PRINCETON – Saturday, June 8th was a day that celebrated transgender and nonbinary youth across the state of New Jersey. The HiTOPS Trans Youth Forum took place at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in conjunction with a conference on Equity and Inclusion, held by the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District.
For the past five years, HiTOPS has united hundreds of trans and nonbinary youth and their allies at the state-wide Forum to learn, explore, share, and connect with their community. This year’s keynote speaker was Jamey Jesperson, a nonbinary, trans femme educator and activist from GLSEN, a national organization working to create affirming school communities.
Participants attending this year’s forum chose from over 20 workshops covering topics like transgender depiction in the media, life after transitioning, mental health, relationships, being a supportive family member, and more. In addition to programming for youth, parents, and educators, the Forum offered free childcare for children 3-10 years old and an entirely free salon where youth received haircuts, manicures, and a gender-affirming wardrobe.
“Today was the happiest and proudest day I've had in memory. I want to build a world in which all kids can be as free and respected as the kids were today at the New Jersey Trans Youth Forum.” states the Trans Youth Forum Coordinator, Athena Hale, conveying the importance of events like the HiTOPS Trans Youth Forum.
- The Forum was planned by the Youth Advisory Board, made up of nine youth from seven area schools, all of whom identify within the transgender spectrum, and including transgender activist Gavin Grimm
- The HiTOPS ensures that the Forum is accessible to all by keeping registration fees low, offering scholarships, and providing free childcare through Kid Camp
- All attendees received a resource packet to connect LGBTQ+ youth with local, regional, and national services
MAJOR SPONSORS | HiTOPS TRANS YOUTH FORUM
- ACLU-NJ, Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, Planned Parenthood New Jersey, PROUD Family Health, Sam & Devorah Foundation for Trans Youth, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton
HiTOPS is a Princeton, New Jersey-based 501(c)(3) organization fosters healthy & strong adolescents, families, & communities by providing young people of all identities with non-judgmental, affirming, factually accurate, sex-positive, sexual health education & support.