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-diverse or transgender children who are blazing new paths for their own children and, ultimately, many others.
Keynote Speakers from 2016
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 2016
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 US that focuses on clinical issues in transgender communities. Her private practice is in Pennsylvania.
Dawn Marie Blades is a 3rd-year PsyD student at Antioch University Seattle. She received her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, just before moving to Seattle. Her research interests include exploring issues involving shame and internalized stigma in subsets of the LGBTQ communities and in establishing clinician cultural competency and clinical standards for treatment.
Jenn Burleton has been a leading innovator and educator on issues impacting the lives of transgender and gender-diverse children, youth, and their families for more than 10 years. She has participated in various capacities in a number of published research projects; secured healthcare coverage for transgender people in Oregon; presented at multiple national conferences for transgender youth for over 10 years; and created a framework for advocacy and education that has been adopted by multiple organizations and individuals nationally.
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.
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 5 and 9, who keep her busy with Legos and tea parties.
Cathy Gillis is a mother to two teenage sons. She believes that science and love are the most powerful forces in life. Nothing is impossible, and differences are what make life interesting. Cathy tries to approach life with a sense of compassion, understanding, and constant discovery. Parent, wife, and fiber artist, Cathy has been involved in education, advocacy, and most recently, the TransformAK video project. This is her second Gender Odyssey conference.
Lena Holz has been a nanny in Seattle for 11 years and has a 22-year-old son. She loves kids, animals, the outdoors, playing, and being spontaneous. This is Lena’s third year volunteering for the conference.
Debi Jackson travels the country as a public speaker about LGBT youth, and has recently started a business offering online competency training on trans issues. She shares her story to prove that conservative Southern families can be supportive of LGBT issues. Because of her transgender daughter, she has become a political activist for LGBT rights and acceptance. She also operates a website for parents of transgender and gender-nonconforming children: trans-parenting.com.
Kate Kauffman, LPC, formalized the Parents in Transition treatment model while she was the program manager and clinical supervisor at TransActive Gender Center in Portland, Oregon. She is now the owner of and therapist at Brave Space, LLC, which creates community and facilitates access to knowledgeable and expert providers for transgender children, youth, adults, and their families. Kate is on the OHP Task Force, which helps advocate for increased Medicaid coverage for transgender people in Oregon.
Lisa J. Keating is the mother of a transgender daughter and founder of My Purple Umbrella, whose mission is to address harassment, intimidation, and bullying for gender-diverse youth and their families. She is a facilitator for the WA SAFE Alliance. Lisa is a nationally published freelance writer. She has developed and facilitates a school program, Allies in Action, which teaches children how to be allies in their classrooms and communities.
Tiffany Kelly is the incredibly proud mom of two boys, one of whom is also transgender. She has been a member of the Gender Diversity family for several years and is forever grateful for the amazing work of Aidan and Kristin.
Dr. Colt Keo-Meier is a licensed psychologist specializing in gender health. He teaches Gender Affirmative Therapy at Southern Methodist University, Sexual and Gender Health to psychiatry residents at Baylor College of Medicine, and Human Sexuality at the University of Houston. Colt is working on a children’s book as well as a Gender Affirmative Model book for psychologists who work with families with gender diverse children. He will be starting medical school in the fall of 2016.
Aidan Key is the 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 parent support groups in Washington State. 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.
Mary is a mother of two amazing boys ages 11 and 8. She is the founder and director of Transgender Parents of Washington (T-Pow). T-Pow provides a safe place for trans* parents and their children to meet for support, participate in social activities, and work to create positive systemic change in the trans community for parents and their children/youth.
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.
Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy is a pediatrician and medical director of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Center for Transyouth Health and Development. She provides care for the largest clinic of transgender youth in the US. Dr. Olson-Kennedy has appeared as an expert guest on several national television shows, including I Am Cait, 20/20, and Dateline. Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers
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.
Seth Pardo, PhD, is the lead evaluator at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and an adjunct instructor at Alliant International University. His academic research examines transgender identity development, predictors of transgender health, and medical decision making. Dr. Pardo is a member of APA’s Division 44 and the APA Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. Dr. Pardo received his PhD (Developmental Psychology) from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
Gil Rich is the Gender Odyssey teen program coordinator and has run the youth groups for the Gender Diversity family support meetings held at Seattle Children’s Hospital for the past eight years. Gil has over a decade of experience developing leadership and community-building programs that help youth recognize their potential. In addition to teaching within the Seattle and Atlanta public schools, he has also worked with Camp Ten Trees, Lambert House, the YMCA, and the WSU-4H Challenge programs. Currently a corporate training manager, Gil also facilitates transgender awareness trainings for school, health provider, and corporate audiences. Gil had the unique opportunity to grow up as a gender-nonconforming kid with an identical twin who was also gender-nonconforming. Growing up knowing there was someone else like you in the world provided a foundation of self-confidence and pride that he hopes to pass on to the youth he works with.
Sarah is the super-powered mother of an amazing 8-year-old girl. She is a producer and a supporter of positive change for trans youth and children. She is a community advocate and spokesperson for trans families.
Dr. Mandy Schivell is a senior lecturer in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. She has 16 years of experience teaching cell and molecular biology as well as the biology of assisted reproduction in the context of societal norms. She is also the parent of a transgender child.
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.
Darlene Tando is a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in San Diego. She has been working with transgender clients since 2006, and a large part of her practice is dedicated to working with gender-expansive/transgender youth and adults. Darlene believes that the individual is the “expert” on one’s own gender identity. For more information about her work in the gender field, please visit her blog atwww.darlenetandogenderblog.com.
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 an 8-year-old daughter.
Ianto West is a 2nd-year PsyD student at Antioch University Seattle. Before going to graduate school, he worked at The Trevor Project, a suicide crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth. His research interests include transgender cultural competency, the role of guilt and shame in health outcomes, and social justice issues in clinical practice.
Nadja Dee Witherbee is a graduate of the telecommunication and film department at San Diego State University. She has spent 12 years working in the film industry and became a member of the Local 600 Camera Union. She left Burbank to transition in Seattle and has volunteered for Gender Odyssey, Gender Diversity, Camp Ten Trees, and Lambert House and served on the board of directors for Ingersoll Gender Center and Camp Ten Trees. Combining her love of film and the community, Nadja Dee created SOLD: Examining the T in TV Commercials, presented at Gender Odyssey and Translations Film Festival. Currently working with the Teen Program, Nadja Dee brings her love of film and television, art, music, and special-effects film make-up to Gender Odyssey. She resides in the Pacific Northwest and can often be seen playing guitar or ukulele with her husband David and their two furry Yorkie-Poo daughters, Noe and Nico.
Adam Yerke, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and an assistant professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles, CA. Adam regularly provides educational trainings about transgender people, and he has previously published peer-reviewed articles and presented at several professional conferences about his research and clinical work with the community.