The expertise available within the Gender Odyssey Family conference is among the best in the country. Our experts range from some of the leading pediatricians, attorneys, and advocates in the country to parents of gender-nonconforming or transgender children who are blazing new paths for their own children and, ultimately, many others.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers for 2016
We are extremely excited to announce our conference keynote speakers for Gender Odyssey 2016: Geena Rocero and Maddie Deutsch!
Geena Rocero, born and raised in Manila, Philippines, is a model, producer, trans rights advocate and host of the new USA Network TV Show ASPIREist. On March 31, 2014, in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, Rocero came out as transgender at the annual TED Conference—her talk has since been viewed almost 3 million times. Geena is the founder of Gender Proud, an advocacy and media production company that tells stories to elevate justice and equality for the transgender community. She recently produced and presented Beautiful As I Want to Be, a digital-exclusive series on LogoTV highlighting trans youth, which received a 2016 GLAAD Media Award.
Geena has spoken at the White House and the United Nations, and been featured in many noteworthy campaigns and media publications such as on E’s I Am Cait, the CoverGirl #GirlsCan Campaign, CNN, The Today Show, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, The Advocate, MTV, and others.
Madeline “Maddie” Deutsch, MD, MPH, is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at UCSF. She is the Director of Clinical Services at the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, with her clinic based at UCSF Women’s Health Primary Care, in partnership with the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. Dr. Deutsch has been involved in a number of research and capacity building projects focused on transgender health, in areas such as HIV care engagement and pre-exposure prophylaxis, cervical cancer screening in transgender men, effects of hormone therapy, and collection of SOGI data and use of electronic medical records.
Workshop Presenters for 2015
Pablo Alvarez-Tostado is a natural resource specialist with a focus on water. He enjoys being involved with community through environmental and diversity issues. Interacting with people from different backgrounds and diverse circumstances, he continues to be amazed by the wonderful people he meets in this life.
Dr. Michele Angello offers individual, couples, group, and family therapy, as well as corporate education and training on a variety of issues concerning sexuality. She has presented internationally on her work with transgender, gender-variant, and gender-nonconforming youth. She facilitates several monthly support groups for transgender adults, youth, and parents, and offers sessions to people around the world via webcam. Dr. Angello has appeared as a guest expert on Dr. Phil, Larry King Live, The Tyra Banks Show, ABC Primetime, Dr. Oz, and many more shows and documentaries. She is also 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. Her private practice is in Pennsylvania.
Sam Berliner, associate producer, is a Bay Area-based filmmaker and animator best known for his engaging and accessible films about gender nonconformity. His award-winning short films, Dating Sucks: A Genderqueer Misadventure, Genderbusters, and Perception have screened at over 100 film festivals around the world and are distributed by CFMDC and Frameline Voices. When not actively making films, Sam is the festival director of Translations: the Seattle Transgender Film Festival. Sam holds a BA in Film & Theatre from Smith College and an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University.
Lukas Berredo is a social communicator, soon to have an MA in International Relations. In Chile, he founded the Support Group for Transmen and was a member of the Center of Sexuality Studies. Since 2007, Lukas has been an advocate and educator for gender diversity.
Brenda Bowers has been a long time contributor to the Gender Odyssey conferences, the GO Kids Camp, and the Gender Diversity family support groups. She lives in Alaska and is employed by the Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services. She has two children, Bronze and Olivia. She is also the identical twin sister of Aidan Key, the executive director of Gender Diversity.
Rex Butt, the father of a trans woman, is an associate professor of communication at Bronx Community College and has been researching transgender issues for over a decade. He serves on PFLAG’s National Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming (TGNC) Advisory Council, has mentored scores of families, and has offered support and information sessions for families with gender-nonconforming loved ones since 2007. His book Now What? A Handbook for Families with Trans and Gender-Nonconforming Children (Transgress Press 2015) is available at the conference.
Paulina Cuevas is a school counselor, with an MA in Educational Psychology. Since 2002 has been working in international schools in Chile and China, educating, advocating, and supporting trans and gender-creative children, youth, their families, schools, and the community.
John Davis is first and foremost a dad. He attended his first GO Family conference in 2008. He felt scared and alone and was full of questions as he faced the realization that he was the parent of a gender-nonconforming child. John has attended every conference since, finding support and understanding from the growing number of attending fathers who are confronted with the same challenge. John has learned that this journey does not have to be taken alone. As a father, John has first-hand experience and insight as he continues on this unique path. John is a professional pilot living in Seattle.
Dr. Laura Edwards-Leeper is an assistant professor in the School of Professional Psychology at Pacific University. Previously, she worked at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She was the founding psychologist for the Gender Management Service (GeMS) at Boston Children’s Hospital where she completed comprehensive psychological evaluations with transgender adolescents to help determine whether a medical intervention was in their best interest. Trained by the renowned Dr. Peggy Cohen-Kettenis in the Dutch clinic, she continues her involvement with GeMS research endeavors, has coauthored book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles, and has been interviewed by various media outlets. Dr. Edwards-Leeper is a member of the American Psychological Association Task Force developing practice guidelines for working with transgender individuals and has been identified as a national expert in this area.
Aidan Fortunati is a special education teacher and father. He has experience navigating both sides of the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) process, as an educator and as a parent. During the school year he spends his time working in his developmental preschool classroom, and enjoys his summers off to rock climb and swim with his daughters.
April Fortunati recently completed her MPA at UW, and currently works for a nonprofit that aims to improve public education in the Puget Sound region. She is mama of two daughters, ages 4 and 8, who keep her busy with Legos and tea parties.
Jane Goto utilizes skills honed over 20 years as a corporate trainer and adult educator, and also draws on her personal experience of “growing up intersexed” in her popular guest presentations at local campuses. In her role as first responder for the Intersex Society of North America and an international diagnoses-specific support group, Jane has assisted adults, teens, and families dealing with the secrecy, lies, trauma, and shame traditionally associated with an intersex diagnosis.
Shaleece Haas, director/producer, is a queer documentary filmmaker based in Oakland, CA. She has been on the production team of several films for public television, including The Genius of Marian, Extreme by Design, and The Art of Doing It Yourself. In addition to her work as a director/producer, Shaleece teaches video storytelling workshops for kdmcBerkeley and the NY Press Association, and freelances as a documentary camerawoman. Prior to starting her career in documentary film, Shaleece worked as an editorial photographer and was a founding staff member of the national oral history project, Story Corps. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Kevin Hatfield, MD, is a family doctor at the Polyclinic’s downtown Seattle satellite. He joined the Polyclinic in 2002 and has taken care of trans* patients since 1999. He sees a large number of gender-questioning/variant children and adolescents. Dr. Hatfield is an advocate for individualized patient care and helping patients make informed decisions regarding their health and well-being.
Lena Holz has been a nanny in Seattle for 10 years and has a 21-year-old son. She loves kids, animals, the outdoors, playing, and being spontaneous. This is Lena’s second year volunteering for the conference.
Evan Hunter-Wright is a senior staff member and assistant director of Not Back to School Camp: a summer camp for teenagers who are unschooled, homeschooled, or self-educated. He has been involved in the unschooling movement for over 16 years, supporting teenagers in leaving school, building an education, and pursuing a happy life. He lives in South Seattle with his partner, Adam.
Charmaine Hulme lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and is a qualified counseling psychologist. She has a private practice and volunteers at Lifeline in addition to running a support group for parents of transgender children. She is a psychology lecturer at the South African College for Applied Psychology (private university). She also happens to be the mother of a transgender son.
Catherine Hyde has volunteered with PFLAG (a national nonprofit organization comprised of parents, families, friends, and allies working with the LGBT community to move equality forward) since 2008. She serves on PFLAG’s National Board and Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Advisory Panel, and as Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. Catherine is parent to a 21-year-old trans child.
Aidan Key is the founder and director of Gender Diversity, an organization that provides education to teachers, staff, counselors, and administrators regarding gender-inclusive schools, grades K-12. Additionally, he provides support for families of transgender and gender-nonconforming children and teens through his Gender Diversity parent support groups located primarily in the Pacific Northwest and soon to be implemented nationwide as online video support groups. Key speaks regularly to universities and organizations seeking to expand their knowledge of issues related to gender identity in children and adults. He is also the founder and director of the Gender Odyssey and Gender Odyssey Family conferences.
Daniel Metzger, MD, is a pediatric endocrinologist at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. He and his mental-health and adult transgender colleagues work together as part of the BC Transgender Clinical Care Group, a provincial resource which oversees the medical, mental health, and surgical care of transgender people in B.C. Dr. Metzger and his nursing and social work colleagues have been seeing and treating transgender youth and young adults at BCCH since 1998 and have recently published a review of the first 91 patients who accessed care at the center.
Asaf Orr, staff attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, focuses most of his work on youth issues, particularly transgender youth. Asaf was the lead attorney in Student v Arcadia Unified School District, which led to the historic resolution agreement acknowledging that Title IX protects transgender kids from discrimination in school. He coauthored a chapter on the legal and ethical obligations of school personnel to create a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ students, recently published in the Creating Safe and Supportive Learning Environments: A Guide for Working with LGBTQ Youth and Families. Asaf litigates cases in a wide range of areas affecting youth including family law, insurance coverage disputes, and discrimination claims.
Seth Rainess is a motivational speaker, Jersey Shore PFLAG facilitator, member of WPATH, volunteer for GLSEN, computer analyst, entrepreneur, general contractor, and accomplished musician. Educationally, Seth holds many degrees including an MS in psychology and rehab counseling. He’s conducted numerous motivational seminars for trans youth, and school assemblies and workshops on trans diversity in high schools and universities. Combining his 30+ years of experience working in the business sector and nonprofit organizations with his passion for helping trans youth, Seth offers trans teens a unique perspective on what it takes to be successful in today’s world.
Jonathan Skurnik is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, educator, and activist. With the Youth & Gender Media Project, Jonathan serves as an ally to the trans youth community, making films and curricula which help schools and other institutions serving youth to create inclusive environments which celebrate all manifestations of gender identity and expression.
Kaden Sullivan has worked as a trainer, educator, and consultant in sexual health and LGBTQ issues for over a decade. He enjoys working with young people, adults, and professionals, facilitating communication, learning, and deeper understanding. Kaden loves living in his hometown of Olympia, WA, with his sweetheart and two kids. He likes to make adults play games.
Jen Sutton has a bachelor’s degree in Family Life Education: Psychology from Corban University and is the proud mom of an 11-year-old trans-masculine activist. Her son was diagnosed with severe autism at age two and with the help of early intervention, home therapy, dietary changes, and a life-skills coach, he has been upgraded to a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. She advocates strongly for fully family care.
Ben Tobias grew up in Seattle, and therefore had no choice but to work in the tech industry. Aside from being a computer programmer who likes hiking, he’s done a lot of work with men to foster healthy relationships and attitudes. He believes that building men’s emotional intelligence and consciousness around relationships is the key to happiness for us and our families. He has a 7-year-old daughter.
Danyela Thurston is a marriage and family therapist by trade in Redding, California, and also mom to AJ (9), his twin sister Mia (9), and their older brother, Ethan (10). After first attending Gender Odyssey four years ago, feeling so overwhelmed and afraid, their lives were positively changed. Danyela now wants to give back to the Gender Odyssey community.
Lukas Walther, of TransFamily Services (BC), is a certified counselor and experienced educator, community developer, and group facilitator, working closely with British Columbia’s trans* population and their families, clinical care teams, schools, and employers, providing peer supports, transitional guidance, and customized information sessions for nearly 20 years. He is cofounder of the long-running info/support group FTM Etc. (founded in 1998) and several parent info/support groups. He is also a longtime member of World Professional Association for Transgender Health.