Stepping Stones is a network of families embracing their children’s gender non-conformity in a kind and loving manner. Stepping Stones provides a safe place for younger children (up to age 12) to play with others with similar experiences.
Like PFLAG NYC’s other family support programs, Stepping Stones provides a meeting place for parents to connect with other families to share information and experiences. Meeting monthly, Stepping Stones hosts two groups simultaneously: a parent’s discussion group which is sponsored by PFLAG NYC and a children’s playgroup which is sponsored by the member families.
Unlike PFLAG NYC’s other groups, Stepping Stones meetings are private in order to protect the privacy of the young children who take part. The group is welcoming to new families, but meetings are open only to families that have introduced themselves to the group leaders and gone through a short and simple intake process.
During a Stepping Stones meeting, children of diverse ages up to 12 meet in a single playgroup. It is designed to let kids have some fun and get exposure to other gender-variant kids without focusing on gender-variance. Discussions in the playgroup are not directed at such topics as gender, feelings, or bullying. Instead, kids are given a safe environment to develop regular friendships through common playtime activities, such as board games, painting, clay modeling, etc. The children’s playgroup is overseen by experienced leaders.
Resources on Gender Variance
The parents support group is designed to let parents share their experiences parenting gender non-conforming children. It takes place at the same time as the children’s playgroup in an adjacent room. The meeting sometimes hosts guest speakers — therapists, gender-variant adults, or camp counselors. On other occasions, member parents lead discussions on topics such as concerns about safety, frustrations about family members not “getting it”, or parents’ own second-guessing how they support their kids.
New parents who are still struggling to accept and support their child’s gender identity, but would like to talk and explore with another family, are warmly invited to contact the group leaders.
For group members, Stepping Stones maintains a closed Facebook group for ongoing discussion and support.
Attending Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones is a members-only group. Parents who have accepted and support their child’s gender expression are warmly welcomed, and Stepping Stones members are happy to assist parents who are exploring what that means. If you are interested in learning more and joining the group, we ask that you contact the group leaders. They will make time for an introductory conversation and invite you to take the next steps. To introduce yourself to the group, please fill out this short, confidential form.
Steppings Stones meets monthly on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In order to protect the privacy and safety of children participating, the meeting location is only shared with families that have introduced themselves to the group leaders. Only children and their immediate family members are allowed to attend.
Meeting Dates in 2016
From 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the 2nd Sunday of the month, except as noted:
* NOTE: During these months, Stepping Stones meets on a different date due to conflicts with holidays and other special events.
For Further Information
For further information on Stepping Stones and to introduce yourself so that you can attend, please complete this short introduction form and a Stepping Stones group leader will get in touch with you. All information submitted will be kept confidential.