Henrico County Mental Health and Developmental Services is proud to announce the launch of a new community-building and empowerment group for gender diverse youth and their families.
Starting on September 13th, we will bring in guest speakers of diverse backgrounds to share about their journeys, their careers, their communities, and their passions. The speakers are all trans and queer adults who live and work locally, and who have found or created strong communities for themselves and their families.
Listen to their stories, learn about the possibilities, and ask questions! Participants may ask out loud, or you will have the option to submit questions or comments via an anonymous Google form right from your phone.
We also hope to help our gender diverse youth build community with one another and are inviting teens from many different areas of Henrico County. You may even meet someone that you didn’t even know went to your school, church, or rec club!
Each event is free and if you are interested in attending, we ask that you please RSVP. Feel free to use your chosen name and whatever information you are comfortable sharing – this is more for space planning purposes! Families and older children are welcome to attend along with their teens, but we ask that much younger children stay in the children’s area of the library with a parent or caregiver to reduce interruptions to the speakers.
The schedule of presenters is as follows:
9/13: Dexter Davis, Men In Transition. Dexter (he/him) is a motivational speaker, advocate, and artist currently living in Hampton, VA. He currently works as a Community Health Navigator at the LGBT Life Center and serves in multiple capacities with organizations such as The Men In Transition, the National Transgender Sports Association, and Black Transmen Can Cook. An empathetic and inspiring storyteller, Dexter is dedicated to creating spaces of connection, education, and empowerment.
9/20: KJ Spata, Barber and Stylist. KJ (they/he) is a recent transplant to RVA from Northern Virginia, and has been amazed at the community they have found and built here in the River City. They work as an independent barber and stylist out of Body Politic Studios and their favorite part of the job is being able to help transform someone’s look into an affirming and empowering style. KJ especially loves to work with trans youth and their families and has been an advocate and educator to many in the community.
9/27: Ted Heck, VDH. Ted (any pronouns) works in HIV prevention at the Virginia Dept. of Health, where he serves as Transgender Health Services Specialist, maintaining the Virginia Transgender Resource and Referral List and offering provider trainings and technical assistance on transgender issues. He often facilitates the Richmond Transformers transmasculine support group as a peer member.
10/4: Yusuf Ansari, Richmond Social Services. Yusuf (they/he) is a first generation graduate student in VCU’s MSW program and currently works in social services. As a biracial and Muslim young person, they suffered a lack of representation both in mainstream media and within the queer community, and they hope to provide hope for the future as well as an accessible example to gender diverse teenagers in the Richmond area.
10/11: Zakia McKensey, Nationz Foundation. Ms. McKensey (she/her) is the founder and Executive Director of the Nationz Foundation, established to provide education related to HIV prevention and overall health and wellness while working towards a more inclusive Central Virginia for LGBTQIA+ identified individuals. She implemented the Transgender Clinic program at the Fan Free Clinic and has been instrumental in linking the queer community in Richmond with supports, education, and acceptance.
10/18: Vincent Webb, Seven Hills Family Medicine. Vincent (he/they) is the operational and clinical services director for Seven Hills Family Medicine, a new clinic aiming to expand access to high-quality inclusive primary care which includes treating sneezes and sniffles as well as gender-affirming therapy and abortion services. As a queer man of trans experience, bodily autonomy is foundational to his understanding of a life of happiness and freedom, and his work over the years has been in service of this principle. He is the proud gestating parent of two amazing children.
Please RSVP individually to each day so we have an approximate head count for setup. Thank you and we look forward to meeting you and building community together!