One important aspect of our conference programming is the inclusion of topic-based discussions generated by Gender Odyssey Family attendee feedback and input. We’ve designed these discussions so that anyone – regardless of their identity, history, or community – can bring their personal perspective into the mix.
Gender Odyssey Family discussions have a strong focus on making room for each person’s viewpoint and giving all of us the opportunity to learn from one another. They are designed to encourage us to share our perspectives and experience regarding the complexities of navigating and supporting our children’s gender exploration.
If you have strong facilitation skills and are drawn to one or two of the sessions listed below, we encourage you to fill out the online form at the bottom of this page. We will then be in touch for a telephone interview.
Note: These sessions are designed to be facilitated discussions with optimal involvement by the greatest number of participants. We are not asking you to develop a presentation—only to facilitate a dynamic conversation!
Available Sessions – GO Family 2017
If you have questions about a specific topic or any other programming-related matter, please email us at email@example.com.
Most of us have role models for fatherhood, but few of us have learned how to be a father to a gender-nonconforming child. Fatherhood in our society comes with strong expectations, some of which can make it difficult for us to feel secure in our role. Come share your personal experiences, successes, fears, and other lessons in a confidential environment of acceptance, understanding, and support. You are not alone on this journey: let’s offer one another support and assistance. There are three parts to this workshop. You need not attend all sessions to be welcome at any single one.
Did you ever imagine you would be in the news or on television exposing your parenting to the world? Did you think the day would come when you’d be having the ACLU or NCLR represent you and your child in the legal arena? As parents of trans and gender-nonconforming children, we quickly learn to advocate for them in the many contexts of their lives: school, family, the neighborhood, sports. And sometimes, once we’re on that path, we are so focused on fighting for our child that when we come up for air, we see that we’ve left our comfort zone miles behind, and what we started for our individual child could impact all trans kids. What is your story? How have you changed as you’ve parented your trans child? How do you choose your battles? How do you balance privacy and advocacy? What have the challenges been? Whether you’re just beginning your advocacy journey with your stomach in knots, a seasoned trans rights activist, or anywhere in between, join us in sharing the challenges and triumphs of the role you never foresaw!
Is this your first time at Gender Odyssey? Perhaps you are a seasoned veteran wanting to meet new people? Are you looking for others who share a particular interest? It can be challenging to find ways to connect with folks from across the country and beyond as you are hustling from one workshop to the next. If one of your goals for the weekend is to make some solid connections, this is your chance to get started. Get a jump on meeting folks in this session designed for just that purpose, and find buddies to hang with for the weekend, or perhaps even a lifetime.
For many of us, just keeping up with our trans or gender diverse child’s gender process and taking the necessary steps to make their world as safe and accepting as possible is all we can do. But how can we prepare ourselves for the journey? What resources exist for us? How do we know when we’re reaching our limits? What happens when we do? What are the challenges for us as parents? How do we stay afloat? It can be hard work loving and raising the kids in our lives. Tuning in to and honoring our own process is essential. Let’s start the conversation and share our stories.
Of course, not all gender diverse children are transgender. Some children may feel like a boy one day and a girl the next. Some feel themselves to be a blend of genders, while others don’t feel that they fit into the established gender system at all. How can you help your gender fluid child thrive in a world based on a binary gender system? With all the pressure to conform, how can you support your child in being their authentic self? How can you nurture your child’s self-esteem, especially as others pressure your child to conform? What do you do when your child is struggling or suffering deeply? We’ll look at Pquestions such as: Why is it essential to make space for children who are fluid in their presentation, personal preferences, or identity? How can we ourselves become comfortable with our child’s gender expression? How do we help them find language that reflects who they are? Come share your own questions and experience in this supportive workshop.
One thing seems universal for families who have transgender or gender-nonconforming children and that is that we have, or have had, some level of fear and apprehension for the experience(s) our children. Of course we have concerns for our children as we offer support and raise them in a world that may not be ready for them. We invite you to come and share your thoughts and experiences—and hear the stories of others— in a safe, understanding environment. Our goal is to offer support to each other and step out of our isolation. First time and return attendees welcome—let’s do it together!
This is a group discussion to give voice to the grief and fear that parents experience when their child transitions. This is a safe, nonjudgmental time to share, explore, and find fellowship with other parents who are experiencing or have experienced the complex emotions of grief as they navigate this journey. Come share your stories and experiences in this roundtable discussion led by someone who has been there.
Note: To provide an optimal environment, we ask that only parents/guardians attend this session.
After three days of information gathering, social networking, and psychological processing, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and emotionally overloaded, especially as you’re also preparing to return to your day-to-day life, with its accompanying concerns and stresses. Luckily, you’re not alone! This debrief session will provide a space in which to confer with other parents and sort out what you’ve learned and what you’d like to take home with you, which might include a new friend’s e-mail address! Share your thoughts about your conference experience and any hopes or fears you may have about stepping back into “the real world.” Especially recommended for those new to the conference and/or the trans-parenting journey.
Has spirituality been an intrinsic part of your life and/or that of your family? What has been the response of your faith community to your transgender or gender diverse child? Have they been accepting, hands off, or outright rejecting? “God doesn’t make mistakes,” some will say. Do you yourself wonder what God is up to with this life lesson and, frankly, just what is the lesson anyway? For many people, the foundation of their faith can find its way to shaky ground, as a faith in God can appear to be in conflict with loving, supporting, and accepting one of God’s creations—a trans child. Join our conversation where all attendees can speak freely about conflicts or confusion they may have while also sharing positive stories of celebration, acceptance, and recognition of all God’s creations. Note: This session is for people from any faith or denomination. All are welcome.
Parents are often required to field many questions from every place imaginable regarding their trans child. What about the kids? How do we prepare them for questions that may come their way? Didn’t you have a girl’s name before? What bathroom do you use? You’re not really a girl! Even adults have been known to ask young children if they are going to have “the surgery” when they grow up! An easy, practical way to address questions and comments is to implement role-playing with your child. This interactive session is designed to share the successful and not-so-successful family stories of what was/could have been said and, together, create for our children a repertoire of responses for a variety of expected and unexpected scenarios. The goal of this workshop is to demonstrate to parents how they can provide their trans and gender-nonconforming children with a toolkit of responses from which to draw and, as a result, strengthen the overall resiliency of their child as they navigate life.
Supporting my child’s gender was front and center for me, and the learning curve steep. As I sought to better understand my kid, I discovered that not only was I supporting their authenticity but, surprisingly, was also discovering a lot about my own. In this session, we will discuss the many ways our children’s journeys have impacted our own. What did we previously know about our own gender, the ways we express it? How old were we when we knew our gender identity? Our sexual orientation? We may never have considered ourselves as activists or educators but now find ourselves with sleeves rolled and ready to take on the world. How has this shift impacted our current view of ourselves? Many parents describe their transgender child as their newfound courageous hero. Join us to explore/share the ways your child’s journey has changed your life. Participation encouraged but not required—newbies and veterans alike may attend.