Thanks to area volunteers and Yale Pediatric Gender Program (YPGP) healthcare providers, several families joined together in community for an afternoon of gender joy on the Yale campus on April 23, 2023. The “Gender Joy Community Day” was organized by Yale Divinity School student and clinical social work intern Jamal Davis Neal, Jr., in partnership with YPGP Director and Co-founder Christy Olezeski, who also serves as an associate professor of psychiatry.
Neal coordinated the event, including gathering local community members together to volunteer their time and talents to provide make-up, hairstyling, haircuts, and professional photos. As outlined in the invitation sent to YPGP families, it was “an informal day of gathering together, enjoying some laughter and joy, and beaming brilliantly with our collective pride!”
Volunteers included Samara Sorce for photography, Dro Lopez for makeup, and Krystal at Kleo Rose Style for hair-styling. Legal fellows Mallory James Sanchez and Aaron Kelley also joined the event through the YPGP’s medical-legal partnership with the Center for Children's Advocacy – and a full spread of food was provided, donated by local businesses Nica's Market, BAR, Zuppardi's Apizza, Sitar, One 6 Three, and Christopher Martin's.
“It was a wonderful afternoon, and so heart-warming to see these kids being able to be true to who they are, both experiencing and expressing gender joy,” commented one parent. “This was such a gift.”
The YPGP is an interdisciplinary team that provides services for transgender and gender diverse youth and their families. The program includes a comprehensive medical and mental health approach to help youth and families explore and receive expert care around issues of gender identity. The team-based approach to care includes professionals in the fields of psychology, endocrinology, psychiatry, obstetrics, gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, medical ethics, chaplaincy, and law.