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Fri, Jul 30


Online Event

Supporting Family Acceptance Among Religious Caregivers Caring for LGBTQ System Involved Youth

Kelsey Pacha

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Supporting Family Acceptance Among Religious Caregivers Caring for LGBTQ System Involved Youth
Supporting Family Acceptance Among Religious Caregivers Caring for LGBTQ System Involved Youth

Time & Location

Jul 30, 2021, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Online Event

About the Event

Kelsey Pacha

Training Description

This training supports professionals in supporting caregivers who reject LGBTQ system involved youth in their care for religious and/or spiritual reasons. It is often difficult for professionals supporting queer and/or trans youth in care to know how to talk to caregivers, whether biological family, resource parents, clinical providers, or other caring adults, about the importance of acceptance and affirmation during and after a young person comes out. Rejection by caregivers and important adults have lifelong impacts on LGBTQ youth on individual and systemic levels. This training will discuss common anti-LGBTQ spiritual/religious beliefs and how to have conversations about caregivers’ values, beliefs, and practices that validate and respect them, while also supporting family acceptance for their system involved LGBTQ youth. Using resources from the Family Acceptance Project and the principles of non-violent communication, participants will practice having difficult conversations with rejecting caregivers and familiarize themselves with affirming faith-based resources that can be shared with caregivers.

Learning Objective

  • Learn about LGBTQ youth and their involvement in religious/spiritual communities, paying attention to other identities that may intersect with religious/spiritual perspectives.
  • Discuss health-related outcomes related to religiosity, family rejection, family acceptance, and building resilience for system involved LGBTQ youth.
  • Identify our own beliefs and values re: religion, spirituality, and LGBTQ identities and how they may affect our work with religious system involved youth and families.
  • Become familiar with how religious/spiritual traditions can support family acceptance and positive outcomes for system involved youth and families.
  • Become familiar with non-violent communication as one tool to support increasing family acceptance.
  • Learn one conversational rubric for approaching conversation with rejecting caregivers.
  • Apply learning through roleplay.


9:00am-9:15am  Introductions: name, gender pronoun, one thing you wish to learn. Presenter shares his journey as a trans man who has worked in faith and non-profit contexts. Review Personal action plan.

9:15am-9:45am Self-reflection: Values inventory. What are your hard boundaries in terms of how you live your life? Are there communities you will not or cannot be involved with because of your values?

9:45am-9:55am Basic definitions: LGBTQ and religiosity terms as they relate to research about the child welfare system.

9:55am-10:55am Discuss research about LGBTQ people and religion. Define family rejection. Review research about the connections between family rejection, religiosity, race/ethnicity/culture, socioeconomic status, & geographical region and how they contribute to overrepresentation of LGBTQ youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Discuss both individual and systemic consequences of family rejection. Supportive Families, Healthy Communities booklet. Research handout.

10:55am-11:10am Activity: Biases/stereotypes about religious communities. Research on provider bias & religious clients.

11:10am-11:25am Break (CEUs will not be issued for this time)

11:25am-12:00pm Define microaggressions. Religiously-based anti-LGBTQ microaggressions & how they impact mental health. Discuss three common anti-LGBTQ theological messages and their respective connections to mental health outcomes. Discuss nuanced differences between anti-trans and anti-LGBQ theologies, sources, and hermeneutics.

12:00pm-12:30pm Video and discussion about intersecting identities: “Holler if You Hear Me: Gay in the Black Church” excerpt. What does this video tell us about the connection between religion and family rejection? What are the impacts of family rejection for these youth? How do race, culture, religion, region, and other factors interact in this video?

12:30pm-1:00pm Lunch (CEUs will not be issued for this time)

1:00pm-1:30pm Define family acceptance, and explore research about what builds resilience for LGBTQ youth.

1:30pm-2:15pm Explore theological beliefs, religious/spiritual values, practices, and community resources that are inherently LGBTQ-affirming.

2:15pm-2:30pm Break (CEUs will not be issued for this time)

2:30pm-3:00pm Review communication skills: how to use non-violent communication and active listening specifically in the context of navigating a coming out with religious caregivers (i.e. validating, diffusing strong emotions, demonstrating respect, & sharing supportive resources.)

3:00pm-3:30pm Helpful practices to navigate rejecting caregivers: privacy laws, Gender Support Plan.

3:30pm-4:45pm Perform roleplay using non-violent communication in small groups for how to support families/caregivers when LGBTQ youth comes out. Debrief.

4:45pm-5:00pm  Question and answer period. References/Resources handout.

Meet Our Trainer

Kelsey Pacha, MA, M.Div. is a transman who has worked with marginalized communities for 15+ years in a variety of settings. He holds a Master of Religion and Psychology, Master of Divinity, and Certificate of Sexuality and Religion from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Psychological Services from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He is the owner of Kelsey Pacha Consulting, which supports the work of institutions and individuals in increasing their capacity for cultural humility and social justice-informed institutional change. Kelsey offers educational trainings and LGBTQ workplace policy expertise with an emphasis on practical skills, identity awareness, and personal empowerment. He regularly works with corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion officers and LGBTQ affinity groups, as well as legal, clinical, medical, and direct service (including child welfare and faith leader) personnel. He presents workshops around the country on the impact of inclusive spaces for LGBTQ people in various settings. Kelsey straddles the worlds of academia/theory and practice, serving as the Board President of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, a national non-profit organization that publishes a 649-page resource guide of the same name, by and for the trans*, genderqueer, and gender-nonconforming communities. For more information, visit or contact Kelsey at

This course meets the qualifications for (7.0) BBS CEUs for LCSWs, LMFTs, LPCCs, and LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences & is provided by Fred Finch Youth Center, CAMFT Provider #045295.

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