Legal LGBTQ+ Cultural Competency: Focus on Best Practices with Gender Diverse Children and Youth


Presented by:  Ellen Hartwick, LCSW and Joel Gemino, BA

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
9:00am to 12:00pm
(three contact hours)

The Guidance Center, 2nd Floor Training Room
1301 Pine Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90813



Children and youth whose gender identities, expressions and sexual identities are outside of conventional constructions of heterosexuality or cisgender identification (identifying with the gender assigned at birth) contend with additional stressors that are connected to their LGBTQ+ identities; as compared to their non-LGBTQ+ peers, they have lower rates of happiness, greater risk for substance abuse, and less connection to an adult that provides support. Nevertheless, LGBTQ+ are optimistic, resilient, and find portals of support and acceptance that defies community or family rejection and bias. When transgender children have families that affirm their gender, they show no mental health disparities from cisgender children, pointing to the role that societal bias against LGBTQ+ people contributes greatly to the experiences of depression, anxiety, and trauma amongst LGBTQ+ youth.

This workshop provides mental health clinicians an understanding of and clinical skills to work with children and youth with gender expansive and sexual orientation identities and development.  Participants will learn about the best clinical practices in therapeutic treatment as well as best LGBTQ + affirmative trauma informed practices that protect against gender and sexual identity discrimination and provide safe spaces.  The workshop also covers specific terms and definitions, myths, developmental processes related to sexual orientation, the role of the environment, historical models of gender expression, and the impact on mental health outcomes.


 Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe Heteronormativity and Ciscentrism
  2. Identify distinctions between Gender and Sexual Identities
  3. Apply the difference between gender identity versus gender expression
  4. Demonstrate factors contributing to expression of mental health diagnoses for LGBTQ+ children and youth
  5. Demonstrate protective factors for LGBTQ+ youth
  6. List specific ways of demonstrating clinical best practices at the therapeutic and organizational levels


Licensed psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and clinical social workers who want to develop advanced knowledge and competency in their work with LGBTQ+ youth.  Unlicensed and trainees are also welcome to attend though program content will be at the postdoctoral/post-licensure level.


Joel Gemino (pronouns he/him/his) has over a decade of experience working with LGBTQ youth and families.  In his current role as Youth Services Manager at The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, he develops resources and programs to empower youth in their identities, as well as supports schools and agencies working toward more inclusive services. He also serves on the board of the Los Angeles chapter of GLSEN, a national organization dedicated to creating safe and affirming learning environments for all students. Joel holds a degrees in sociology and media studies from the Claremont Colleges.

Ellen Hartwick, (pronouns she/ her/ hers) has worked with children, youth and adults in mental health and trauma recovery settings for over 20 years, including 7 years as a clinician and supervisor at The Guidance Center. She is currently Mental Health Director at The LGBTQ Center Long Beach, working to provide trauma-informed LGBTQ affirmative therapy to youth and adults and to provide training to community interns and therapists. She co-authored the Educator’s Guide to Transgender Students, in partnership with LBUSD and consults with organizations to provide more inclusive and trauma-informed services. 


Contact Dawn Vo-Jutabha, PhD at for further information regarding objectives, target audience, conflicts, or the refund/cancellation policy.

The Guidance Center is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Guidance Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) accepts programs offered by approved APA sponsors of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists and licensed clinical social workers. The Guidance Center is approved by the Association for Play Therapy (APT) to sponsor continuing education for registered play therapists. APT Approved Provider # 14-393.

There is no commercial support for this CE program or instructor.  There are no known conflicts of interest.