Meet the Conference Committee
Aidan Key – Conference Founder and Executive Director of Gender Diversity
Aidan is thrilled to celebrate 17 years since organizing the first Gender Odyssey conference. When the conference is not demanding his attention, Aidan offers trainings for schools, organizations, health providers, and social service agencies through Gender Diversity. He leads the largest network of support groups in the nation for families raising transgender and gender-diverse children. Aidan’s work has led to numerous speaking engagements, as well as TV, radio, and other media appearances. He is the author of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: Child Chapter (Oxford University Press 2014) as well as a coauthor of “Gender Cognition in Children” (Psychological Science 2015).
Baya Walls – Photography Coordinator
Baya is a white, female-bodied, queer, first generation US citizen with German roots, feminist, democratic socialist, and PhD student in sociocultural anthropology with a focus on trans masculinity. They are a long- time photographer with an eye for detail telling stories through pictures and are looking forward to their second year at Gender Odyssey.
Beth Johnson – Volunteer Coordinator
I became the volunteer coordinator for Gender Odyssey in 2016. I moved to the Seattle area 6 years ago. Since then I have spent my time working as a volunteer and volunteer coordinator with various organizations. Gender Odyssey is one that is close to my heart.
Brenda Bowers – Vendor Coordinator
Brenda Bowers has been involved in Gender Odyssey from its inception, first as Family Kids Camp creator, then as a workshop facilitator, family liaison, and vendor coordinator. She and her son Bronze, 10, and daughter Olivia, 23, have loved being a part of the Kids Camp and the conference for 8 years now. Brenda holds a degree in communications and is a treatment and recovery grant administrator with the State of Alaska. She is also the identical twin sister of conference organizer Aidan Key, and will happily share with you the subtle distinctions on how to tell them apart!
C. Michael Woodward, MPH – Conference Director
Michael is Gender Odyssey’s new conference director. He’s also a writer, rock star, storyteller, body builder, social justice advocate, and aging queer trans guy. Michael has published myriad books, articles, and blogs, including the title essay of the much-acclaimed anthology, Manning Up: Transsexual Men on Finding Brotherhood, Family, and Themselves (Transgress Press, 2014). He holds a MPH in Policy and Management from the University of Arizona and a BS in Communications from Butler University.
Carolyn MacGregor – Program Book Editor/Outreach Coordinator
Carolyn is the year-round communications coordinator for Gender Diversity, and an editor, musician, and mother of two children, one of whom is a transgender teen. She has attended eight of the Gender Odyssey Family conferences, and is one of the original members of Gender Diversity’s Family Support Groups, for which she now serves as a facilitator. She is jazzed to experience the conference this year as partner to her trans girlfriend.
Cathy Renna – Media and Publicity Coordinator
Cathy is a managing partner at Target Cue, an LGBT- and HIV-focused public interest communications and marketing firm. Prior to that, she was a founder of Renna Communications. During her seven years with the firm, Renna Communications partnered with more than 50 different organizations on diverse issues of importance to the LGBT and allied communities and HIV-related issues. Cathy is nationally recognized as both a media relations and communications expert and as a leader within the LGBT community. She lives in Montclair, NJ, with her partner Karen and is the proud parent of her daughter Rosemary.
Dawn Marie Blades – Photography Assistant
Much of Dawn Marie’s registration and conference experience comes from the Midwest science-fiction community. She is happily translating her skill set to help out with Gender Odyssey. Dawn Marie has two adult children (in school in the Midwest), and two feline children. Last year she started taking classes in the PsyD program in clinical psychology at Antioch University, Seattle, so she may be looking a little blurry in spots. (Just hand the gal in Tigger ears a chai latte or energy drink and things will be fine in a few minutes.)
Diana Campbell – Registration Coordinator/Database Administrator/Co-Emcee
From delivering meals to AIDS clients to working on queer rights campaigns to presenting transgender workshops—Diana has been a longtime queer advocate. She volunteered at her first GO conference in 2013 and continues to serve on the conference planning committee. As a cisgender lesbian, she is proud to stand with all members of the queer community. She’s passionate about opening hearts and minds to support, embrace, and celebrate everyone on the gender spectrum.
Duncan Gibbs – Art Show Coordinator
Duncan Gibbs is inspired by the art produced in our community and our power to create change through imagination and action. He curated art shows for the conference in 2011, 2012 and 2013, adding collaborative art projects with trans community youth in 2015 and again this year.
Erika Laurentz – Security Coordinator
My partner says that I’m an overachiever. She’s probably right. I survived years of rape and ritualized torture, later, beatings by schoolyard bullies, to become a police officer that protected people in similar situations. I went to law school and became a prosecutor. Later, I taught and then ran a criminal justice program for a community college. Now, I’m an advocate for trans people and their families while finishing a masters degree in psychology. I began socially transitioning to the woman I am in 1985.
Gil Rich – Teen Program Coordinator
Gil Rich is the Gender Odyssey Teen Program Coordinator and runs the youth groups for the Gender Diversity family support meetings held at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Gil has also volunteered with Camp Ten Trees and the WSU-4H Challenge Program and has spent the past 16 years leading leadership and community-building programs that help youth recognize their potential. Gil had the unique opportunity to grow up as a gender-nonconforming kid with an identical twin who was also gender-nonconforming. Growing up different but knowing there is 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.
Jenn Odell – Kids Camp Coordinator
Jenn is proudly serving as Kids Camp Coordinator for Gender Odyssey Family 2016. Jenn holds a BA in Theatre Arts (2012) from Principia College. She has worked with youth of all ages in a variety of creative disciplines ranging from arts and crafts to voice, dance, and scene study. She also has worked as an instructor of musical theatre and movement at a number of Seattle-based theatre and musical organizations. Previously as a volunteer working for a number of grassroots and political organizations, Jenn also holds a teaching artist certification from the Washington State TAT Lab 2013-2014.
Jeri Starrett – Continuing Education Support
Jeri served on the Pride Foundation Scholarship Committee and for many years was actively involved in PFLAG. She attended her first GO conference at the encouragement of her son—they attended together. At that time, few parents attended the conference and to connect with parents of transgender adult children was an amazing experience. She’s grateful to be a member of the conference planning team, managing applications for continuing education credits again this year. A big thank you to all GO volunteers, you make the world a better place!
Joshua Riverdale – Web Manager
Joshua is a web developer and marketer with more than 15 years of professional experience. He has been working on the Gender Odyssey websites since 2008. That year also marked the beginning of his gender transition, which he continues to chronicle on his popular blog, Joshua lives in rural British Columbia, Canada.
Kit Moreland is thrilled to be helping with Kids Camp for GO 2016. He has experience leading transgender support groups, workshops, and policy discussions in university settings and is now turning is hand to the younger transgender community. By day, Kit is a cognitive psychologist PhD student.
Kory Martin-Damon – Continuing Education Co-Coordinator
Kory is a dual-language adjudicator for the State of Washington Employment Security Department. She enjoys volunteering for Gender Odyssey and has done so every year since its inception. She is currently writing a fantasy novel about dual-sexed beings in a galaxy far, far away.
Kristin Wilson-Key – Registration Lead/Programming Assistant
Kristin is a behind-the-scenes force throughout the Gender Odyssey planning year, having numerous and varied responsibilities. She enjoys working with parents through Gender Diversity’s Family Support Groups. Originally from high and dry Colorado, Kristin enjoys temperate Seattle with her husband, Aidan.
Laurie Frankel – Registration Assistant
Laurie Frankel’s third novel, This Is How It Always Is, about a transgender child and her family, will be in a bookstore near you January 2017. She writes and lives in Seattle with her family, including her own transgender child, and would love to be in touch: www.lauriefrankel.net
Lena Holz – Keynote Speaker Liaison
Lena has been a nanny in Seattle for 12 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.
Margaret Taboada – Concierge Lead
I was born and raised in the Seattle area. I raised 4 children and currently have fun with 10 grandkids who keep me young! I graduated from UW with an engineering degree and have worked at Boeing for 35 years as a computer developer, architect, analyst and project manager. My hobby is amateur ballroom dancing, competing in the local area.
Micah – Social Media
A published writer, engaging advocate, and expert educator on transgender identities, Micah’s mission is to contribute positively to everyone’s experience with gender. The popular site neutrois.me is a balance of thoroughly researched information, easy to understand resources, and the personal chronicles of Micah’s transition, a public examination of what it means to live in a world that makes no room for non-binary gender. Micah presents humorously didactic workshops involving cookie metaphors, reluctantly talks to journalists for media interviews, volunteers at schools as a speaker for the SF LGBTQ Speaker’s Bureau, and is a closet idealist.
Nadja Dee Witherbee – Teen Programming Assistant
Nadia Dee 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.
Nikki Neuen – Scholarship Coordinator
Nikki helps the Gender Odyssey team with conference scholarships, wrangles data, and coaxes databases into friendly submission. She is also pitching in with the Teens Paint art show, the Pride tents, and any other shiny thing that catches her eye. Additionally, she participates in the political committee WAYS, an organization intent on defeating bathroom bills in WA. Professionally, she is a crack administrator at Overlake Hospital Childbirth Center, and a budding simulation operations tech. Privately, she is solo parent to a transgender teen, a mad dabbler in all things arts and crafts, and a sometime-philosopher.
Oblio Stroyman – Programming Assistant
Oblio is a former family therapist turned Ecstatic Dance DJ when they decided to follow their heart. Oblio presents all over the country on issues of gender, sexuality, open relationships, and healthy communication. Oblio is the executive director of the nonprofit Trans*Ponder, a resource hub and training organization based in Eugene, Oregon, on issues of gender diversity.
Rosemary Meza – Kids Camp Assistant
Rosemary is back for another year as Kids Camp assistant for the Gender Odyssey conference. She has several years of experience working with children and is very exciting to be part of such an amazing group like Gender Odyssey. She is looking forward to creating a safe, fun, and memorable experience for children at the Gender Odyssey Conference.
Sam Berliner – A/V Coordinator
Sam Berliner 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. When not actively making films, Sam is the festival director of Translations: the Seattle Transgender Film Festival. He also leads workshops and gives presentations about gender at various organizations and schools. He freelances as a camera assistant, still photographer, animator, assistant director, and editor. He is in pre-production on Episode 2 of the Dating Sucks web series and released his newest film, Float, in June of 2015. Sam graduated in 2005 from Smith College with a BA in Film & Theatre and earned an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University in 2013.
Shelley Shore – Event Coordinator
During the past two Gender Odyssey conferences, Shelley has served as part of the GO Picnic team responsible for hosting this most unique gathering of many diverse people who have arrived here from origins all over the planet. The Picnic is the Saturday night destination for all those attending the conference and an opportunity to share a meal and engage in heartfelt discussions with these kindred spirits. In facing the challenges of her own personal gender journey, Shelley has continually found herself nourished by family and friends, and has found the safe harbor of Gender Odyssey to be a powerful resource in providing a strategic roadmap for living harmoniously as a Trans person.
Tucker FitzGerald – Graphic Design
Tucker FitzGerald is a local graphic designer, a former professor of visual communication, and a full-time student of social justice, poetry, and hope. He is helping raise four amazing kids, one of whom has taught him a lot about gender and authenticity. See more of his work at TuckerLFitzGerald.com
Diwa and Yolanda Cain – Events Assistants
Diwa and Yolanda Cain are excited to be a part of this year’s conference. They have been active with the conference in various ways over the last four years. They are proud parents and grandparents. Throughout the year Diwa works to build community among POC trans-identified people while Yolanda works to provide support and space for all partners.