WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation ( HRC ) announced that it will honor Dallas pediatrician Dr. Ximena Lopez, who founded the only clinic in the Southwest specializing in transgender youth, at the organization's fifth annual Time to THRIVE Conference on February 16-18 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando. She will receive HRC's Upstander Award.
"Dr. Ximena Lopez's groundbreaking health care work continues to literally save the lives of countless transgender and gender expansive youth in a state where anti-equality politicians routinely target transgender people for discrimination," said Vincent Pompei, Director of HRC's Youth Well-Being Project and Time to THRIVE Conference chair. "When transgender and gender expansive youth get the medical care they need and deserve, they are able to thrive in schools and in all areas of their lives. We are proud to be honoring Dr. Lopez for her lifesaving work, and are thrilled she's joining us at Time to THRIVE."
Dr. Lopez founded the GENder Education and Care, Interdisciplinary Support ( GENECIS ) program at Children's Health in Dallas in 2015. She also contributed to HRC's resource "Supporting & Caring for Transgender Children," and shared her expertise at the 2016 Time to THRIVE Conference. In a powerful interview with Cosmopolitan, Dr. Lopez said this about her work with transgender young people: "I feel great satisfaction when I meet with these families, how thankful they are for all we're doing...The parents feel like you're saving their children, and these patients feel like you're saving them. You're helping them start a new life, and after I met with these families, I feel like I'm walking in the clouds. It makes it all worth it."
A groundbreaking new survey of LGBTQ youth from HRC and the University of Connecticut found that transgender youth face significant and enduring challenges in healthcare settings, at school and at home. More detailed results from the study will be released later this month — affirming that the work of professionals like Dr. Lopez could not be more crucial.
HRC previously announced that it will also honor advocates Betty DeGeneres and Gavin Grimm with Upstander Awards during the Time to THRIVE Conference. HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride, along with HRC's Parents for Transgender Equality Council, Youth Ambassadors and Welcoming Schools Program will also be featured at the conference.
The event brings together a wide range of youth-serving professionals to discuss best practices for working with and caring for LGBTQ youth and their families in schools, community centers, health care settings and beyond. It is co-presented by the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association. Toyota, BBVA Compass and AT&T are presenting sponsors of the event.
To register, visit www.TimeToThrive.org .
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is education arm of America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.