Pride and Joy Families Weekend Conference 2016

The Lesbian and Gay Family Building Project, with co-presenter Camp Highlight, will hold its sixth LGBTQ families conference on March 18-20, 2016 at the Holiday Inn Downtown, 2-8 Hawley Street in Binghamton, NY. This year's theme is LGBTQ Families in Transition- Navigating Changes Within and Outside of Us. Approximately 200 people from throughout New York State are expected to attend.

The 2016 Pride and Joy Families Weekend Conference provides a unique opportunity for adults and children in diverse families to experience a sense of community, relax, learn and celebrate together.

The event is intended to meet the needs of families with one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer adult members. Families with and without children are welcome. Allies and single LGBTQ adults are welcome. Extended family members are also welcome – grandparents, aunts, and uncles will all have a wonderful time!

A pre-conference professional training day on transgender healthcare will be held on Friday, March 18th.


Highlights of the upcoming Conference include:
  • Keynote Address on "LGBTQ Families in Transition" by Vince Sgambati
  • Educational workshops and resources for adults on many aspects of living in an LGBTQ family, including navigating change within and outside of our families, family building,schools, essential legal and financial information,  adoption and foster care, individuals with special needs, and talking to children about sex and gender
  • Programs for children and youth, including childcare for ages 3-6 years, and Camp Highlight programs for ages 7 and up
  • Teen Panel: Kids with LGBTQ Parents Speak Out
  • Intergenerational activities and entertainment
  • Family Dance Party!
  • Resource/Vendor Fair
  • Off-site excursions to Binghamton-area attractions
  • Pre-Conference Professional Training Day, "Providing Welcoming and Affirming Care for Transgender People," on Friday, March 18th

Attendees may come for the weekend or just for a day. Registration fees vary by age of participant, length of stay, and include meals. An ample scholarship fund makes financial assistance available. A block of hotel rooms has been secured at the rate of $92/night. Please note that registration/fee for the Pre-Conference Professional Training Day is separate.

Conference co-sponsors include Family Equality Council, the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Binghamton University, Gay Parent Magazine,
Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing, Binghamton University Health and Wellness Studies Program,  Binghamton University Dept. of Social Work, Binghamton University Dept. of Psychology, Binghamton University Alumni Association, United University Professions, Binghamton University School of Pharmacy, Care Manage for All LLC, Cortland LGBT Resource Center, Out for Health, Sage Upstate, Identity Youth Center and the LGBTQ-Inclusive Provider Network of Central NY and the Southern Tier.

Preliminary Conference Schedule  

Friday, March 18, 2016

4:00- 6:00 pm  Early birds meet and swim (Hotel pool)
5:00-9:00 pm Registration
6:00-9:00 pm Welcome Reception and Dinner
-dinner available until 8:00 pm
8:00-10:00 pm Poolside socializing and swim

Saturday, March 19

7:30am -12 pm Registration
7:30-9:00 am Breakfast
8:30 am-5:00pm Resource/Vendor Fair
9:00-11:45 am Childcare for ages 3-6 years
Camp Highlight programs for ages 7+
9:15-10:15 am Keynote by Vince Sgambati, "LGBTQ Families in Transition"
10:30-11:45 am Adult workshop Session A (3 concurrent sessions)
11:45 am-12:45 pm Lunch
12:45-3:45 pm Childcare for ages 3-6 years
Camp Highlight programs for ages 7+
1:00-2:15 pm Adult Workshop Session B (3 concurrent sessions)
2:30-3:45 pm Adult Workshop Session C (3 concurrent sessions)
3:45-4:30 pm Snack available
4:00-5:00 pm General session: Teen Panel
4:00-6:00 pm Poolside socializing and swim (Lifeguards on duty at hotel pool)
6:00-7:30 pm Dinner
7:00-10:00 pm Family Dance Party with DJ Mick (open to the entire community)

Sunday, March 20

7:30-9:30 am Breakfast
9:30-11:00 am Intergenerational Activities for Families by Camp Highlight
12 pm Check-out time at Holiday Inn Arena

Lunch and Off-site excursions on your own.


Pre-Conference Professional Training Day:  Providing Welcoming and Affirming Care for Transgender People 

Join us for this informative training on Friday, March 18th, 9:00 am-3:30 pm at the Binghamton University Downtown Center, 67 Washington Street. Fee is $12 including lunch OR $40 including lunch and 4 Social Work Continuing Education Contact Hours. Registration is required and is separate from Pride and Joy Families Weekend Conference registration. The talk is open to the entire community.

Who should attend: Do you work with transgender, genderqueer, or gender expansive people? Would you like to gain new tools, strategies and resources as you work to support them and provide them with the best care possible? This training is intended for faculty, staff, students, educators, primary care providers, mental health practitioners, and human service professionals who wish to create optimal therapeutic and caregiving spaces for transgender, genderqueer, gender expansive, and gender questioning people.

Abstract: Bias, discrimination, and exclusion are all too common, albeit often unintentional, when transgender and genderqueer people seek care, support, resources and information. This workshop will provide concrete ways in which counselors, therapists, and educators can create welcoming and affirming care and learning environments for transgender and genderqueer people. Participants will receive ample resources, concrete tools and techniques, and an opportunity for discussion about this important topic.

Presenters: Maureen Kelly, CFLE, ACSE, ACSC, Out for Health, Planned Parenthood’s LGBT Health and Wellness Program, with Victoria Rizzo, Ph.D., LCSW-R, Dept. Chair of Social Work, Associate Professor, Binghamton University.

Registration required:  Registration is now closed.  

4 NYS Approved Social Work Continuing Education Contact Hours are provided by Binghamton University’s Department of Social Work:  Binghamton University – SUNY, Social Work Department SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0143.


Conference Keynote Address

Title: LGBTQ Families in Transition---Navigating Changes Within and Outside of Us
Speaker: Vince Sgambati, Writer, Teacher, Pride and Joy Dad

Abstract: Vince's keynote will draw on the connections between the changes in his own life, which are not unique but mirror the changes of many LGBT people born in the 1950s, and the changes in the broader LGBT communities, especially within the lives of those of us who have parented.

"I recently joined the 92nd Street Y and took a water aerobics class. The last time I danced with a bunch of shirtless men in NYC was in a gay bar on Christopher Street, to Donna Summer's 'It's Raining Men.' Boy has life changed." Vince Sgambati, Facebook post, 9/2015

Vince realized that he was gay at a very early age and like many gay boys in the 1960s, he lived a dual life. Change was gradual. From the early closeted years punctuated with brief escapes to the piers at the end of Christopher Street; to the in-and-out days of teaching, having a roommate/lover, wearing a bag over his head at small gay pride rallies; to becoming an out activist appearing in newspapers and on television to speak out against heterosexist bigots and for the rights of all LGBT people. And aside from these changes there were also the more typical life passages of caring for aging parents, raising a child, becoming a widower and now an empty nester.

Speaker biography:

vince sgambati  Vince Sgambati is a longtime social justice  activist including equitable rights for LGBT  persons. He has served on the Syracuse Peace  Council Board, was a founding member of The  Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Syracuse (GLAS)  which was instrumental in passing the Fair  Practices Law in Syracuse (1990), volunteered as  a buddy during the early days of the HIV/AIDS  pandemic, and has served on numerous  educational and community boards promoting  diversity and multiculturalism. He's currently a  board member of ArtRage, a gallery that exhibits  progressive art, inspires resistance and  promotes social awareness. Vince is also a member of the All Saints LGBT Task Force, committed to holding Catholic institutions accountable to their LGBT parishioners. He and his partner Jack were the first same-sex male couple to file for and attain second-parent adoption in Onondaga County.

Vince was a teacher in the Syracuse City School District and a staff developer for Special Education Training Resource Centers (SETRC) then for the Syracuse Teacher Center. He currently spends much of his time writing. His short stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He was a semifinalist in Nimrod Literary Awards: the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, a runner up for the Saints and Sinners Short Fiction Contest (2013) and received honorable mention (2015). He has recently completed a novel manuscript, Most Precious Blood, which he will read from at the upcoming Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans.

Vince was recently widowed and lives in Syracuse and New York City, where his son attends college.

Children and Youth Programs

All programs will be held on-site.

Children, ages 3-6 years, will be provided with fun, creative childcare led by Lynne Theophanis, an extraordinary caregiver and veteran of several past conferences.

Children, ages 7 and up, are invited to join a fun Day in the Life at Camp Highlight. Co-Directors Chris Hudson and Jackie McGowan and their amazing staff will return this year. (Visit and learn more about their terrific summer camp for kids with LGBTQ parents.)

In the morning, our schedule includes all "campers" rotating through 3-40 minute activities such as Arts and Crafts, Improv and Group Games, and a Scientific Experiment (use scrap materials to build a boat that can hold the most weight.) These will all be lead by experienced CHL staff. In the afternoon, the campers will join together as a group for a large group activity, Indoor Field Day!! During this activity, campers will have a chance to compete in teams at funny and active challenges such as relay races, cooperative balancing acts, and perplexing puzzles. This will be high energy and exciting. In the afternoon, we will have a reflective moment when we engage the campers in one of our Virtue Lessons about Generosity. This will be a time for campers to think about being generous to oneself and turning negative messages into positive ones.

Adult Workshops

Adult programming includes 10 different workshops for adults on a wide range of topics, including schools, adoption and foster care, talking to children and youth about sex, LGBT community history, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, negotiating transition and loss, and essential legal information for LGBTQ families.


  • Families in Transition: Navigating Through Changing Currents

Presenter: Angelina Blasich, LMSW

In line with this year's theme , “Families in Transition” – how do we navigate our growing, changing, aging families? , Angelina’s workshop will focus precisely on change, and represents a terrific opportunity to come together with other parents to explore the ways in which our lives can be enriched and understood through engaging with the process of change and growth.

“Our family lives are filled with challenge and change: marriage/divorce, having children, blending families, children growing up and out, parents growing old and in, blended family breakups, new relationships, new jobs, new routines, new identities, new public spaces, and new definitions of self. Along with these changes come emotional and relational challenges, affecting each individual and the group dynamic in ways that can be difficult to navigate. We will start with a meditation, providing the space to bear witness to our changing lived experience. We will then discuss strategies for navigating these challenging spaces with compassion, willingness, and a healthy smattering of humor.”

  • Adoption: An Incredible Journey  - Learn about the challenges and miracles  of adoption and what has been learned during one family's journey.

Presenters: Susan Rausch, Chauntavia Rausch Moran

If you’re interested in gaining more knowledge about adoption, foster care, and the joys and struggles of their processes – this is the workshop for you! Personal experiences and professional wisdom combine to create a great narrative of an adoptive journey.  

“Susan and Chauntavia will share their family’s adoption stories. Susan will discuss the challenges and miracles of Adoptive Parentingm while Chauntavia will share her own experiences with growing up in a two-mom family with six adopted siblings. Susan will share parenting and survival strategies and give a short overview of “Adoption Connection,” a project which provides support to Adoptive Families dealing with challenging issues. Participants will have a chance to ask questions and/or share about their own challenges and successes as Adoptive Families.”

  • Talking with Teens about Sex

Presenters: Melanie LeMay, Charity Corman

Many of our Pride and Joy Families have children who have grown into teenagers and young adults – helping them mature into the well-rounded individuals we hope they’ll be is one of parenting’s greatest joys, but also one of its biggest challenges. Talking to our kids about their physical and emotional health represents a crucial part of how to parent progressively; we’re glad to have Melanie and Charity on board to help us learn how to have these important conversations with our families.

“The staff of Identity Youth Center will lead a discussion on having candid conversations with teenagers about sex and sexuality, including safer sex practices, condom negotiation, and consent. The presentation will include safer sex supply demonstrations and suggestions from youth about keeping conversations teen-friendly.

Participants will leave with a safer sex fact sheet designed with teens in mind and information on local resources.”


  • Trans* Matters: Navigating the Gender Binary for Transgender People and Those Who Love Them, a Practical Approach

Presenters: Jenna Cook, PhD and Elliot Ruggles, MSW, PhD

In this workshop, the facilitators, both professionals and people of trans experience, will provide a broad overview of some of the ways in which transgender experience intersects with various facets of life and institutions. We will explore diverse gender identity in the social environment (school, work and play), healthcare, support networks and relationships of all kinds, intersections with the legal system, and transition planning for trans people and their loved ones.  If you are a trans person in a family, considering your gender identity, or someone who has a loved one in transition, come to this workshop for a frank and practical discussion of all the considerations in what it means to live as a transgender person in NY State today.  

  • Mental Health Concerns of the LGBTQ Family

Presenter: Timothy J Legg, PhD, PMHNP-BC, CASAC

“This workshop is for individuals and families who wish to learn more about the unique factors which impact the mental health of LGBTQ persons. The presenter will review mental health issues and discuss some elements of these issues which are unique to LGBTQ individuals, including mental health concerns among families with foster and foster-adopted children and youth. The presentation includes tips on being a savvy consumer of mental health care services as well as how to advocate for a loved one with mental health issues.”

  • We Can't Just Have an "Oops": Steps Involved in the Family-Planning Process

Presenter: Berg Miller, PhD Student and Jesi Miller, Director of Education

If you are interested in increasing your understanding of the logistical considerations of family planning or if you are seeking to learn about political aspects of family planning from the perspective of a gender non-conforming couple with attention to anti-racism politics, you should definitely attend this workshop. 

"Berg and Jesi, two genderqueer women that have been together for nine years, speak from experience about their family-planning process. They will share the choices that have come up and how they have made decisions along the way. This workshop will be interactive, with activities for participants to explore their own needs as well as the opportunity to ask the presenters questions. Topics the presenters will touch upon include: adopt, foster, or inseminate; who's carrying; choosing a donor; insemination options; creating a timeline & making a budget ; (in)fertility treatments -holistic approaches and western medicine; strategies for self-care; setting boundaries and building support networks."


  • Teen Panel - In Our Own Words: Youth with LGBTQ Parent(s) Speak Out! 

Presenter: Emily McGranchan, East Coast Regional Manager

Sharing experiences is the most important way to feel empowered to speak out and to hear one another's stories. Thus, they feel more connected and better able to advocate for equality and social justice for their families and beyond. In this teen panel, youth with LGBTQ parents will share their own unique and important experiences.  

"There are six million people with LGBTQ-identified parents or guardians in the United States. They are a vital part of the LGBTQ family movement and resources of stories, experience, and advocacy. Join this workshop for an insigtful and powerful conversation about growing up with LGBTQ parent(s), from the experts on the subject. The panel will be moderated by Emily McGranachan, East Coast Regional Manager with Family Equality Council, and proud daughter of lesbian moms." 


  • Whose Shoulders Do You Stand On? The Importance of Knowing Your Own History and the History of Your Community 

Presenter: Evelyn Bailey, Chair, Shoulders to Stand on Program Organization: Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley 

"The workshop will focus on the parallels between our own personal journeys from oppression, to liberation to equality and that of the LGBTQ Community in New York. Using the 90 minute documentary Shoulders To Stand On: History of the Rochester, NY LGBT Community we will look at those who have been on our personal "shoulders" and the "shoulders" the community stands on. This 90 minute documentary reveals an unknown and thus far undocumented chapter of New York State's rich, diverse local history. STSO captures the stories, struggles and achievements of our LGBT pioneers who made important sacrifices to make Rochester and New York a better place to live for all our families."  

This special workshop runs from 1-3:30 pm on Sat. March 19th and is free and open to the entire community. Non-Conference goers please RSVP to


Intergenerational Activities

Family Dance Party
Our own Pride and Joy mom and professional DJ Mick Bordenet will play dance music to delight all ages. The Family Dance will be held on Saturday. It is free to Conference attendees and the entire community. Mick will take our music requests and get us up out of our seats!

On Sunday morning, families are invited to join Camp Highlight for even more activities!

For the first 45 minute segment, families will have the choice to attend activities hosted by CHL staff. Together, you can enjoy an arts and crafts project, karaoke and song games, or Group games. These activities will differ from Saturday's activities but will be just as fun.

The weekend finale is "Pride and Joy has Talent"! Children and families are invited to sign up for this show of talent. Bring your ability to sing, read a poem, do a magic trick, play an instrument, put on a skit or stand on your hands for 90 seconds. Perform or just come and enjoy the show!

Sunday afternoon is an opportunity to take off-site excursions to Binghamton-area attractions at a discounted rate for our families. Destinations will include Nyala Alpaca Farm (a favorite at the 2005 Pride and Joy Conference!), Roberson Museum and Science Center, and Discovery Center.


Conference registration fees range from $100/adult to $30 for children ages 3-5 years and include meals and all on-site educational programs and materials. Saturday-only attendance rates are also available. Registration is now closed.  Registration for the Pre-Conference Professional Training Day is separate.


Resource/Vendor Fair

The Resource/Vendor Fair is the hub of our Conference. Again this year it will be centrally-located, allowing for an excellent opportunity to showcase exhibitor products and services as Conference participants attend sessions and have lunch. The Fair will be open from 8:30 am until 5 pm on Saturday, March 19th. Space is no longer available.

Advertising Opportunities

Ad space is now closed

Co-sponsors and Supporters


Camp Highlight

Co-sponsors and Supporters

Thank you to our co-sponsors and supporters!

Binghamton University Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program
Family Equality Council
Binghamton University Alumni Association
Binghamton University School of Pharmacy

Binghamton University Decker School of Nursing

Binghamton University Health and Wellness Studies Program
Binghamton University Dept. of Social Work
Binghamton University Dept. of Psychology
United University Professions                                                                    
Gay Parent Magazine
Cortland LGBT Resource Center
Out for Health
Sage Upstate
Identity Youth Center
LGBTQ-Inclusive Provider Network of Central NY and the Southern Tier

Care Manage for All LLC

Become a supporter!

Here's a link to the 2015 Pride and Joy Conference program book for reference!

2015 Pride and Joy Conference Program Book



Accommodations are not included in the Conference fee. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn Downtown Binghamton (the Conference hotel). For reservations, please contact the hotel directly at +1 (607) 722-1212. Mention "Pride and Joy Families" when you call and receive the Conference room rate of $92/night (now closed).

Binghamton-Area Attractions
Greater Binghamton Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Contact Us

To learn more about the 2016 Pride and Joy Families Weekend Conference and how to participate, please contact our office by email at or phone at +1 (607) 777-3717. Please also "like" our Conference Facebook page for program details and updates going forward.


Last Updated: 9/26/16