Tony Ferraiolo has been named as director of a new program that supports LGBTQ kids and their families.
Health Care Advocates International (HCAI), a public health and advocacy organization serving the LGBTQ+ community, has launched a new program to support LGBTQ+ youth and their families. HCAI has named Tony Ferraiolo, a world-renowned life coach and trainer, as the program’s director. The HCAI Youth and Families Program’s mission is to provide a safe place for LGBTQ+ youth and their families to be supported and emphasizes that love, kindness and diversity can empower youth to walk their truth and authentically live the lives they truly deserve.
The program will be piloted in Connecticut for both school students and educators as well as counseling services to youth and their families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sexual minority youth, defined as those who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, are more likely to be bullied at school and to have contemplated suicide than their heterosexual peers; 33% vs. 16% and 48% vs. 13% respectively.
Bullying is one of the reasons why 51% of trans and non-binary youth attempt suicide. But I believe if we talk to young children about love, kindness and diversity, bullying will organically minimize. I am so grateful to HCAI for giving me this opportunity to reach children who are struggling. This program will bring families and communities together.Tony Ferraiolo
Ferraiolo will also be offering diversity and inclusion trainings for educators on how to provide a safe and respectful environment for all students and life coaching sessions for youth and their families.
As a certified life coach and trainer, Ferraiolo has 15 years of experience training more than 30,000 people, countrywide. He has dedicated himself to both promoting competent and respectful health care for the transgender community by educating providers and advocating on behalf of patients. Tony has also spent time training educators on providing a safe and respectful space for transgender children in a school environment.
“I feel extremely blessed to have crossed paths with Tony and be able to team up with him to do our part in making this world a better place today and in the future,” said Pattie McKnight, executive director.
Ferraiolo is a published author, has a teaching certification in Mindfulness, is the subject of the award-winning documentary A Self-Made Man and hosted the A&E miniseries Transitioning where he coached three transgender young adults through social transition. He is also the co-founder of the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to transgender people for gender-confirming surgeries.
For years Ferraiolo lived as a lesbian. One day a friend showed him a movie called Gendernauts, which features a trans man. “At that second I realized I was trans,” he told The Hartford Courant. “I was really a butch lesbian. I was always being mistaken for a guy. So nobody was shocked,” he said. “I transitioned on the job and was accepted. That was so unusual back then.” That was in 2005. Since 2008 he has dedicated himself to helping youths transition and helping families understand.
About Tony Ferraiolo
In 2008 Tony started several support groups to support transgender youth and their families, the groups meet concurrently, providing a complete support system for these families, drawing families from New York and throughout New England. Since 2008 these groups have served over 1000 families. In 2009 he recognized the need to provide chest binders to members of his community who needed them but had no ability to access them. Since 2009, Tony has given over 300 binders to transgender people all over the world. In 2017 Tony was a Contributing Author for Article in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry “Ten Things Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Youth Want Their Doctors to Know”. In 2020 he was a Contributing Author for the Springer Publication “Pediatric Gender Identity” Overview and Terminology Chapter. In 2019 he received his teaching certification in Mindfulness and incorporates mindfulness in all his trainings.
HCAI is a nonprofit medical practice based in Stratford, CT with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community. In addition to primary healthcare, HCAI offers the full spectrum of HIV/AIDs services, sexual health and mental health care, plus cosmetic services. HCAI was founded in 2016 by Dr. Gary Blick, one of the country’s top HIV specialists. Because of its mission to fight stigma and discrimination, end HIV as a global health crisis and address the problem of homelessness, especially among LGBTQ youth, HCAI has begun and is actively engaged with several advocacy and charitable efforts including HIV Advocates, Trans Advocates and Zimbabwe AIDS Project (ZAP). All of these initiatives work to fight stigma and discrimination and to guarantee compassionate and comprehensive healthcare to the LGBTQ+ community.