Gender Odyssey Family’s workshop schedule is designed to address the wide-ranging issues a family raising a gender variant child may encounter. Sessions are led by both leading experts in the field as well as family members navigated this journey with their own child. If you are a professional seeking to increase your knowledge, please consider attending our pre-conference full day session: the Gender Odyssey Professional Seminar on Aug 2, 2012 – Students welcome!
Our conference offers three days of…
- Informational presentations, panel discussions and interactive forums where parents can explore the issues related to raising children who are gender non-conforming
- Incredible opportunities to meet other families from all over the country
- Access to some of the top experts in the country
2012 Conference Programming
Below are descriptions of the workshops that will be presented at the 2012 Gender Odyssey Family conference. You can also view the full workshop schedule grid here.
Minimizing the Top 10 Fears
Parents will have the opportunity to discuss some of the most common fears and concerns that may manifest themselves in the journey of raising a transgender or gender-variant child. Time will be allotted for families to share their personal experiences with others who may be in need of assistance, as well as gain knowledge and tools to help navigate their own journey.
Putting Canada On the Map
While many of the factors involved in the raising of transgender and gender-nonconforming children and youth are the same for our neighbors to the south, there are some strong differences as well. This workshop, designed by Canadian families from Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto, will begin with a panel presentation to provide a baseline of information about issues, resources, and networks based on our experience. The majority of the workshop will consist of a facilitated whole group discussion. Let’s learn from each other!
Creating Gender-Inclusive Schools
Most schools wish to create an inclusive, supportive environment for all students. When it comes to transgender and other gender-nonconforming students, it is not easy to determine exactly how to create this environment. In this session, we’ll examine the following topics and allow time for Q&A:
- Understanding transgender students and the unique considerations they may face
- Addressing instances of teasing or bullying
- Navigating gender-segregated spaces such as bathrooms and locker rooms
- Creating gender-inclusive policies
- Learning how to address questions of students in an age-appropriate manner
- Addressing parental questions and concerns
- Understanding the legal responsibilities of schools
- Handling name changes, school IDs, and school records
- Using gender-inclusive language in the classroom
This session is an important step towards educating the entire school community and we hope you’ll join us. There will be time for Q&A as well as for addressing specific situations you may already have encountered.
Assessing Adolescent Gender Identity for Possible Medical Intervention
In this session, we will focus on assessing gender identity concerns in children; offer recommendations for providing supportive therapy during the childhood years; and suggest ways to support parents who have a gender-variant child. In addition, the issue of an early “social transition” will be addressed, including the pros and cons to consider when contemplating this path. We’ll discuss the evaluation of adolescents for possible medical interventions, such as puberty-blocking medication and cross-sex hormone treatment. A description of the Gender Management Service at Boston Children’s Hospital, the most well-established clinic treating transgender adolescents in the US, will be given. Recommendations for working sensitively with transgender youth and common challenging situations that arise for youth and families will be discussed (e.g., medical appointments, school problems, and broader community concerns) with ideas for how to assist families with these issues.
Presented by Dr. Laura Edwards-Leeper, PhD
Taking on the Giants: Insurance
Do you have adequate health care insurance for your gender-nonconforming child? Do you even know what your coverage entails? Have you found competent providers who work with you or do they knowingly or unknowingly present barriers? Many families encounter barriers related to geographical region, lack of information, health coverage exclusions, and politicized medical environments. In this facilitated discussion, we will share strategies, success stories, and roadblocks to gaining coverage for your child’s needs. Health-insurance exclusions abound but times are changing. Come to this resource-sharing session to offer your knowledge or experience and to learn from others.
Presented by Angie Perone
A Dad’s Place, Part 1
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 assistance, understanding, and support. There are two parts to this workshop. You need not attend one session in order to attend the other.
Note: This workshop is exclusively for fathers.
Presented by Robert Tovar
The Medical Needs of Trans Youth: Puberty Delay
The physical changes of puberty often bring about growing distress to gender-questioning youth as they see an increasing discrepancy between their physical bodies and their innate sense of their own gender. Puberty-blocking agents, such as the GnRH agonist leuprolide (Lupron), have been used for a number of years in gender-questioning youth who are showing the earliest physical changes of adolescence. Delaying puberty allows the young teen a “cooling off” period during which they can concentrate their energies on consolidating their gender identity without having to worry about the ticking clock of puberty. In addition, the use of puberty-blocking agents prevents the development of adult physical changes (e.g., breast growth or facial hair), sometimes obviating the need for expensive surgeries or electrolysis down the road. Puberty blockers—when correctly used—have been demonstrated to improve the psychosocial outcomes in transgender youth. This session will address the use of this class of drugs in gender-questioning youth.
Presented by Daniel Metzger, MD
Faith in Jeopardy
Our religious beliefs often present life issues in black and white. What if our family life is not that simple? Where do we turn especially when our religious community is uncomfortable or not supportive? One parent decided to ask God for help. In this interactive discussion, she will share her experience and encourage others to share their stories of faith exploration. This is a multi-faith discussion and will not focus on any particular religion or scripture but rather the common thread of finding peace with the complexities of life and our faith.
Presented by Gretchen Holtz
Navigating Sex-Separated Activities, Programs, and Accommodations
Navigating sex-separated spaces is a nerve-wracking process for gender-nonconforming youth and their parents. This is particularly true when it comes to sports, restrooms, and locker rooms. Having access to these spaces and activities in a manner consistent with one’s gender identity can have a profoundly positive effect on gender-nonconforming youth. Similarly, being denied access can be detrimental to a gender-nonconforming youth’s social and academic development. This workshop will review the latest developments regarding access to sex-separated sports, facilities, and activities as well as inform parents about various legal and non-legal avenues for addressing this pressing issue. Parents are encouraged to bring questions about these issues and to discuss their experiences.
The Medical Needs of Trans Youth: Cross Hormones
Transgender teens and their families often struggle to find appropriate, thorough, and sensitive health care services. Up-to-date, informed medical care can greatly increase the positive effects of a teen’s physical gender transition and their overall mental well-being. This workshop focuses primarily on medical intervention for transgender peri-pubertal and adolescent youth. We will cover the use of puberty blockers and cross sex hormones in this population.
Sex- and Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment: Title IX Protections for Students
The US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces federal civil rights laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, and sex, including on the basis of gender stereotypes. An attorney and an investigator from OCR will discuss how Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 protects LGBT and gender-nonconforming students from discrimination and harassment at school. Through a discussion of several of OCR’s recent cases and investigations, the workshop will provide information on how schools should prevent, respond to, and remedy harassment and discrimination of LGBT students. The workshop will also provide information on how students and parents can file a complaint of discrimination or harassment with OCR.
Gender Expert, Really?
Any medical or mental health provider can say they are a “gender expert,” but what does that really mean for you and your child? We will explore the relevance of provider credentials; how to interview and match your expectations to the provider; when/why to switch providers; and how to ensure that you are receiving the level of care that best matches your and/or your child’s needs.
Don’t Box Me In: Making Space for Gender Fluidity
Of course, not all gender-nonconforming 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 genderfluid 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? Where are the compromises? How can you nurture your child’s self-esteem, especially as peers pressure your child to conform? What do you do when your child is struggling or suffering deeply? We’ll examine why it is essential to make space for children who are fluid in their presentation, personal preferences, or identity; how we ourselves can become comfortable with our child’s gender expression; and how to help them find language that reflects who they are.
Powerful Parenting: PFLAG Strategies to Support Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and their Families
PFLAG plays an important role in empowering parents and allies to partner with communities in promoting the health and well-being of LGBT communities nationwide. Seeing a critical need, PFLAG has undertaken several new initiatives to educate and prepare its members to provide support for transgender and gender-diverse youth and their families. Come learn how you can take advantage of PFLAG’s unique strengths to create a support system within your local chapter for you, your family, and new families to come. Whether you already have a current support group or not, this workshop is for you. We will discuss a variety of models for working with PFLAG, as well as pitfalls, resources, and much more.
Presented by Cesar Hernandez
Launching Your Transgender or Gender-Variant Child
Preparing a child for life can be challenging even in the best of circumstances. How can we balance social, physical, and financial transitions, our children’s growing need for independence, and our concerns for their safety? This presentation will explore literature on what’s considered the “normative” launching experience in conjunction with the current best-practice knowledge for parenting transgender and gender- nonconforming children. The presenters will discuss the considerations, questions, and learning that they’ve experienced having prepared their own children for leaving the nest. Come and share your own challenges and successes as you prepare your children for independent adulthood.
KEYNOTE – Dr. Jo Olson – The Future of Trans Youth Care
In 2011, the Institute of Medicine outlined a tremendous gap in the state of research for LGBTQ individuals and especially research related to transgender populations. The lack of evidence-based trials with respect to transgender youth leads to skepticism and hesitancy on the part of medical providers to offer appropriate and timely care. This workshop focuses on the strides that have been made in the area of research, preliminary results from Dr. Olson’s research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and the recommendations for moving transgender care forward through evidence-based, rigorous scientific trials.
Presented by Johanna Olson, MD
I Love My Son, but I Miss My Daughter: Addressing Grief
This is a group discussion to give voice to the grief 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 the optimal environment, we ask that only parents/guardians attend this session.
Presented by Francesca Terry
My Kid Has a Crush—Now What?
Talking to our kids about sex and dating is daunting enough—“the gender stuff” can add a whole new spin that may leave you overwhelmed and even unsure of where to begin. How do you talk to a trans youth about this very important topic? Where’s the manual? Our panelists, selected for their relevant professional or personal experience, will provide frank commentary on this complex issue as a launching pad for this collective brainstorming session. We will explore the world of dating, bodies, and sex and how to incorporate such factors such as disclosure, self-esteem, and safety into the conversation. Have you had these conversations already? What were your strategies? What came up that was expected? Unexpected? Let’s share our experiences and knowledge with each other and find answers for the questions we may still have.
Presented by Lukas Walther
Differing Parenting Styles
Raising a child has often been described as the hardest job an individual can ever do. Of course, most people raising a child want what’s best for that child. Most want to keep the child safe. Even with these commonalities, the path that each of us takes to reach these goals may look very different. These differences can sometimes cause pain, confusion, and conflict, and stir up deep fears. We can at times feel lost while navigating these unfamiliar waters and not know where or whom to ask for help, perspective, or support. As married, divorced, and single parenting moms and dads, and other supportive family members, let’s talk.
Presented by Keylee Marineau, MA, LMHCA
Stories from the Front: Trans Youth Panel
What are the real life experiences of older transgender and gender-nonconforming youth? During this powerful session, transgender adolescents, friends, and relatives tell their stories from the heart. Honest, emotional, and inspiring stories can help other parents and youth to believe in a better and happier future. The goal of this session is to provide parents hope by seeing that transgender youth thrive once their gender issues are addressed.
Presented by Dr. Melady Preece
KEYNOTE – JANET MOCK
Janet Mock, Associate Editor of PEOPLE.com, is a writer and advocate, who publicly stepped forward as a trans woman last spring in Marie Claire and a video testimony for the It Gets Better project. A native of Honolulu, Janet tells stories from her life on her blog Fish Food For Thought, hosts a relationships podcast called The Missing Piece and lives in New York City where she’s writing her forthcoming memoir Fish Food, about her adolescent journey beyond gender. She’s a graduate of New York University’s Masters program in journalism and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawai’i.
Looking Ahead: Adult Panel
During this session, you will hear from a number of gender-nonconforming and transgender identified adults. They will share with you how they define their gender, how they experience their bodies, and how they navigate everyday society. You will not hear personal coming out histories but rather an exploration of how wide-ranging gender expression and identity can be. This workshop will provide an opportunity to look ahead to some possible futures for your child and recognize the powerful effect of variables such as family support and increasing societal acceptance. The possibilities for our children are far greater than we can imagine—but we can start by providing this window.
Presented by Aidan Key
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
When the family of a gender-nonconforming child is headed toward divorce or separation, what information is important for a supportive parent to know? Learn from an experienced family law attorney who has worked with parents across the country. What are the best ways to protect your child and your family? Parents are encouraged to share their experiences and bring questions and insights. Of course, your current relationship status is not a prerequisite for participation in this session.
Presented by Asaf Orr
A Dad’s Place, Part 2
Most of us have role models for fatherhood, but few of us have learned how to be a father to a gender non-conforming 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 assistance, understanding, and support. This is the second of two sessions. You need not have attended the first in order to attend the other.
Note: This workshop is exclusively for fathers.
Presented by Robert Tovar
TRANS: The Movie
TRANS is an extraordinary documentary feature about men and women, girls and boys…and all the variations in between. It is about the Transgender Community, perhaps the most misunderstood and mistreated minority in America and around the world. Inspired by the incredible story of Dr. Christine McGinn and her important work as a transgender surgeon, TRANS provides an up-close and very personal vision into the lives, loves, and challenges of a remarkable cast of characters of all ages and from all walks of life. These are the stories of confusion and courage, excitement and emotion that have never been told . . . until now. To anyone who ever looked in a mirror and wondered “Who am I really?”, TRANS asks another question—“Are you brave enough to find out?”
NOTE: This movie has some thematic elements that are not appropriate for young children. It includes an upsetting scene and is not recommended for children under the age of 13.
Self-Harm & the 3 Rs of Avoidance
Self-harm and suicide rates for the overall transgender population remain high, and transgender youth are particularly vulnerable. Countless parents, guardians, and care providers of trans youth identify self-harm and suicide as their two largest fears. This is a very real, understandable concern, yet one rarely discussed openly. This workshop provides an opportunity to talk about this subject realistically, concentrating on direct ways to keep our kids safe. Because the key factors in each self-instigated tragedy are fundamentally the same, the main focus of this workshop, after identifying significant risk indicators, will be on sharing strategies, tools, and techniques with which to assemble an effective practical safety net, one that can provide a full range of supports necessary to facilitate successful navigation of this most incredible, misunderstood, and at times even perilous journey to Self. Participation encouraged; not mandatory.
Presented by Lukas Walther
Role Playing: Getting Our Kids Confident and Ready
We, as parents, are often required to field many questions from every place imaginable. What about our 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! An easy, practical way to address questions and comments is to implement role playing. What are the questions that have been asked of your child? How were they addressed? Was the response successful? If not, what do you wish had been said? 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. No specific experience required; open and playful approaches nurtured and welcome!
Presented by Megan Kennedy, MA, LMHC
Know Your Rights: A Parent’s Guide to Advocating for a Gender Variant Child in School
Like all school-age youth, transgender youth spend the majority of their day in school. Unfortunately for many transgender youth, the school environment is either unwelcoming or overtly hostile. That negative environment significantly affects physical and mental well-being of transgender youth, resulting in poorer academic performance and higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, among other problems. Professionals who work with transgender youth are in a unique position to identify and address those issues, whether through treatment, advocacy, or both. This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the unique needs of transgender youth in schools and the legal tools that can be used to advocate for the needs of their patients and clients. In addition to providing participants with the legal knowledge they need, the workshop will outline the role of various professionals in those processes and ways to effectively advocate for the needs of their patients or clients.
Presented by Asaf Orr
Resiliency in Parenting
What is our story as parents and loved ones of gender-nonconforming youth? Let’s explore ways in which we seek and find pockets of resiliency in parenting. How do we avoid burn out, find allies, and thrive within both our families and in our communities. Join other family members while we dig a little deeper. As we share our stories, it is our hope that we build new capacity, find support, and fortify our courage and commitment to our children. Note: To provide the optimal environment, we ask that only parents and guardians attend this session.
Presented by Keylee Marineau, MA, LMHCA
Parenting During the Teen and Young Adult Years
How do we help our older kids navigate the complexities of a diverse gender identity? How do we sort out what is a teenage issue versus a gender issue? And, how do we distinguish our own journey from that of our child’s? We are two parents who have transgender young adult children who began their transition during the teen years. It was very important for us to have other parents with whom to share this journey. We hope to expand this rich conversation by exploring the challenges, as well as joys, of our collective parenting experiences. Join us in this interactive discussion.
Presented by Vicky Tovar
Access to Gender Odyssey Workshops
The Gender Odyssey conference is held in adjoining rooms at the same time as Gender Odyssey Family. Gender Odyssey Family registrants over 18 years of age may attend any Saturday/Sunday Gender Odyssey conference workshops or events at no additional cost. Registrants aged 13 – 17 may attend Gender Odyssey programming with parental consent (excluding workshops designated 18+.)