Gender Odyssey Professional

Workshops

At #GOpro2015, leading experts will offer sessions covering gender identity across the lifespan. Workshop descriptions are below. You can also view the Schedule grid here.

Adult Focus
Day One – August 19
Youth Focus
Day Two – August 20

Wednesday: Adult Focus

Complicated Case Studies

Jeff Brody

It may go without saying that a person’s gender identity exploration can be challenging. Additional variables that accompany any single person’s journey may add layers of complexity that make it difficult for providers to know what issue or area to tackle, when or even if. These variables may include multiple mental and medical health diagnoses, varying degrees of parental support, access to care and/or resources, etc. This will be a facilitated roundtable conversation to explore any specific cases where the course of action is unclear or complex.

Gender On the Job: Employment Law

Asaf Orr

Can an employer refuse to hire you or fire you because of your gender expression or identity? What if you are the subject of harassment at work? What about gender-based dress codes? What is an employer’s responsibility when an employee transitions on the job? This workshop highlights equal employment laws, with an emphasis on issue spotting and assisting clients who face possible legal conflicts arising in the workplace.

Getting It Covered: Expanding Access to Health Insurance

Asaf Orr, Danni Askini

Transgender and gender-expansive adults face many difficult questions as they map out their transition and determine what types of transition-related care to seek, if any. At no time is this more true than when it comes to medical decisions about physical transition. Once tough decisions have been made, another challenge becomes readily apparent: paying for the medical services being sought. This session will explore the intricate and evolving landscape of insurance coverage for gender-related medical services. In an age of the Affordable Care Act, growing awareness of the needs of transgender and gender-expansive patients, and multiple treatment options, providers must be knowledgeable about what their clients and patients can expect to encounter as they seek to cover the costs of their transition-related care.

The History of Trans Activism

Tess Vo, Jude Patton

What are the stories of our transgender, two-spirit, and gender-nonconforming activists who have deeply informed our trans liberation movement in the United States? This session will provide an overview of trans activism over the years, leading up to the present day. Trans activists who hold intersecting identities reflective of race, indigeneity, disability, and class and who have been marked as invisible within the movement will be the centered.

Intersectionality: It’s More Than Just Gender (Double Session)

Trystan Cotten, PhD

While transgender people are a small percentage of the overall population, there is certainly not one single profile that can be established to describe the wide-ranging, diverse lives of the transgender experience. Trans* lives are so much more than “male” to “female” and vice versa. There are aspects of identity that greatly influence the journey to one’s authenticity. A person’s skin color can dramatically impact the ways—positively or negatively—in which society responds to that person and the resulting privilege or lack thereof. Additional aspects include one’s age; one’s level of education and class background; and one’s level of physical and/or mental ability. Understanding these components and the unique experiences they inspire will help any professional who seeks to serve individuals and understand the collective trans* communities.

Medical Considerations of Hormone Administration For Transgender Adults

Linda Gromko, MD, Kevin Hatfield, MD

This session will provide a brief overview, system by system, of the desired and undesired effects of hormone therapy. We will also examine lab markers and medications that can be affected by hormone administration. This is a lecture presentation with time allotted for Q&A.

Non-Binary Transition and Identity

Micah R

More and more people are identifying outside the binary, feeling their gender does not fit into a male or female box. For these folks, as well as for the professionals supporting them, questions surrounding transition are often left unanswered. What does a non-standard transition route look like? Is this quickly becoming the norm? Does it even exist? This workshop will explore the myriad options people have, covering social, medical, and legal transition needs. It includes busting myths and clarifying misconceptions, outlining alternatives and loopholes, and developing strategies for empowering you and your clients in their transgender journey.

Public Accommodations, Shelters, and Prisons

Mara Keisling

Transgender people experience significant discrimination in their daily lives, which creates barriers to being able to live as their authentic selves. That discrimination can take on many different forms, ranging from refusal of services and verbal harassment to physical assault. For transgender people who access shelters, are incarcerated, or are otherwise more vulnerable, those barriers are heightened. This workshop will provide an overview of the legal protections available to transgender people in those spaces, tools to assist professionals to advocate for their clients, and review best practices and trends.

Straight From the Source—Expertise On Trans Lives: Panel

We will end the day hearing from over a half dozen transgender-identified panelists. With a “what-we-want-you-to-know” approach, our goal is to provide attendees with a window into just a few trans people’s lives to highlight the multifaceted, complex paths we often travel. Our goal is to start to fill in the framework that was introduced throughout the day.

Thinking Bigger: Why the Trans Rights Movement Is Better When Integrating Racial and Economic Justice Awareness

Mara Keisling

There are so many issues facing transgender people in the US, but the discrimination—and the consequences of it—that trans people face are often dramatically affected by their race and socio-economic status. Join an NCTE staff member for a conversation about how discrimination appears in people’s lives, how that can be different across race and class, and why the transgender movement for equality must take this into account as we do our work for equality for all trans people. All welcome—and please come with an open mind.

Trans Surgeries (Double Session)

Dr. Toby Meltzer

Are you prepared to support a patient or client through the complex decision-making involved with gender reassignment or other trans-related surgeries? In this workshop, we’ll discuss what to consider when your client is exploring whether to, when to, and how to make decisions regarding surgery; how to empower your client to do their own research and why; introduction to MTF and FTM surgeries; considerations for pre–surgery preparation; and the basics of post-surgical care and support.

Transition Part 1: The Internal and External Journey

Aydin Kennedy, MSW, ACSW

So often, a gender transition is portrayed as the end result of a deeply personal exploration. While this is a strong component, there are a great deal of external factors that can impact a person’s life and subsequent gender decisions. During this session, we will examine the concept of gender identity, gender expression, gender fluidity, and the complexity involved in a person’s self-determination as well as the implications for that person’s family, career and job history, friendships, community, faith, and society as a whole. The aim of this workshop is to expand the conversation of an individual’s gender transition beyond the most basic questions of “Should I?” or “Shouldn’t I?”

Transition Part 2: Maintaining Relationships

Ryan K. Sallans, MA

There can be much discussion on how to best support someone through a gender transition and often very little discussion addressing the ways we can support and nurture the partners or other loved ones. A gender transition can be overwhelming and liberating for a trans person. It can result in some pretty profound changes for a spouse/partner as well. The stress can be very hard on both people. Many relationships, even loving, supportive ones, often do not survive the upheaval because this support and understanding can be hard to find. Partners often find themselves in the advocate/educator role with others while providing the bulk of the emotional support to their transitioning spouse. This leaves them isolated, drained and nowhere to turn to for any resulting difficulties they might be experiencing. In this workshop, we will discuss ways of offering support to partners and insights into how an individual’s gender transition is really a transition for everyone.

Treating the Whole Patient: Understanding Legal Issues Facing Trans Adults

Asaf Orr

Often, mental health professionals are the first to learn about legal issues and needs facing their clients. This workshop will teach you the basics that you need to know about legal issues that frequently arise for trans* adults, as well as identify steps that you can take to help them navigate these challenges. Topics covered include name and gender marker changes on identity documents, marriage and relationship recognition, and child custody disputes.

Thursday: Youth Focus

Advocating For Trans Students and Creating Gender-Inclusive Schools

Aidan Key

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 the physical and mental well-being of transgender youth, resulting in poorer academic performance and higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, among other problems. Advocates, professionals, and parents of trans youth are in a unique position to identify and address those issues whether through training and/or advocacy. 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 trans youth. Additionally, for those desiring to work with or within schools to create a gender inclusive, supportive environment, we will explore the following topics:

  • Addressing instances of teasing or bullying
  • Navigating gender-segregated spaces such as bathrooms and locker rooms
  • Creating gender-inclusive policies
  • Addressing students’ questions in an age-appropriate manner
  • Addressing concerns/questions of parents
  • Handling name changes, school IDs, and school records
  • Using gender-inclusive language in the classroom

This session will provide educators and other interested professionals important information for optimizing any transgender or gender-nonconforming student’s experience as well as a template for creating the optimal inclusive school environment. There will be time for Q&A as well as addressing specific situations you may have already encountered.

Assessing Gender Identity In Youth

Dr. Michele Angello

This session will describe the evaluation of adolescents for possible medical interventions, such as puberty-blocking medication and cross-sex hormone treatment. Throughout this workshop, recommendations for working sensitively with transgender children and adolescents in all medical and mental health settings will be provided. Finally, recommendations for evaluating more complex cases (e.g., co-occurring mental health issues, difficult family dynamics) will be provided.

Car Talk

Susan P. Landon, MA, MFT

Many parents are uncomfortable with what feels like a daunting prospect—talking to their kids about difficult or personal subjects—and parents of trans youth perhaps more so. How can providers advise families about broaching these tentative topics? Frankly, how do you as a provider, do that yourself? This session’s title references just one of the ways to engage a youth in meaningful dialogue. After all, escape is difficult when the vehicle is moving! In this workshop we will discuss and practice techniques for communicating with a child and become more familiar with the possibilities of “car talk.”

Complicated Case Studies

Jeff Brody

It goes without saying that supporting a child’s gender exploration can be challenging. There are layers of complexity that make it difficult for providers to know what issue or area to tackle, when or even if. These variables may include multiple mental and medical health diagnoses, varying degrees of parental support and school support, access to care and/or resources, etc. Advising parents is sometimes more complex than helping them to answer a simple question of “to transition or not?” This will be a facilitated roundtable conversation to explore any specific cases where the course of action is unclear or complex.

Foster Care and Juvenile Justice

Asaf Orr

Children and youth in care have unique challenges to navigate. Whether they are in a foster home, group home, shelter, or juvenile justice system, gender-expansive and transgender children are confronted with another layer of complexity that is often new to providers and families working to assist these youth. This workshop seeks to provide training around the types of needs (legal, medical, and mental health) and intervention that children in care need most. The workshop will also cover emerging best practices and trends in this developing area.

Getting It Covered: Health Insurance

Asaf Orr

Families of transgender and gender-nonconforming youth face many difficult questions as they map out their child’s transition and determine what types of transition-related care to seek, if any. At no time is this more true than when it comes to medical decisions about physical transition. Once tough decisions have been made, another challenge becomes readily apparent: paying for the medical services being sought. This session will explore the intricate and evolving landscape of insurance coverage for gender-related medical services. In an age of the Affordable Care Act, growing awareness of the needs of transgender and gender-nonconforming patients, and multiple treatment options, providers must be knowledgeable about what their families can expect to encounter as they seek to cover the costs of their child’s transition-related care.

Just a Boy / Just a Girl

Johanna Olson, MD, Aydin Kennedy, MSW, ACSW

My child will not talk about anything related to being transgender. She says she wants to be “just a girl.” Integrating transgender experience into one’s core self is an important element of development for transgender youth. This can be incredibly difficult when transgender identities are not celebrated within their social environments. This integration seems to be more challenging for those who are transitioning early in life. This workshop will present strategies for helping youth to include their transgender selves into their identities. Case examples will be presented for assistance in illuminating the pros and cons of the “just a girl, just a boy” phenomenon. We will discuss the importance of parent/caregiver language that celebrates transgender identities and encourages youth to embrace this part of their experience.

Living in Limbo: Considering Earlier Introduction of Cross Hormones

Kevin Hatfield, MD, Dr. Michele Angello, Dr. Laura Edwards-Leeper, Johanna Olson, MD

As a growing number of parents have supported the social transition of their trans children at ages as young as four and five, there is now a generation of trans tweens and younger teens on puberty blockers whose sense of gender identity has been consistent throughout childhood. Once on blockers, these kids are suspended in pre-pubertal limbo for several years until approved for cross hormones (often at the arbitrary age of 16), all the while watching their peers grow and develop before their eyes. What is the effect of this on children who have demonstrated certainty of their gender identity over time? What are some of the existing barriers and/or factors to consider in providing cross hormones to this group of trans youth? This session will bring together a panel of providers whose collective experience working with these youth is unparalleled. The initial part of the conversation will be in the “fishbowl” format with these experts providing their own case studies, observations, and projections, followed by time for Q&A.

The Medical Needs of Transgender Youth: Puberty Delay and Cross Hormones

Johanna Olson, MD

Transgender tweens and 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 physical gender transition and overall mental well-being for youth. This workshop focuses primarily on medical intervention for transgender youth and will cover the use of puberty-blocking agents such as Lupron as well as cross-sex hormones. For gender-questioning tweens who are showing the earliest physical changes of adolescence, puberty blockers can delay the development of physical changes to allow a young teen time to consolidate their gender identity, or avoid them altogether, often obviating the need for expensive surgeries or electrolysis down the road. Puberty blockers—when correctly used—have been demonstrated to improve psychosocial outcomes in transgender youth. Cross hormones may be introduced independently to transitioning teens who have already experienced puberty, or used in conjunction with blockers as tweens head into adolescence.

Non-Binary Transition and Identity

Micah R

More and more children feel their gender does not fit into a male or female box, and we are finally listening. For these youth, as well as for the professionals supporting them, questions surrounding transition are often left unanswered. Is my kid trans? Will my child ever decide on a binary identity? And… what happens if they don’t? With a focus on social and medical transition, this workshop will explore the options children have for following a non-standard transition route, as well as the limitations and obstacles they might encounter by trying to live in a world that does not acknowledge their gender. 

The Road to Expert

Ryan K Sallans, MA

Whether you are a doctor, therapist, educator, or other professional, there is no established pathway to become an “expert” on issues related to transgender care and/or experience. Existing educational courses, subjective written resources, and “current” research are inadequate to address the complexity of trans lives and the ever-increasing requests for knowledgeable care or support. In light of this, how does one begin? How did current experts gain their experience? How do you address this issue with patients, clients, students, or other peers in a responsible manner? Join us as we explore these questions, examine the current state of trans care, and learn how interested professionals might engage in this work.

Schools and Public Accommodations

Asaf Orr, Sarah Dunne

Increasingly, various federal, state and local laws and policies are providing educators with clear expectations and responsibilities for working with their students’ gender diversity issues. Covering a wide range of subjects including Title IX requirements, program and facility access and model regulations and policies, experienced legal professionals will provide insights into the shifting legal landscape related to transgender and other gender-expansive students. Legal professionals experienced in working with these subjects will discuss various trends impacting school law, and recommendations for ensuring that the needs of these vulnerable youth are being accounted for.

Success Tips For Working With Trans Youth & Their Families

Dr. Michele Angello

Trans youth experience many unique challenges during transition. Everything from dealing with peers, parents to secondary sex characteristics and typical issues of adolescence become major impediments to development. It is imperative for healthcare professionals to take into account the relevant systemic variables—family, friends, siblings, school, spiritual affiliation, extracurricular activities, and medical community—with which the young person interacts. This workshop will examine the primary clinician’s role in supporting a minor and their family members as they navigate their way through these complex systems.

Trans* Youth Panel

Join us for a panel discussion with trans* young people who will share their experiences, aspirations, and ideas for change. Don’t miss this powerful opportunity to hear the real life experiences of these dynamic youth.

Tunnel Vision and “The Checklist”

Aydin Kennedy, MSW, ACSW, Susan P. Landon, MA, MFT

Many parents and providers alike have wished for the how-to book for raising a transgender child. The lack of a definitive road map can lead adults to intently focus on what is tangible—a checklist of sorts—and assume these items are the most important destination stops of this journey. Examples include name changes, puberty delay, hormone intervention, ID document changes, future surgery, and so on. This intent focus on the concrete tasks of gender transition can cause a parent or provider to develop a tunnel vision of sorts. This can sometimes obscure the less tangible but critical aspects of a trans* or gender-nonconforming child’s life; prevent typical family functioning because of the ever-present “crisis”; miss the opportunities to provide a child with resiliency-building skills; and possibly confuse a child’s wish to express gender fluidity with the desire to transition their gender identity. Join us in this workshop where we will explore these issues in greater depth.

Wisdom From Parents of Trans* Children – Panel

Aidan Key – Facilitator

When a parent steps up to the task of supporting their transgender or gender-exploring child, they often find that the next step involves changing the environment surrounding that child. If negotiating their own personal fears weren’t enough, parents are now in the position of educating siblings, extended family, friends, co-workers, teachers, neighbors, providers, childcare providers, and many others. This awareness-raising extends not only to individuals, but also to systems such as school communities, insurance companies, afterschool programs, and state and federal agencies. Join us in this session as parents share the journey that begins when they tell their child “yes.”