Welcoming Frederick is a one-day seminar for professionals in the fields of education, medicine, mental health, social services, law enforcement, human resources, and allied professions to learn about, discuss, and create action plans to be more affirming to LGBTQ students, patients, clients, and colleagues.  Family members of LGBTQ children and relatives will also find Welcoming Frederick a safe space to gain important knowledge that can make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ family members.

Date & Location for 2017
Welcoming Frederick will be at Frederick Community College Conference Center on Saturday April 29, 2017.  Registration begins at 7:30am, the conference runs from 8:30am to 5:00pm.  The college is located at
7932 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick, Maryland, 21702, Building E on this campus map.
Online Tickets and Sponsorship here

Participants will:
  1. Review basic LGBTQ terminology and definitions.
  2. Identify strategies to support LGBTQ youth and adults in diverse environments.
  3. Learn about risk and protective factors for LGBTQ individuals.
  4. Leave with best practices and new ideas to build affirming schools, programs and communities.
  5. Professional and education credit information is forthcoming. 
Contact: welcomingfrederick@thefrederickcenter.org

 7:30 AMRegistration & Continental Breakfast
 8:30 AM

General Session Welcoming Remarks

        Kris Fair, The Frederick Center and Mark Procopio, FreeState Justice
 8:45 AM

LGBTQ Youth: The Data Speak

Reviewing the most current Youth Risk Behavior Statistics (YRBS) and allied data reveal the current state for LGBTQ youth and the challenges our community must face in addressing this.

Presenter: Jabari Lyles, GLSEN

The Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is an on-site survey of students in Maryland middle and high schools, focusing on tobacco-use prevalence and other health-related behaviors among Maryland youth. The survey started in 2000 and is conducted every two years. The most recent 2014 survey highlights ongoing health disparities affecting LGBTQ youth. We open with an expert reviewing key data, how data contrast for straight and LGBTQ youth, and discussing the institutions that need to be involved in improving these LGBTQ health disparities, including high-level actions required by these institutions.

Parallel Workshops

LGBTQ 101: Definitions, Vocabulary, Pronouns, and Navigating Life as an LGBTQ Person

     Presenter: Peter Brehm, The Frederick Center

Geared for straight and / or cisgender allies who want to be intentional and respectful in their interactions with LGBTQ people but who may not have any or much exposure to the LGBTQ community, in this session we cover LGBTQ vocabulary and pronouns, including distinctions between sexuality and gender identity, and then review community statistics pertaining to the LGBTQ community. Building on these data plus YRBS data, we will then discuss stressors associated with navigating life as an LGBTQ person, including what culturally / institutionally is different / remains unchanged from 10 or 20 years ago. The session is geared to provide an affirming safe space for attendee questions and interaction.

LGBTQ 201: On Becoming an Affirming Ally

        Presenter: Jabari Lyles, GLSEN

For people who have a good grounding on the topics covered in LGBTQ 101, in this segment we reflect on the difference between acceptance and affirmation, including understanding, owning, and addressing personal discomfort with LGBTQ people as a way of becoming more affirming. We then discuss privilege and the use of privilege as an ally. The session is geared to provide an affirming safe space for attendee questions and interaction. 

 1200 PM
Lunch and Panel Presentation
 12:40 PM

Teen Perspectives 2017 (18 and younger)

        Moderator: Kate MacShane

We conclude lunch with a Teen Panel. LGBTQ+ teens will share about their individual experiences in school, home, and social communities. Panelists will then respond to audience questions.

 1:30 PM

Parallel Workshops

Legal Rights and Protections for LGBTQ People and Their Families (including name and gender change, prisons and police, family law, and more)

        Presenter: Laura DePalma, FreeState Justice

Geared for laypeople, we review a comprehensive outline of protections that LGBTQ Marylanders have, including an understanding of which, if any, of these can be changed by the State or Maryland and/or the Federal government due to the recent election. Session leaders also provide guidance on legal resources that workshop attendees can contact if any of the protections are not provided / are ignored.

On Creating Affirming Medical Spaces

        Presenter: Deborah Dunn, PA-C, MBA, Chase Brexton

Health disparities between straight and LGBTQ people begin in childhood and continue into adult life. Addressing these requires affirming mental and medical providers. In this segment we briefly review briefly LGBTQ medical statistics describing community health as well as data on the LGBTQ relationship with the medical community. Next, we outline specific, tangible, and actionable steps that medical providers should take to make medical practices more affirming.

On Creating Affirming Counseling Spaces

Presenter: Kate MacShane

Geared toward school counselors, mental health professionals, and faith leaders, this session will be facilitated by local gender expert and clinical social worker Kate MacShane. After reviewing mental health risks and common barriers to help-seeking, this interactive session will provide participants with specific, actionable ways to make counseling spaces more welcoming of LGBQ and gender-diverse youth. Participants are encouraged to raise questions specific to individual school, organization, or practice settings; ample time will be made for feedback and discussion in a supportive environment.

Affirming LGBTQ Kids Attending Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS)

Presenters: Laura DePalma, Mark Procopio, and Jennifer Kent, FreeState Justice

The Frederick Center Youth Group members report serious impediments to feeling safe and affirmed in the FCPS. After referencing YRBS data, we overview current explicit and implicit FCPS policies plus curricula, events, responses, and leadership as it pertains to providing an affirming school environment for LGBTQ youth. We then discuss Maryland and Federal laws and best practices as it pertains to addressing LGBTQ student needs/issues before exploring gaps between the current state and future state and reflecting on action plans to address these gaps. 

 3:00 PM
 Refreshment Break
 3:30 PM

Young Adult Perspectives 2017 (19 to 24)

        Moderator: Em Perper

The transition to being a healthy LGBTQ adult can also be a difficult time. In this segment we’ll hear LGBTQ+ young adult perspectives directly to help our understanding of common and shared issues they have. This panel will also conclude with a Q+A period.
 4:15 PM

General Session Close: Lessons Learned, Actions Plans,

Topics We Need to Learn More About

Facilitators: Kris Fair, The Frederick Center, and Mark Procopio, FreeState Justice
 5:00 PMAdjourn

Welcoming Frederick Biographies

Peter Brehm

Peter Brehm serves as Treasurer for the Frederick Center, Inc., a non-profit that is the resource for the LGBTQ community in central Maryland. He is active with that Center’s Youth Group as well as its Frederick HIV/AIDs Coalition and OutReach programs and has presented close to 20 LGBTQ 101 presentations to a range of religious, civic, business, medical, and governmental groups. He represents The Frederick Center on the Frederick County Child Fatality Review Task Force, School Health Council, Advanced Planning Committee, and Local Health Improvement Action Plans (LHIP) Committee.

Laura DePalma

Laura DePalma is a Staff Attorney at FreeState Justice, a statewide direct legal services and policy advocacy organization serving low- income LGBTQ Marylanders. Laura represents clients in a wide-range of civil legal matters, including name change and gender identity petitions, family law cases, anti-discrimination matters, and actions regarding access to transition-related health care. Additionally, Laura manages FreeState Justice’s Pro Bono Panel, recruiting, training, and mentoring attorneys on how to effectively represent members of the LGBTQ community. Laura also heads up FreeState’s police reform efforts as Co-Chair of the Baltimore Police Commissioner’s LGBT Advisory Council, and advocates for law enforcement accountability at the highest levels of the Baltimore Police Department.

Deborah Dunn, PAC, MBA

Position: Trans Health Coordinator: LGBT Resource Center for Chase Brexton Health Service:  provide leadership and coordination of care of transgendered – identified patients.  Establish best practices for medical trans care, and to train other medical providers.  Provide consultation to external organizations regarding trans- related education, including employee transition. Provide state advocacy as needed.  Identify research and funding opportunities related to trans care.
Specialty: Family Practice, Gender Medicine
Services: General Family Medicine, LGBT  Wellness, Children and Adolescent Health Care, Transgender Specialist (Adult and Children)
Location: Chase Brexton Health Services : Columbia, Maryland
Education: MBA - Johns Hopkins University, 2003; Physician Assistant - Howard University, Washington, D.C., 1983; BS Microbiology - University of Maryland, 1979

  • Areas of Interest: Transgender, LGBT Medicine: Recently on an expert team of Transgender medical professionals from all over the Nation that re-wrote guidelines for how to treat transgender (adults and adolescents) and prescribe medications (hormones) to those that are transitioning.  Guidelines that address other relevant trans- medical issues were also discussed.  These guidelines will be published.

  • On the team that wrote program Gender: Joy (Journey of Youth), a multi-disciplinary program written for trans/gender diverse youth, adolescents and families.  Was launched on March 8, 2016.

  • Family Practice Physician Assistant at Chase Brexton Health Services.  Provide medical services for the LGBT community.  Treat transgender adults and children.

  • Speaker/Trainer/ Educator at many national conference in the following topics: LGBT diversity trainer; Transgender 101; Health Issues and how they impact the LGBT community; Health issues that impact the Black Lesbian community; Educator- train/teach medical and mental health care providers: Transgender medicine.

  • Fundraiser/ Strategic Planning: Services for non-profit organizations.

  • Volunteer for: Support Groups in the LGBT Community for adults and children.

Kris Fair

A lifelong Frederick County resident, graduating from Linganore High School in 2002, Frederick Community College in 2008 and Hood College in 2012. He has worked on civil rights and community involvement challenges for the last seventeen years. Kris has assisted organizations including The Frederick Arts Council, The Frederick Center, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, The Greater Frederick Advertising Federation, Frederick County Democratic Party and Weinberg Center for the Arts. Kris was recently awarded the Community Foundation’s Wertheimer award for excellence in volunteerism and was named the 2015 volunteer of the year by the Frederick County Democratic Party. Additionally, Kris recently completed a three year tenure as director of The Frederick Festival of the Arts‎ and Frederick Pride.

Jennifer Kent

Jennifer L.  Kent is the Managing Attorney of FreeState Justice. As Managing Attorney, Jennifer supervises and conducts FreeState’s in-house litigation program, bringing cases to vindicate LGBT Marylanders’ hard-won civil rights and engaging in strategic advocacy to expand access to justice for the LGBT community. 

Jennifer brings a wide array of experience to FreeState Justice, including serving as one of its volunteer attorneys.  Prior to joining FreeState, Jennifer spent seven years in private practice representing victims of terrorism and civil rights abuses.  Since 2013 she has taught Maryland Civil Procedure at the University of Baltimore School of Law. After graduating Florida State University magna cum laude, she worked on human rights issues in Albania and England for the FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights.   Jennifer graduated cum laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law where she was a board member of the Florida Law Review.  Jennifer is admitted to practice in all Maryland state courts, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Jabari Lyles

Jabari Lyles has over 10 years of experience working in various positions that emphasize his passion for education, community organizing and social justice activism. He currently directs the Baltimore chapter of GLSEN, and coordinates the chapter's programming in schools all across the State of Maryland. He is the former Executive Director and current President of GLCCB, Baltimore's LGBTQ community center, has worked with FreeState Justice as an Outreach Specialist and Program Coordinator, and has years of experience as a public school teacher and speaker in Baltimore City. Jabari has presented on LGBTQ issues at conferences locally, statewide and nationally. He is involved with a number of workgroups and coalitions in Maryland working towards positive outcomes for youth most at-risk. Jabari is a Maryland native and currently lives in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood of Baltimore City.

Kate MacShane

Kate MacShane, M.Ed, MSW, LGSW, is an experienced clinical social worker and former public school special educator. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Smith College, Kate received her master in education at American University in Washington, D.C., then returned to Smith College for her master in social work. Kate is now in private practice in Frederick, MD, where she provides affirmative psychotherapy to gender-diverse children, teens, adults, and their families. She is also the facilitator of the Frederick Center’s TransFamily support group for caregivers of gender-diverse youth. Kate is a member of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health. Personally and professionally, Kate is committed to intersectional social justice for collective liberation. She is a co-founder of the Frederick chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ Frederick).

Em Perper

Em Perper has been on the board of The Frederick Center since March 2016 and is now head of The Frederick Center's Outreach Committee, organizing LGBTQ 101 presentations, tabling at community events, and much more. Em also serves on TFC's Youth Services Committee.

In 2012, Em graduated from Grove City College, ranked by Princeton Review as one of the most "LGBT-unfriendly" colleges in the United States. After graduation, Em facilitated interfaith dialogue at Chautauqua Institution as a leader of the Abrahamic Program for Young Adults (APYA), then moved to Baltimore to live in intentional community with ten other Millennials and work for Episcopal Service Corps (ESC). Em relocated to the Frederick area in 2013, honing their organization and communication skills as a contractor for the National Institutes of Health. 

Today, in addition to their work for The Frederick Center, Em is a freelance writer and editor, a company member with Maryland Ensemble Theatre, and a bookseller at Curious Iguana, downtown Frederick's independent bookstore. They are a contributing editor at Longreads, writing often about gender, sexuality, religion and identity. They live in downtown Frederick with their partner.

Mark Procopio

Coming out as gay as a teenager in Central New York and as an educator in Baltimore City, Mark Procopio experienced and witnessed the impact of systemic inequality and structural bias.  His experience as a middle school teacher in Baltimore City stoked his passion and commitment to working with communities to achieve equality, access, and opportunity for all people regardless of race, gender identity, or sexual orientation.    His career has focused on building partnerships, marshaling resources, and improving sustainability with social justice oriented education non-profits. 

    Prior to joining FreeState Justice, Procopio held several roles with KIPP Baltimore which serves 1,500 students in the Greater Park Heights neighborhood of Baltimore City. KIPP is a national network of college preparatory, public charter schools. Most recently, he served as Interim Director of Operations. Previously, he led the fundraising, community organizing, advocacy, marketing, and communications work for the organization. Before his time at KIPP, Procopio managed organizational fundraising and partnerships for the Teach For America - Baltimore region.

    Procopio holds a degree in International Economics and International Finance from The Catholic University of America and is an alumnus of Teach For America, an AmeriCorps program. He and his fiancé, Chris, live in Fells Point.



Join us for an invaluable learning opportunity! Participants can register here:
Registration includes a continental breakfast, lunch and snacks. Continuing education credits are expected to be available again this year for social workers, medical professionals and educators.


IRS 501(c)(3) Status (46-1705400 effective Apr 5, 2013)


Welcoming Frederick is made possible by a collaboration between The Frederick Center and FreeState Justice.  Additional support from:

Brian Walker,
Mar 16, 2017, 8:54 AM
Brian Walker,
Apr 5, 2017, 11:41 AM