Join Us For the 15th Annual Gender Odyssey Conference in 2016!
Gender Odyssey’s conference programming is focused on the needs and interests of transgender and gender-nonconforming people from across North America and around the world. Gender Odyssey is a place where we can gather together, learn from one another, and celebrate our growing communities. By creating a place where we can share our collective experience, Gender Odyssey’s primary objective is to offer tools to navigate obstacles and provide pathways to individual and community empowerment.
Our successful track record of continuous growth and innovative programming has inspired a very high attendee return rate as well as a solid reputation for thought-provoking, quality workshops.
Gender Odyssey is open to all. Anyone may attend regardless of gender identity or gender expression. We embrace the presence and participation of our families, partners, and allies. We encourage the attendance of those who serve this community to expand their knowledge and understanding of gender nonconformity and transgender issues.
2015 Conference Schedule
(2016 Schedule not yet available; info. below is representative of our conference offerings.)
We want to help make sure that everyone who wants to be here, can be.
Early Registration Pricing: We offer the lowest pricing possible for your conference registration if you register early. Your early registration dollars are critical to this event as they help us cover important conference expenses such as website work, email marketing, web hosting, database development, etc. This work and its resulting expenses are critical to ensuring our ability to spread the word as much as possible and make conference production as streamlined as possible. If you are able, please register early–it makes a difference.
Accessibility and Scholarships: There are a number of ways in which we work to enable accessibility, from ensuring that the conference venues are wheelchair accessible to coming up with creative ways to keep costs down. Learn more about available scholarships.
Help Others Attend This Powerful Conference! For those who are able, we encourage you to donate to the scholarship fund. Your generosity has an immediate, direct impact as 100% of donated funds go to individuals who want to attend the conference.
Past Keynote Speakers
Gender Odyssey 2015
Kate Bornstein is an author, performance artist, playwright, and public speaker who has written several award-winning books in the field of Women and Gender Studies, including Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us, and My Gender Workbook. Her 2006 book, Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws, has become an underground bestseller, propelling Kate into an international position of advocacy for marginalized youth.
She has earned two citations of honor from the New York City Council and garnered praise from civil rights groups around the globe. Her latest book, a memoir from Beacon Press, was released this May with the title: A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today. Kate lives in New York City with her girlfriend, three cats, two dogs, and a turtle.
Andrea Jenkins is an award-winning poet and writer. Most recently she was awarded a Bush fellowship and a fellowship in the Cultural Community Leadership Institute at Intermedia Arts, sponsored by the Bush Foundation, and named a fellow in the Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights Center. Last year, she won the Verve Grant for Spoken Artist at Intermedia Arts and the Naked Stages Grant for Emerging Performance Artist at Pillsbury House Theatre. Andrea has earned degrees in community economic development, human services/interpersonal communications, and creative writing.
She has performed with the Outward Spiral, Mama Mosaic, and many others. Andrea has self-published three chapbooks of poems called tributaries: poems celebrating black history, Pieces of a Scream: New and Selected Poems, and The “T” is NOT Silent. She is currently co-curator of the Queer Voices Reading Series at Intermedia Arts. She has been published in several anthologies including Gender Outlaws Two: The Next Generation, and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Civil Rights: A Public Policy Agenda for Uniting a Divided America, edited by Dr. Wallace Swan.
Andrea works as a senior policy aide to City Councilmember Elizabeth Glidden, serves as board chair at Intermedia Arts, and lives in Minneapolis. She will surely be an inspiration to heart, intellect, and soul throughout our 14th-anniversary conference in Seattle, Washington.
Gender Odyssey 2014
Elizabeth “Eli” Vasquez is an Ecuadorian attorney and the founder of Proyecto Transgenero (Project Transgender), an organization in Quito that has spearheaded the rights movement for transgender and intersex people in Ecuador. Described as a “political proposal” as well as a non-profit organization, Proyecto Transgenero’s work includes legal, social, cultural and art interventions and aims to strengthen trans identity in Ecuador. Proyecto Transgenero was born in 2002 and includes the programs Legal Patrol, Casa Trans, TransTango, and the Transfeminist Activist Training Program. In addition, Project Transgender promoted the creation of the Ecuadorian Confederation of Trans and Intersex Communities (CONFETRANS).
We hope you are as excited as we are to hear Vasquez share how Ecuadorian trans culture is influenced by tradition, political changes, street families, and so many other factors that differ from and progress beyond our Western medical-centric trans culture.
Aidan Key: Organizer, educator, and longtime activist Aidan Key founded Gender Odyssey in 2001. Since the late ‘90s, Aidan has produced and directed twelve national conferences, facilitated support groups, and developed numerous community- based workshops. His past collaborations include teaming up with Three Dollar Bill cinema to launch the Seattle Translations Film Festival and co-founding Bay Area Gender Spectrum in 2007. Some of Key’s trans inclusion policy work involved the WA Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and Seattle Public Schools.
More recently, Aidan Key authored the Trans Bodies, Trans Selves chapter covering topics related to the support and understanding of transgender children (Oxford University Press 2014). He is a sought-after speaker and has often been featured in the national media, including the Oprah Winfrey Show, NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Al Jazeera America, and Larry King Live. Aidan is a proud father of his daughter Grey, grateful brother to his twin Brenda, and lives in Seattle with his life partner and wife, Kristin.
Gender Odyssey 2013
Dr. Jamison Green is widely considered one of the best educators and policy advisors on transgender and transsexual issues. As a transsexual man, he has shared his own experience and expertise through numerous speaking engagements, publications, and media appearances. He is president-elect of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), and is a founding director of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute. He has also served on the board of directors of FTM International, TransYouth Family Allies (TYFA), and several other leading trans-related organizations. He earned his doctorate in law in 2011 at Manchester Metropolitan University (England). Dr. Green’s inspiring and informative book Becoming a Visible Man received the 2004 Sylvia Rivera Award for Best Book in Transgender Studies; was a Lambda Literary Award finalist; is used as a text in numerous Universities; and remains one of the most popular books on the subject of trans experience.
Dr. Michele Angello works with gender-variant youth as well as adults. She offers individual, couples, group, and family therapy, as well as corporate education and training on a variety of issues concerning sexuality and 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 other television shows and documentaries. She is also an adjunct professor in the graduate program of human sexuality at Widener University, and developed the first graduate course in the U.S. that focuses on clinical issues in transgender communities. Her private practice is in Pennsylvania.
Cecilia Chung, San Francisco Health Commissioner, is a nationally recognized civil rights leader who advocates for HIV/AIDS awareness and care, LGBT equality, and social justice, and has dedicated herself to ending stigma, discrimination, and violence in all communities. An immigrant from Hong Kong, Cecilia has lived in San Francisco for over 20 years and has worked locally and internationally to advance equality and justice. As an Asian transgender woman living openly with HIV, she led the board of directors of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration; chaired the San Francisco Human Rights Commission; and designed the nation’s most ambitious publicly funded program addressing economic justice within the transgender community. She has served on San Francisco’s Transgender Discrimination Taskforce; as president of the SF Pride Board; on the board of the Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center; as a founding producer of Trans March; as the first deputy director of the Transgender Law Center; and on California Attorney General Kamala Harris’s Civil Rights Enforcement Working Group. In late 2012, Cecilia was presented with the Levis Strauss & Co. Pioneer Award, among many recognitions and accolades she has received throughout the years.
Gender Odyssey 2012
Janet Mock, Staff 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.
Gene Tagaban, back by popular demand, is a noted Tlingit storyteller and actor, sharing his wisdom and talent via dance, native flute and storytelling. His heritage is Cherokee, Tlingit and Filipino. Raised in Alaska, Gene has fifteen years experience as a trainer, counselor, motivator and speaker. He has uniquely integrated his interpersonal skills, Native American heritage and performance artistry with traditional training and counseling techniques to develop inspirational and results-oriented performances; presentations and personal growth work with youth, adolescents and adults.
Johanna Olson, MD, is an adolescent medicine physician specializing in the care of transgender youth, gender-nonconforming children, and youth with HIV. Board certified in pediatrics and adolescent medicine, Dr. Olson has been an assistant professor at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for the past five years. She has appeared several times on national television to educate audiences about the needs of transgender youth. Dr. Olson speaks around the country about the importance of providing quality mental health and medical care for gender-nonconforming children and adolescents.
Gender Odyssey 2011
Chaz Bono, the only child of famed entertainers Sonny and Cher, is an LGBT rights advocate, author, and speaker. Chaz recently began gender transition in the public eye, where he continues to impact change and create awareness and visibility for this cause. Chaz has written a new book, Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man, available this spring. He is profiled in the 2011 Sundance premier, Becoming Chaz, a powerful film documenting his gender transition. Chaz is a longtime activist for LGBT rights and a student at Antioch University. Chaz currently lives in Los Angeles with his partner, Jennifer Elia. (Chaz hosted our Thursday evening’s meet & greet.)
Jana Marcus is known for her compassionate and revealing photographic images of underground subcultures, and now brings to book format her award-winning work, Transfigurations, a startling and ground-breaking photographic series on the transgender community. Transfigurations explores transsexuals and their notions of masculinity and femininity as they change gender identities. Discovering that gender is both real and illusory, natural and constructed, Marcus’ photographs shed light on the transformation from one sex/gender to another. Jana received her MFA from San Jose State University, a BA in Community Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and studied photography at The School Of Visual Arts in New York City.
Cheryl Kilodavis is a published author, strategic marketer, and social entrepreneur. The process of accepting both of her sons’ interests and passions lead Cheryl to write My Princess Boy. It is the story of a boy who likes pretty things the color pink, sparkly dresses, and ballet tutus. The book’s strong anti-bullying message went viral on the Internet, catching the attention of national and international media. Originally written to explain her younger son’s uniqueness to teachers and fellow students, My Princess Boy became more than just a message for them it became a movement of acceptance for every child who has ever felt left out or misunderstood just because they’re different. Cheryl has a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of the Pacific, and an MBA from Seattle University.
Dean Spade is an Assistant Professor at Seattle University School of Law. He teaches Administrative Law, Poverty Law, Law and Social Movements and Critical Perspectives on Transgender Law. In 2002, Dean founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color. While working at SRLP, Dean also taught classes focusing on sexual orientation, gender identity and law at Columbia and Harvard Law Schools.
Gene Tagaban, noted Tlingit storyteller and actor, shares his wisdom and talent via dance, native flute and storytelling. His heritage is Cherokee, Tlingit and Filipino. Raised in Alaska, Gene has fifteen years experience as a trainer, counselor, motivator and speaker. He has uniquely integrated his interpersonal skills, Native American heritage and performance artistry with traditional training and counseling techniques to develop inspirational and results-oriented performances; presentations and personal growth work with youth, adolescents and adults.