Registration Now Open for Penny Lane Centers’ 2016 EDGY Conference

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Nov. 18 symposium in Los Angeles addresses unique needs of LGBTQ youth, families

Registration is now open for Penny Lane Centers’ 8th Annual EDGY Conference.

Designed to provide tools for professionals, parents and advocates to support and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, the symposium will bring together a variety of experts to share their knowledge and expertise in addressing the unique challenges and needs faced by LGBTQ youth and their families.

The “Evolution - Change Starts with YOU!” conference is scheduled for Friday, November 18, 2016, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Conference information, workshop schedule, and registration options can be accessed by visiting

LGBTQ diversity continues to demand attention in the child welfare system and beyond. Although 2015 was a historic year for the rights of LGBTQ people, there still exists a layer of uneasiness and discomfort. While the public is increasingly embracing LGBTQ civil rights and equal protection under the law, many remain uncomfortable with having LGBTQ people in their families and communities. Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBTQ people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from all people.

“Views on these issues fall across a broad spectrum. Advancing and expanding acceptance of LGBTQ people will require the help of allies – non-LGBTQ people who feel strongly that their LGBTQ friends and family must be fully accepted members of society,” stated Ivelise Markovits, Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “We all need to be better educated, empowered and advocate for the LGBTQ community so as to bridge the gap to full acceptance. Judicial decisions and legal protections for LGBTQ people foster progress; but ultimately, changes of heart are equally as meaningful and long lasting.”

Research suggests that LGBTQ individuals face physical and mental health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBTQ persons has been associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. Experiences of violence and victimization are frequent for LGBTQ individuals and have long-lasting effects on the individual and the community. Personal, family, and social acceptance of sexual orientation and gender identity affects the mental health and personal safety of LGBTQ individuals.

The EDGY Conference looks to empower its attendees to help reverse some of the negative statistics, develop a better understanding throughout all communities, and ultimately create change in our societies.

A professionals' symposium, the 2016 EDGY Conference offers a range of programming, activities and accessible resources designed to build one’s capacity to work with LGBTQ youth and families, increase understanding of LGBTQ issues, and present ways to make a difference. As in previous years, continuing education credits will be offered for mental health, group home and social work professionals attending the workshop.

About Penny Lane Centers

Penny Lane Centers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1969 to serve abused teenage girls. Since that time, Penny Lane's programs and services have expanded to serve thousands of children, youth and families annually. Services include: Mentoring, Foster Care and Adoption, Transitional and Permanent Housing, Family Preservation, Wraparound, Residential Treatment Facilities, Therapeutic Behavioral Services and Mental Health Services. Penny Lane is proud to have received the "All Children, All Families" Seal from the Human Rights Campaign. For more information about Penny Lane Centers, please visit

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Denis Wolcott

Cameron Glasgow
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