Local TransFamilies Meetings for Parents and Caregivers July 2018:
TransFamilies of Santa Cruz, Sat., July 7, 3-5 pm, in the Education Room of Calvary Episcopal Church, 532 Center St, Santa Cruz, CA.
TransFamilies of Monterey Meetings are SUSPENDED for Summer 2018.
If you have questions or concerns that need immediate attention before the next meeting,
call us at 831-818-2253 or email:

Monday, May 21, 2018


This blog post is long overdue. My apology for losing track of this important update for our TransFamiles. Last November 2017, Anne Lipman and I met with representatives at the Law Library of the Santa Cruz Superior Court to discuss how we can make information given to families more consistent when they are seeking legal name and/or gender change through the court. What follows are Anne's excellent notes from that meeting.

Dina Oskiera 
April 4, 2018

Notes for Meeting on November 8, 2017

Santa Cruz County Superior Court Law Library

Sasha Morgan and Renee Fleming of the Law Library
Anne Lipman and Dina Oskiera of TransFamilies of Santa Cruz

Self Help Center in Watsonville or the Law Library in Santa Cruz is the best place to start with the process of pursuing a legal name and/or gender change through the courts. Both can provide forms ($2.00 charge), and help you fill out forms but the Self Help Center in Watsonville is more comprehensive. Show up 1/2 hour before opening in the morning and at lunch for faster service, but plan on going when you are not in a hurry. You are encouraged to stay and fill out forms there, so bring along as much info as possible to help you with forms (birth certificate, Dr’s letter, Therapist letter, etc.) If you don’t know where to start then go and talk with them, and they can help you figure out which forms you need. You may need to go several times before all forms are filled out. Just think of it as part of the process. Keep in mind Watsonville offers free copies of documents, Santa Cruz charges for copies.

Go to one of the above offices as your first step. Do not take forms directly to the clerks to file because they do not know the law as well as the people in these two centers. When you do go to the clerks to file, and you feel you are getting the wrong advice, again, consult with Self Help Center or Law Library. They can intervene on your behalf and get things straightened out for you with clerks. There will soon be up to 6 forms to choose from for gender identity and name change. We highly encourage you to go talk with someone before you start to fill out the forms, so you get the right forms.

Sometimes forms can be accepted by the clerk, but are not filled in correctly. This can cause you trouble down the road such as when you go to get a passport or go to change your birth certificate. Fees can be waived even if you do not meet the criteria for wavers on the paperwork. Families can list their expenses to show that that they do not have the money for fees. This may require a little more paperwork but the court does not want anyone to delay this important process because they cannot afford it. Ask if you need help. They will help you!

The law and forms are ever changing. What I did for my child last year may not apply today. We can support you and guide you, but we cannot necessarily tell you what the exact law is or forms needed for each individual case. Only the Help Center or Law Library can truly give you the most up to date info. If you go and then delay filling in the paperwork, make sure to check in with them again before you submit so you can confirm that no forms have changed.

Important websites below:
Self Help Center, Watsonville:
Law Library, Santa Cruz:

Sasha Morgan
Santa Cruz Superior Court
Director of Operations
1 Second Street
Watsonville, CA 95076
Phone (831) 786-7335

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

I Am Jazz reading to support our youth

On December 7th communities across the country come together to read the book “I Am Jazz” In support of transgender inclusion in their communities. This year our community was no exception, as we hosted our first “I Am Jazz” reading.  Our own Mireille Gale organized the community reading in conjunction with Human Rights Campaign, Transfamilies, the Diversity Center and Luma Yoga.

We had a great turnout with a roomful of kids, parents and grandparents. Jamie Joy, one of the fabulous youth leaders at the Diversity Center, did the reading and lead us in an activity to get us all thinking outside the box about gender. The kids were very engaged, asking questions and sharing their stories about their own gender journeys.

“The National “I Am Jazz” School and Community Readings are an annual event hosted by HRC’s Welcoming Schools in recognition of the first “I Am Jazz” reading in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. In 2015 after a school in the Mount Horeb area cancelled a reading of the children’s book after the notoriously anti-LGBTQ group Liberty Counsel threatened the school with legal action, parents, children and school staff came together and filled the Mount Horeb Public Library with nearly 600 people who gathered to show their support for transgender inclusion.“I Am Jazz” was written by HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings and author Jessica Herthel and is a first-person account about being transgender. Jennings was one of the first trans children to talk publicly about her identity and the 
challenges she has faced as a trans youth. This groundbreaking book is often used by schools and families to help children understand transgender youth and adults.”

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Workshop: Working with Grief to Create Space for the Joy of Change

Order your tickets through Eventbrite.
Our Presenters:
Ben Geilhufe, MA, LPCC is a licensed therapist, trainer and consultant. He is the co-founder and Director of Train the Gap, a group of mental health and medical professionals who provide gender specialist clinical training for a variety of organizations. He is on the Leadership Team of the Gender Specialist Clinical Team of the Central Coast, and is an active contributor to Mind the Gap, the Bay Area gender specialist team. He has contributed to policy reform for higher education institutions, non-profit organizations, school systems and larger corporations around gender identity, awareness, and inclusivity.

Micah Hammond received a masters in Counseling Psychology from Naropa University in 2013. She works as the Assistant Clinical Director at The Lotus Collaborative providing counseling for people with eating disorders. Micah is an Ally and has presented at conferences and trained professionals supporting gender expansive identities in treatment settings. 

Things to Know:
Ben Geilhufe presented this workshop forTransFamily Support Group members in 2015.  It was a significant support resource for those who attended.  We are so pleased to offer this workshop once again, and our only regret is that we did not do it sooner. Do not miss this opportunity; register today. Keep in mind, this event is not for our gender diverse children.  It is for parents, grandparents, adult siblings (18+), and other caregivers of gender diverse children. 

Feel free to call or email with any questions.

Warm regards,

Dina Oskiera

Saturday, September 16, 2017

CA has Sent New Gender Bill to Gov. Brown. Urge Him to Sign!

This is super important!
SB-179 the CA Gender Recognition Act Sept. 14th passed both houses in CA legislature and is now in the final stretch and needs your help by calling or emailing Governor Brown to urge him to sign SB-179 which he must do by Oct 15! Call him at 916-445-2841 or email directly from his website at email Governor Brown Here where there is an easy drop down menu and SB-179 is on it near the bottom. He has not indicated yet if he will sign it or not so everyone of us are needed to urge him to sign this!!

What is SB-179? 
It is a bill that Sept. 14th  finally passed the CA legislature authored by Senators Wiener and Atkins and co sponsored by our own Mark Stone and Equality CA and the Transgender Law Center. SB-179 changes 3 things:
* creates a 3rd nonbinary gender option on all CA documents including drivers licence and birth certificate.
* removes the current requirement for anyone changing gender and name to have a court appearance with a judge, it will become easy paper filing only.
* removes the current requirement for minors 16+ seeking gender and name change to have both parents agree and sign, one parent will be sufficient.

If signed by Gov Brown by Oct 15 2017 it will become law Jan 2019

I've been traveling multiple times to Sacramento to lobby for SB-179 accompanied by our own Dina Oskiera and Sara Kelly Keenan who is a SC intersex activist who has received a lot of press internationally for being the first person in CA to get her ID changed to non binary through a court fight and also the first person in the US to change her birth certificate to Intersex. ( she uses she/her pronouns and identifies as non binary) 
SB-179 will make it so in CA there will be a third gender option box to check that might say "other" next to male and female. We have been lobbying the legislature along with the Intersex and Genderqueer Recognition Project to testify before several committees both in the Senate and Assembly to fight for passage and after clearing 6 committe votes and then the entire Senate and Assembly we are now at the final hurdle, Gov. Browns signature!

Here is a great news piece from Buzzfeed that came out Sept. 14th about this (and features Sara Kelly Keenan)
Calif is Now One Step Closer to a Nonbinary ID Option

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Pajaro Valley Pride Aug 20th 2017

TransFamily Support group had a table at this year's Pajaro Valley Pride, Aug 20th, in downtown Watsonville, CA.  It was a cheerful and family-oriented, small crowd gathered to celebrate Pride for only the 2nd year in south county, Santa Cruz. 

So many people stopped by our booth to stock up on pins, flags, bracelets and purple Hurshey kisses. It's good to know our swag is out promoting trans awareness in the community. Our biggest regret was not having a Spanish speaker at our table but we surely will not make that mistake next year!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

UPDATE:  My daughter and I attended "The Future of LGBTQ Rights" presentation.  We didn't learn anything new, but we did participate to help clarify the discussion around Trans vulnerabilities and also contributed by pointing out that ACA (Obamacare) is a critical resource for the LGBTIQ+ community. This tells me we are on top of the current issues. The ACLU has our backs, but they can't initiate court cases unless they have plaintiffs.  This means they NEED stories from people being impacted. Spread the word...tell your story and contact the ACLU.

Today's world for TransFamilies presents challenges all round. But shutting down, turning off, and/or tuning out are not really options if we want a better future for our children. How do we sort through everything insisting on our attention and resources to discern where our input is needed most and would be most effective? The following presentation will attempt to answer that question.  It's on my calendar.  Hope to see you there. For those who can't make it, I'll do my best to report back to our families. 

Dina Oskiera

Rainbow Speakers Presents “The Future of LGBTQ Rights” with Michelle Welsh, July 27, Marina

Michelle Welsh, Esq – Local Attorney, board member of ACLU Northern CA and the Monterey County Chapter and Constitutional Law teacher at Monterey College of Law. With changes in the Bench of the Supreme Court and Trump’s Agenda, it is a wise advocate that knows where to focus time and energy. Michelle Welsh’s talk will help give us insight to which LGBTQ rights are stable, in play or needs our immediate advocacy and support.

Where:   Epiphany Lutheran & Episcopal Church, 425 Carmel Ave., Marina

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Transfamily at Pride June 4, 2017

Pride Santa Cruz 2017 was June 4th, and Transfamily Support showed up in force! We had our largest contingent ever in the parade with not only us parents but several of our kids who showed up and marched with us. This was a huge step forward for these kids. We can all be so proud of them!

After the parade the festivities of the day continued with music and food and information booths. Transfamily had a booth which was very popular this year! Our outreach felt more productive than ever before. We passed out hundreds of cards, gave away hundreds of bracelets, and answered a barrage of inquiries from kids and parents about our services.

We shared our booth with The Intersex and Genderqueer Recognition Project (IGRP) whose mission is to help non-binary identifying people who want to change their document gender markers to allow for a third gender option complete the difficult gauntlet for doing so.

The IGRP's presence at our booth was quite popular especially with the youth at Pride. Having them there with us created more opportunities for conversations between us from Transfamily and some of the youth who shared their stories of parents not accepting them as they truly are.

Pride was a blast! The parade seemed to be the longest ever with Dykes (and allies) on Bikes, marching bands, cheer leaders, the library drill team, faith groups, and several groups from the Diversity Center including the Triangle Speakers of which I, as a parent,  am a panel speaker. After the parade there was a stage with great music and dancing. There were several food trucks; lots of information and sales booths; and a ton of freedom to be who you are!

                                                         Happy Pride!

                                            Video of Transfamily in the parade