Gender Odyssey offers specialized programming for youth (ages 13-17) and young adults (ages 18-22).
Created by gender-diverse and transgender youth themselves, these workshops and the overall conference experience will help youth and young adults across North America connect, develop friendships, and learn about themselves and others.
By creating these opportunities, we hope to help our youth and young adults empower themselves and decrease their own risk for some very real problems, such as physical, emotional, and psychological abuse, homelessness, drug use, and suicide.
Read on for this year’s workshops! You can also download the Schedule Grid (PDF) here.
Youth and Young Adult Welcome – Icebreakers, Intros, and Rainbow Chickens
What happens when you put a group of trans youth together in a room with rainbow chickens and sugar? Be sure to attend this kick-off event to find out! There will be icebreakers, group games, and intros to help you meet other attendees and find people to hang out with over the weekend! Come find out who else is here—meet new people and make new friends. We’ll also provide an overview of the conference program and highlight the key events and things to check out throughout the weekend.
What do unicorns and gingerbread people have to do with gender? Join us for this interactive session to find out! In this workshop, we’ll go through a gender-mapping activity to explore ways to define your gender and tell your story. Is there a gender that fits you or have you crafted your own personalized blend that better expresses who you are? What language do you use to describe yourself? This activity will provide us with language and ideas to help us explore the wide spectrum of gender identities and expressions in the world.
The Three Ts—Transgender, Therapy, and Transition: How the Therapist Can Help You Get Where You’re Going
The therapist’s primary job is to help you in your process of discovery, awareness, and understanding of your gender identity, and help you get where you’re going in terms of living a more gender-congruent life. Each person is unique and has their own pace, process, and path. Therapy should be a helpful tool to assist you in your individual transition/adaptation process. The therapist can also help with family issues, school transition, relationships, social adaptations, legal name-change process, referrals for hormone therapy and surgical procedures, as well as aftercare as needed. Come and learn the elements of a brief yet thorough therapeutic and educational process designed to help each person reach a life of increased gender congruence.
Stories from the Community (TW)
Join us for this panel and Q&A session with a diverse group of trans-identified adults from across our community. They will share stories about their journey and discuss how they have learned to successfully navigate life’s challenges. From school, work, and social situations, to friends, families and beyond, you will see that our futures hold endless possibilities!
Mindfulness and Self-Care: An Interactive Experience
Positive coping techniques, self-care, and mindful body awareness are integral to navigating the daily obstacles and societal barriers that transgender and gender-nonconforming young adults encounter daily. The ability to safely regulate internal emotions in a mindful, controlled manner leads to increased productivity, decreased depression, and overall more positive daily living with less anxiety. Understanding how to combat negative feelings with evidence-based mindfulness and self-care techniques allows the individual the ability to reframe thoughts in a safe and healthy manner. This session will provide a safe space for exploring interactive methodologies surrounding mindfulness awareness, cognitive reframing, and access to techniques for improving self-care specific to the needs of trans and gender-nonconforming young adults.
Prominent Individuals and Identities in Transgender History
This session is about providing a historical snapshot of individuals and groups who have helped shape and move the history of transgender care. Highlighting early pioneers and identities around the world and their impact on the care we see today. Acknowledging that unpacking gender identity is complicated when understood from a singular viewpoint that is often retold by a Hetero-Cis-normative perceptive.
All Rise for the Transgender Flag Court (TW)
Did you know there’s a flag for the Transgender community? Some folks in the community think the light blue, white, and pink colors, remind them of a baby gender-reveal party and doesn’t represent them fully. What do you think of the transgender flag? ALL RISE FOR THE TRANSGENDER FLAG COURT workshop is your chance to take a side, pro or con, and share your thoughts on the design and what it means to you. Then a jury of your peers will decide who made a stronger case. This workshop will give you a chance to analyze, discuss, and argue about a symbol that flies for you at every Pride parade. Everybody is a winner when we talk about the powerful symbols in our community.
Know Your Rights: What Trans Youth Should Know About the Law
Navigating legal, medical, educational and other institutions as a trans youth can be a major source of stress and anxiety. This workshop will teach you the basics that you need to know about legal issues that frequently come up for trans youth, as well as identify steps that you can take to navigate these challenges. Topics covered include name and gender marker changes on identity documents, safety and access to education in schools, being trans in the workplace, health care access, and legal developments affecting trans youth at the federal and state levels.
Art, Identity, and YOU!
From ancient Egyptian tomb paintings to contemporary activist works of today, LGBTQ+ identified artists have expressed their own identities through art. “Art, Identity, and You” will give you the chance to take a journey through a timeline of LGBTQ+ art history and witness the visual language of identity through art. Then, hear and see a visual progression of identity through self-portraiture from Casey Hoke (Point Foundation Scholar/ MTV Blogger/ GLSEN board member/ Design student at Cal Poly Pomona), a transgender man, and learn how he first expressed his own identity through art. Finally, it’ll be YOUR turn to express and share (optionally) your identity and ideas to creatively combat marginalization.
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.
Games and Conversations
Pictionary, banana slugs, and those infamous rainbow chickens are back! Join us for games and conversations with some of your new friends. Did you hear about something at a workshop that you want to know more about? Do you have questions that haven’t been answered yet? Mentors will be on hand to answer questions, facilitate discussions, and play group games as we ease into the third day of the conference.
The Road Not Taken
“Two genders diverged in the woods, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” There’s been a recent movement recognizing that the world is not binary, but gender stereotypes are strong, and hormone replacement therapy has an inherently binary path. So how do you travel off the path when so many forces are pulling you along their powerful binary current? In THE ROAD NOT TAKEN we will discuss the ways we chose to use, or not use, binary ideas and interventions in our journey to better align our gender expression with our identity. Conversation will focus on both non-binary and binary identities.
Typically SLAM POETRY is a spoken word poetry competition, where people recite their powerful poems, without props, then a jury selects a winner. (Un)SLAMMING POETRY aims to give a no-pressure, supportive, non-competitive platform for those who wish to express (verbally or written) your gender expression in front of your peers. Take what you’ve learned at Gender Odyssey and share your experience. Teen facilitator Nadja Dee will guide you through a simple, step-by-step workshop so you can get started (or continue) your spoken word journey. Whether you’re into journaling, poetry, rap, rhyme or haiku, you’ll have a space (and if wanted) a stage to share your spoken art. Don’t be shy, we will find a way to showcase your unique voice, while supporting your peers in their expression as well.
That’s a Wrap: Closing Activity
Every year it feels like this transtastic weekend has just started and now it’s ending. Are there topics we haven’t discussed yet, or things you want to explore a bit more? Want to connect one more time before heading back home? This session is an opportunity to ask questions and discuss any final topics before the conference wraps up. We’ll have mentors on hand to answer questions and facilitate discussions. We’ll share conference memories, make some mementos to take home, exchange contact info, and finish eating any leftover Red Vines and Sour Patch Kids hiding out in the room. Don’t miss this final opportunity to gather with new and old friends and wrap up this amazing weekend!