness through the process of simply affirming their gender, and he has witnessed firsthand the positive impact that this has on them and their families. Tony is the subject of the award-winning documentary A Self-Made Man and the author of the book series Artistic Expressions of Transgender Youth. And his soon to be released memoir “Finding My Way Out of The Darkness.” He is the co-founder of the Jim Collins Foundation where he held the position of president of the board for ten years.

Melissa Combs is the parent of two high school teens. Her journey through the public school system as the parent of a transgender child inspired her to launch the Out Accountability Project, an organization that aims to help schools create and maintain safe, affirming learning environments for LGBTQ+ youth. Professionally, she is a consultant and has worked with more than 50 nonprofits, primarily in fundraising, communications, and public relations.

Christy Olezeski, PhD, is the Director and co-founder of the Yale Pediatric Gender Program (YPGP), an interdisciplinary team that provides services for transgender and gender expansive (TGE) youth and families in Connecticut. The team includes professionals in the fields of psychology, endocrinology, psychiatry, gynecology, reproductive medicine, medical ethics and law. The YGP mission is to provide comprehensive, interdisciplinary, family-centered care for children, adolescents and young adults questioning their assigned gender and/or seeking gender-affirming consultation and care in a compassionate, respectful and supportive environment. This program is regionally well-regarded, serving clients from all 8 counties in the state, as well as 7 states outside of Connecticut.


June 28, 2024
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