Empowering youth, families and communities with gender affirming services, training and research.

GFP group photo


In years before The Gender & Family Project (GFP) was established, the predominant approach to gender variance in children was to force kids to identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. Even as medical and mental health providers began to understand that affirming one’s gender expression leads to better outcomes—including decreased incidence of depression and suicide—the model of mental health care for trans and non-binary youth did not include families. GFP pioneered a model of gender-affirmative care that recognizes all family relationships as essential to protecting and nurturing trans and non-binary youth.

GFP was founded in 2010 by Jean Malpas, LMHC, LMFT, at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, a groundbreaking institution in the field of family therapy. With its innovative combination of clinical services, community training, and research initiatives, GFP has become a leading voice in the gender and family movement.

In its first decade, GFP grew from a volunteer group into an expanding team of full- and part-time employees. In 2013, GFP launched its annual Night of a Thousand Genders gala that created an important source of funding and enabled GFP to amplify the message of “Acceptance Is Protection” into a call to allies beyond the family. After expanding its support services to include groups for teens, extended family, and Spanish-speakers in 2014 and 2015, its education practice grew over the next year into formal training services to help schools, workplaces, and other institutions become spaces of acceptance and gender inclusion.

In 2016, GFP developed its research initiatives to better understand gender identity development and the impact of family support through surveys and longitudinal study. As mainstream media outlets and prominent journalists have begun to cover the complexity of gender diversity, GFP has established itself as an authority on the critical role of young trans youth and their families.

When the world was devastated by COVID-19 in 2020, GFP survived the (ongoing) impact of lockdown, political and cultural reckoning, and mounting scrutiny on transgender youth. Today, GFP is rising to meet the needs of families and youths experiencing the onslaught of transphobic legislation, rhetoric, and media in the United States by uplifting the importance of Allyship, Advocacy, and Affirmation.

GFP is a program of the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Founded in 1960 by Dr. Nathan W. Ackerman, the Ackerman Institute has been a leading provider of couple and family therapy services, training, and cutting-edge research initiatives dedicated to the development of new treatment models and training techniques.