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Board of Directors and Officers

  • Shannon Garcia, Founding Member, President
  • Amy G., Founding Member, Treasurer
  • Kim Pearson, Founding Member, Training Director
  • Lisa Gilinger, Esq., Vice President
  • Andrew Solomon
  • Johanna Olson, MD
  • Carol Nester

Board of Advisors

  • Moonhawk River Stone, M.S., LMHC
  • Kelley Winters, Ph.D.
  • Rev. Dr. Julie Nemecek
  • Reid Vanderburgh, MA, LMFT
  • Asaf Orr, Esq.

Research Team

  • Seth T. Pardo, Ph.D
  • Colt Meier, M.A, Ph.D Candidate

Other Personnel

Past and present officers, board members, advisors, coordinators, presenters and volunteers include: Jamison Green, Ph.D., trans author and lawyer (Director emeritus); ‘Just Evelyn’, author and parent of trans child, (Director emeritus); Andrea James, M.A., trans author and filmmaker (Director emeritus); Bruce Parker, Ph.D. candidate, academic and activist (Director emeritus); Jenn Burleton, trans activist (Founding Member and Director emeritus); Tonei Glavinic, Travel Coordinator; Shawn-Dedric Pearson, Administrative Assistant; Monica Nunez-Cham, Presenter; Isaac Nicholas Gomez, Youth Presenter; Zander Keig, M.S., Presenter; Logan Sage Croft, Presenter; Betsy Hanger, Presenter; Paula Keiser, Web Coordinator; Andre Wilson, Volunteer; Mary Haller, Volunteer; Darlene Cox, Presenter; Robert Crowe, Presenter; Jenna Meyer, Volunteer.

Board of Directors and Officers

Shannon Garcia, Founding Member, President

Shannon Garcia

Shannon Garcia is the President of TransYouth Family Allies, Inc., a business owner, and the mother of six children, including a beautiful affirmed female daughter. She speaks at schools, social service agencies, health care facilities, universities and conferences nationwide educating and advocating on behalf of transgender and gender variant children and their families. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and family.

Amy G., Founding Member, Treasurer

Amy is one of TYFA’s Founding Members and has served as Treasurer since the organization’s founding in 2006.

Kim Pearson, Founding Member, Training Director

Kim Pearson, Executive DirectorKim is one of the nation’s most sought after and experienced educators on the topic of gender diversity in children. Whether it is a discussion with a school principal or guidance counselor, an in-service for a group of educators, a workshop for medical professionals or a presentation at a national conference, Kim has an innate ability to create an atmosphere where participants feel safe to share their fears and concerns. Her extraordinary success at bringing meaningful understanding to her audience is rooted in her ability to accurately identify and speak to the level of awareness unique to each individual. Learn more about Kim Pearson.

Lisa Gilinger, Director, Vice President

Lisa Gilinger

With degrees in engineering, music, business, and law, Lisa Gilinger currently practices administrative law in Santa Barbara, California, focusing on Social Security Disability. She is a guest lecturer, a speaker with Pacific Pride, and a voting member of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), where she serves as a member of their Legal Issues Committee. Ms. Gilinger was the keynote speaker for University of Minnesota at Morris Equality’s 2009 Pride Week. She grew up in Levittown, Pennsylvania.

Andrew Solomon, Director

Andrew Solomon is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology. His latest book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity (Scribner, November, 2012) has been hailed by the New York Times as “generous, humane, and compassionate…wise and beautiful.” His last book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Scribner, 2001), won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, and won twelve other national awards; it has been published in twenty-two languages. In 2008, Solomon received the Society of Biological Psychiatry’s Humanitarian Award for his contributions to the field of mental health, and in 2010, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation’s Productive Lives Award.

A native New Yorker, Andrew Solomon studied at Yale and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology at Cambridge. Solomon is a lecturer in Psychiatry at Cornell and Special Advisor on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Mental Health at Yale. He is a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a member of the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; the University of Michigan Depression Center; and Columbia Psychiatry. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of Columbia University Medical Center.

He lives with his husband and son in New York and London and is a dual national.

Johanna Olson, MD, Director

Johanna Olson, MD is an Adolescent Medicine physician specializing in the care of transgender youth, gender variant children, youth with HIV, and chronic pain. Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Olson has been an Assistant Professor at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for the past four years. She has appeared on ABC’s 20/20 in 2007 and The Dr. Phil show in 2008 and most recently, Lisa Ling’s Our America to educate audiences about the needs of transgender youth. Dr. Olson was recently awarded an intramural grant from the Saban Research Institute/ CHLA to gather data about the impact of care on transgender youth and gender variant children. The Transgender Youth Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has cared for nearly 500 transgender adolescents and young adults  since inception in 1991, and is one of the largest programs in the country. The clinic was recently expanded to provide gender sensitive pediatric care for gender variant children of any age. Patients come from all across the country for consultations at this unique program. Dr. Olson is considered a national expert in the care of transgender adolescents.

Carol Nester, Director

Carol Nester is a retired teacher whose thirty year career in the public school system has afforded her the opportunity to work with a diverse population of children and their families. As Intake Coordinator for TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA) she continues to draw on her experience as an educator by helping parents and guardians of transgender and gender variant youth access the resources necessary to provide supportive environments in which gender may be expressed and respected.

Board of Advisors

Moonhawk River Stone, M.S., LMHC

Moonhawk River Stone Moonhawk River Stone, M.S., LMHC is a psychotherapist, consultant, educator and writer in private practice. In addition to his position as Director, TYFA, he serves on the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors where he is Chair of the Diversity Committee. He is also Chair of, GLMA’s Trans Health Care Committee.


Kelley Winters, Ph.D.

Dr. Kelly Winters

Dr. Kelley Winters is a writer and community advocate on issues of transgender medical policy. She is the founder of GID Reform Advocates, member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and Advisory Board Member for the Matthew Shepard Foundation and TransYouth Family Allies. She has presented papers on the psychiatric classification of gender diversity at annual conventions of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association and the Association of Women in Psychology. Her articles have appeared in a number of psychology and psychiatry journals and in two books.

Kelley assisted in drafting the current human rights ordinances in Boulder and Denver, Colorado. She was instrumental in trans-positive reform of Colorado drivers license policy in 2006 and in adding Gender Identity and Expression to employment policies of the Hewlett-Packard Company. Kelley received the Colorado Pride Award from Equality Colorado in 1999 and the and 2002 Sonja’s Dream Lifetime Achievement Award and 2007 Melissa Chapman Award for Social Change from the Gender Identity Center of Colorado.

Rev. Dr. Julie Nemecek

Rev. Dr. Julie Nemecek

Dr. Julie Nemecek is a former university professor who lost her job for following the treatment protocols for being transgender. During this process, Dr. Nemecek shared her story with the local newspaper. The story was quickly picked up by the Associated Press and ultimately appeared in various media.

She and her life partner of 36 years, Joanne, have both become outspoken activists for transgender issues. They have shared their story on university and college campuses and even the occasional high school campus. Before moving into higher education in 1990, Rev. Nemecek served for 20 years in pastoral ministry including an inner-city Chicago church. She often shares how the move to an authentic life has had a positive impact on her spiritual life as well as her emotional well-being.  In addition to her service on the advisory board of Trans Youth Family Allies, Dr. Nemecek serves on the boards of Michigan Equality, Soulforce, Michigan Association of LGBT Organizations and PFLAG Jackson. She also does volunteer work with GLAAD.

Reid Vanderburgh

Reid Vanderburgh, MA, LMFT is a therapist with a private practice in Portland, Oregon. Reid’s specialization is helping people cope with major life transformative events. Approximately 95% of his clientele is transgender in one way or another. In addition to his work as a therapist, Reid has extensive experience providing  workshops, classes and presentations on transgender issues, within a variety of settings.  He is the author of “Transition and Beyond: Observations on Gender Identity,” published  by Q Press of Portland, Oregon. The first print run sold out, and Q Press has gone out of business, so Reid is seeking a new publisher.

Reid received his MA in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University’s Graduate School for Holistic Studies in 2001. He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Reid is a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH, formerly HBIGDA, Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association) and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT). He is also a board member of SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone).

Asaf Orr

Asaf is a solo practitioner in Los Angeles whose law practice focuses on representing students in education-related matters including special education, discrimination, constitutional rights, and discipline. Although Asaf works on school cases generally, he has developed an expertise in cases involving transgender and gender-variant youth. He provides trainings to students, parents, educators, lawyers, and service providers across the country on the rights of LGBTQ youth in schools.

Asaf is also co-authoring a book chapter on the legal and ethical obligations of school districts to safeguard the right of LGBTQ youth to obtain an education in a safe and affirming school environment. The chapter is part of an edited volume geared towards school professionals.

Previously, he directed the Rainbow Rights Project at the Learning Rights Law Center. After graduating magna cum laude from Rutgers School of Law, he clerked for The Honorable Virginia A. Long on the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Research Team

Seth T. Pardo, Ph.D

Seth Pardo received his Ph.D. from the Department of Human Development at Cornell University with concentrations in Developmental Psychology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His graduate work focused on transgender identity development and medical decision making.

Dr. Pardo is one of the founding members of the Association for Gender Research, Education, Academia and Action (AGREAA), member of the Education Committee for the Society for Medical Decision Making, member of the American Psychological Association, and an advising member of the student initiative for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. In 2009, Dr. Pardo co-convened the TransRhetorics Conference with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies Department at Cornell University, which drew in scholars from around the world to celebrate diverse interdisciplinary work in transgender studies and new rhetorical approaches in the representations of transgender lives.

Dr. Pardo is co-author of the California Department of Mental Health LGBTQ Reducing Disparities Report; his work also appears in several peer-reviewed publications including Archives of Sexual Behavior, Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, International Journal of Transgenderism, Handbook of gender research in psychology, and the Handbook of identity theory and research.

Colt Meier, M.A, Ph.D Candidate

Colt is set to graduate from the Child-Family track of the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at the University of Houston on May 10, 2013. He is a licensed psychological associate in the state of Texas currently completing his internship in the LGBT rotation at Texas Tech University in the Student Counseling Center. Colt has been out as a trans man throughout his graduate education and training.

Colt worked with local professionals to create Gender Infinity, the Houston based gender family conference for transgender children, youth, and their families that has held two successful conferences. He serves as the Co-Chair for the Transgender Committee in Division 44 of the American Psychological Association and has led efforts to create culturally sensitive informational material for psychologists who are working with transgender children and youth. He is also the Co-Chair of the Student Initiative of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

His research is being published in multiple peer-reviewed journals including Archives of Sexual Behavior, Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, and International Journal of Transgenderism.