Gender Odyssey, an international conference focused on the needs and interests of transgender and gender-nonconforming (GNC) people, will be held in Seattle, Washington from August 19-23, 2015. The conference is attended by a diverse set of participants, from practitioners to activists to families to trans and GNC individuals of all ages. packed with thought-provoking workshops, discussion groups, social events and entertainment, this one-of-a-kind annual gathering attracts people from all over the world for an weekend of skills building, sharing of best practices and community connection.
The opening days of the conference, on Wednesday and Thursday, August 19-20, is for professionals in various fields who focus on working with adult trans individuals. Thursday will be geared toward those who work with youth. From Thursday, August 20-Saturday, August 23, there is general registration.
“We are thrilled at the breadth and diversity of the program, presenters and participants,” said Aidan Key, the director of Gender Diversity, an organization that provides education to teachers, staff, counselors, and administrators regarding gender-inclusive schools grades K-12 and the founder and director of the Gender Odyssey and Gender Odyssey Family conferences. “We have see a virtual explosion in visibility of transgender people and issues, from Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out to Jazz’s new reality show as an out trans teenager.”
Key continued, “This conference offers anyone who is part of trans/GNC communities, allies and professional the opportunity to learn, network and create community as we quickly move forward in a culture that is beginning to better understand our lives and is hearing our stories more and more.”
Workshops vary in content from the personal (building community, raising a child who is transgender or GNC, dealing with medical, school and other challenges) to those more focused on advocacy related to transgender rights, from identification to cultural competency in health care). For professionals, there are two full day of educational, peer-to-peer discussion related to health and medical care of transgender and GNC individuals, with many workshops focusing on the growing number of trans children and teens.
Click here for a full schedule of events.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers for 2015
Kate Bornstein, internationally known author, performance artist, playwright, and public speaker who has written several award-winning books in the field of Women and Gender Studies, including Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us, and My Gender Workbook. Her 2006 book, Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws, has become an underground bestseller, propelling Kate into an international position of advocacy for marginalized youth.
Andrea Jenkins, an award-winning poet and writer. Most recently she was awarded a Bush fellowship and a fellowship in the Cultural Community Leadership Institute at Intermedia Arts, sponsored by the Bush Foundation, and named a fellow in the Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights Center. Last year, she won the Verve Grant for Spoken Artist at Intermedia Arts and the Naked Stages Grant for Emerging Performance Artist at Pillsbury House Theatre. Andrea has earned degrees in community economic development, human services/interpersonal communications, and creative writing.
Also speaking at the conference is parent and advocate Debi Jackson, whose is powerful video entitled “That’s Good Enough” went viral and has inspired scores of trans activists and parents of transgender children, The video can be seen here:
Other presenters include Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Rights; Johanna Olson, MD, is the medical director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Susan P. Landon, MA, LMFT, a member of the Los Angeles Gender Center with 25 years of experience counseling children and their families; Aydin Kennedy, MSW, ACSW; the coordinator of the Transgender Health Program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, a medical and mental health program serving transgender individuals; Daniel Metzger, MD, is a pediatric endocrinologist at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada; Dr. Michele Angello, who offers individual, couples, group, and family therapy, as well as corporate education and training on a variety of issues concerning sexuality and an adjunct professor at Widener University and has developed the first graduate course in the U.S. that focuses on clinical issues in transgender communities; M. Dru Levasseur, the Transgender Rights Project Director for Lambda Legal; Nico Quintana is the policy director at Basic Rights Oregon and many others.