Giving Transgender Youth and Their Families Much-Needed Support

By Giving List Women   |   May 20, 2024

When her son came out to her as transgender 11 years ago, Roz Gould Keith had never heard that term. Few resources existed for parents of transgender children then, particularly in Michigan, where she lived.

Pronouns are important.

“There was absolutely nothing for us,” Keith says. “He was 13 at the time. Resources were scarce and for minors they were pretty much nonexistent.”

After her son shared his story on social media, and the family told their story publicly, other parents confided in her about their struggles to find support for their children. So, in 2015, Keith launched Stand with Trans, which began with one support group for parents of transgender children and then added a trans teen group. Keith serves as executive director of the organization, which offers services, programming, and events including a lifeline library, therapy assistance, a banned books club, a youth advisory board, family social events and monthly support groups for trans youth, young adults, and parents/caregivers.

Stand with Trans has also hosted three virtual college fairs that allow families to discover what universities have to offer to trans students. “We’ve had parents say, ‘My child wouldn’t even consider talking about college until we came to the college fair,’” Keith says.

Stand with Trans differs from other LGBTQ+ organizations, Keith says, because it focuses specifically on trans youth and their loved ones. Stand with Trans is the only organization in Michigan whose mission is solely focused on transgender youth. When families are able to connect with others like them, the isolation and fear lessens. 

Keith shares that her son said, “I don’t know anyone like me,” before Stand with Trans started. “That’s just heartbreaking for a parent to hear.”

Building a Community of Allies

“We provide a lot of hope for young people by teaching adults what it means to be transgender,” Keith says. “By educating parents, teaching them how to be an ally, and supporting them through their journey, they can be more open and affirming with their children.”

By making education, information, and support the core of their program, Stand with Trans also builds a more knowledgeable, compassionate community, which is sorely needed now. A new Human Rights Campaign report, released at the end of 2023, describes “the epidemic of violence” against transgender and gender-nonconforming people. The majority of the victims killed last year were people of color, most of whom were Black transgender women. 

 Also, while there has been an “anti-trans wave” in politics, with many states recently introducing anti-trans legislation to ban gender-affirming care or trans girls from joining sports teams, Stand With Trans doesn’t engage in political advocacy, due to its 501(c)(3) status.

“We can’t tell you who to vote for, but we can talk about why anti-trans bills are dangerous and harmful and how it affects the mental well-being of the young people we serve in the community,” Keith says. “Having the resources to be able to do that advocacy is critical to making change.”


Stand with Trans

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Founder & Executive Director: Roz Gould Keith


Stand with Trans empowers and supports transgender youth and their loved ones.

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