The expertise available within the Gender Odyssey conference is among the best in North America. Our experts come primarily from within our own gender communities. The many trailblazers who contribute their time and knowledge are the most valuable resource Gender Odyssey has to offer. The amazing presenters who are a part of Gender Odyssey’s programming each year make up a collective powerhouse of informed, dedicated, and history-making people. You won’t want to miss this powerful life-changing conference!
Confirmed Keynote Speakers for 2014
Gender Odyssey is honored to announce the first of our 2014 keynote speakers, Eli Vasquez, who will offer us an insider’s perspective on transgender issues and advocacy in Ecuador. Vasquez will surely be an inspiration to heart, intellect and soul throughout our 13th anniversary conference in Seattle, Washington.
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.
Michele Andrasik, PhD, is the HVTN social scientist. As a clinical health psychologist with faculty appointments in the University of Washington (UW) Department of Global Health, UW Center for AIDS Research Sociobehavioral and Prevention Research Core, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, she utilizes community-based participatory research and mixed methods approaches to investigate and address health disparities among marginalized populations (i.e., trans*, men who have sex with men, homeless).
Troy Armstrong is a pangender person of colour and a long-time activist. Much of their work has been in support of queer communities, including founding the Pride Centre for LGBT persons at the University of Ottawa in 1996. They currently live in Toronto, Canada, where they are working on changing laws to improve access to transgender health care and to affirm freedom of gender identity and expression beyond binary categories.
Jacqui Beck is an artist, art instructor, and creativity coach. Her project, Gender Personal, explores gender variance through art and poetry. Jacqui interviewed eight people who are gender non-conforming and created paintings and poetry based on these experiences. Jacqui has a 21 year old transgender son who participated in the Gender Personal project. Jacqui’s artwork is on exhibit at the 2014 Gender Odyssey conference.
Marci Bowers, MD, of Burlingame, CA, is viewed as a pioneer in the field of gender reassignment surgery and is the first transgender woman to perform the surgery. After practicing in Trinidad, CO, where she was the subject of the WE TV series Sex Change Hospital, she relocated to San Mateo, CA. She is a frequent media commentator on transgender issues, having appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tyra Banks Show, and as the subject of a Discovery Health documentary.
Gail Broder, MHS, is a community engagement project manager at the HVTN. Gail works with and supports educators and community members at over 25 HIV vaccine trial sites internationally as they do the difficult work of educating communities and raising awareness about preventive HIV vaccine research, recruiting participants into vaccine trials, developing culturally relevant materials, and spreading messages about the promise that a preventive HIV vaccine holds for the future.
Jeff Brody is licensed as a mental health counselor and is board certified as an art therapist (www.jeffbrodycounseling.com). He has over 20 years of experience counseling adults, adolescents, children, and families. Jeff specializes in working both with people on the gender spectrum and on the Aspergers/autism spectrum. Since 1999 he has been a facilitator for Compass, a Boston-based FTM support group, and he is a member of WPATH and the American Art Therapy Association. He has presented at numerous gender-related, art therapy, and other professional conferences.
Cass has facilitated many conversations in his personal life and in his role as a sexual orientation and gender identity activist in the community. Cass is the founder and co-facilitator of a local trans* support group called Trans*Ponder where he facilitates conversations and workshops for the trans* community on a monthly basis. Topics have included (but are not limited to): navigating transition in life and in relationship(s), transitioning on the job, navigating family dynamics through transition, educating on what kind of life event and healthcare related resources are available within the community, natural transition options, medical transition options, and more.
Marco Castro-Bojorquez is the community educator located in the Western Regional Office of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and people with HIV.
Cameron Kyle Combs (aka Kyle Jones) is a butch genderqueer writer, parent, and geek. Cam is active in his community as a board member and facilitator for Pizza Klatch, a group providing support and advocacy for LGBTQQIA youth and their allies in high schools. Along with parenting and community involvement, he contributes to the greater conversation about gender, kink, parenting, and polyamorous relationships on his blog, Butchtastic.net. Cam is passionate about writing, dark beer, and daring greatly.
Dr. Curtis Crane – After completing more than 10 years of post-medical-school surgical training in urology, reconstructive urology, plastic surgery and a fellowship in transgender surgery in Ghent, Belgium with Dr. Monstrey, Dr. Curtis Crane joined the world-renowned Dr. Michael Brownstein in San Francisco to form Brownstein & Crane Surgical Services. Dr. Brownstein instructed Dr. Crane in his unique FTM top surgery technique which he has perfected during his more than 35 years of practice.
Andrew Cray is a policy analyst for LGBT Progress at American Progress. His work includes advocating for LGBT inclusion and engagement in state implementation of the Affordable Care Act; raising awareness of health insurance policies that improve coverage for LGBT families; and improving outcomes and support for LGBT youth.
Jennifer Creson, MA, LMHCA, is a queer femme psychotherapist in private practice in Seattle. She specializes in working with trans* folks (adolescent to older adult) and their partners and families, including non-traditional relationship and family structures. She is poly and kink fluent and sex and body positive. She approaches her clients with deep empathy, creating a safe space to explore and create healthy, lasting change.
Sam Davis is a genderqueer adult who has maintained their authentic gender expression at work, school, and other activities through community activism and support networks with others who respect gender-nonconforming identity. Sam is one of the original organizers of the San Francisco Trans March, and currently works as a licensed clinical social worker in a crisis mental health setting. Sam has facilitated many genderqueer support groups, led Speaker’s Bureau projects, conducted graduate research on mental health and sexuality in the trans community, and organized trans community events for over 10 years.
Dana Ebert is Director of Career and Employment Services at Casa Ruby in Washington, DC. She has worked on progressive grassroots campaigns in Washington, DC, and her home state of Florida. As an openly trans woman, she also has worked to improve conditions for LGBTQ individuals in the corporate sector. In her free time, Dana is a skater, artist, and avid collector of music.
Jacob Eleazer is a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He is a research fellow at the Palm Center, and a chapter leader with SPART*A’s transgender group. His dissertation deals with the effects of the ban on transgender service members.
Avery Fisher MS, LMHCA, is a queer trans Somatic Experiencing therapist with a private practice in Seattle. He specializes in working with folks to resolve trauma symptoms and relieve chronic stress that comes from acute traumas and/or the traumas of oppression and marginalization in civilization. Avery has facilitated meditation groups for currently and formerly homeless adults for five years. He believes self-care and self-love are powerful forces for social change.
Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, Policy Advisor for the Racial and Economic Justice Initiative at the National Center for Transgender Equality, focuses on expanding and enhancing the organization’s work for transgender people of color and those with low or no-income. Raffi previously worked in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as Legislative Director for a state representative, worked as the LGBT Liaison for the City of Somerville, Massachusetts, and was the Legislative and Policy Staffer for the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.
Kris Gleason is a certified transition coach and owner of Sea Change Coaching. He works with people who want to powerfully navigating major life transitions. He specializes in gender transition, career transition, and transitioning into recovery.
Jane Goto - Utilizing skills honed over 20 years as a corporate trainer and adult educator, Goto also draws on her personal experience of “growing up intersexed” in her popular guest presentations at local campuses. In her role as first responder for the Intersex Society of North America and an international diagnoses-specific support group, Jane has assisted adults, teens, and families dealing with the secrecy, lies, trauma, and shame traditionally associated with an intersex diagnosis.
Sandy Hirsch is a speech pathologist specializing in voice for 25 years. She is one of the world’s recognized transgender voice therapists. She is coauthor and editor of the definitive text on transgender voice: Adler, R; Hirsch, S; Mordaunt, M. (2012; 2006) Voice and Communication Therapy with the Transsexual/Transgender Client: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide. San Diego, Plural. Sandy has a background in theatre, voice, travel, and languages. She brings a unique perspective to voice transition.
Mary Irons is a board member and facilitator for the Washington Gender Alliance (WGA). She has been in the field of social work for 16 years. She is currently a wraparound facilitator for King County’s MIDD wraparound process. Mary is the mother, and custodial parent, of two wonderful boys: nine-year-old Joe and six-year-old Jon. Mary is the recipient of the volunteer of the year award from the NUHSA (North Urban Human Service Alliance) for her work with the WGA.
Shelly Karuna, MD, is the director of clinical development at the HVTN, and faculty in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She was the clinical trials physician for the HVTN’s most recent phase 2b trial that enrolled transgender women, HVTN 505. She contributes to the development of the HVTN’s trial portfolio and to the design of phase 1-3 trials of HIV vaccines and combination HIV prevention approaches.
Axel Keating he/him & they/them Axel is a disabled, Hard of Hearing, white, queer, intersex, femme, non-binary, trans activist in New York City. He is a sophomore studying applied psychology and gender and sexuality studies with a minor in American Sign Language at New York University. His academic interests include the intersections of psychology, social justice, queer studies, disability, and Deaf culture. He is passionate about music, sex education, peaches, and otters. He works at the NYU LGBTQ Student Center as an OUTSpoken Peer Educator.
Zander Keig, MSW is an award winning speaker, writer and community organizer. Zander holds three Master’s degrees: MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, MTS in Theology and Religion, and MSW in Clinical Social Work. In service to the FTM community, he is Acquisitions Editor for Transgress Press and co-editor of Letters for My Brothers and Manning Up, published by Transgress Press: www.transgresspress.org. Zander resides in Northern California with his lovely wife, Margaret.
Mara Keisling is the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, which strives to eliminate discrimination and violence against transgender people by working to improve policies at the local, state, and federal level, including those related to employment, health care, housing and homelessness, police/jails, police harassment, safe schools, and identity documents.
Aydin Kennedy, MSW, ACSW, is the coordinator for the Transgender Health Program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, a medical and mental health program serving trans* adults in the South Los Angeles area. He has counseled trans* youth, adults, and their families for the last 5 years and has been conducting in-service trainings for service providers for over 10 years. He is also the founder of the Stonewall Alliance Center’s community counseling program in Chico, CA.
Kimberly Krichbaum has always had a passion for understanding their inner world including all the feelings about gender, and also helping others explore themselves. Kim has being facilitating workshops since 1981, most recently as executive director and facilitator of Heart of Now. Kimberly believes that the best way for folks to learn is experience, so all Kim’s workshops will center around experiential exercises where you discover yourself.
Sophie Labelle is from Montreal, Quebec, where she organizes the first transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming youth summer camp in Canada. She is a transgender activist and politician, as well as the author of three children’s books. She studies Education at Université du Québec à Montréal.
Erica Laurentz – Professional history: Retired department chair, T.C.C. Criminal Justice program; former defense attorney, deputy prosecutor; former police officer, detective; trained shamanic healer/teacher. Personal history includes: victim of sexual abuse and torture, victim of bullying between 5th and 12th grades; martial arts training changing my life; living openly as a transgender woman.
Kimberly Lee is a registered yoga Instructor and is absolutely honored to be able to share her knowledge of yoga with the transgender community. As a mom of a beautiful transgender daughter, Kim understands the importance of finding your authentic self. Kim hopes that you will find yoga to be a source of deep inspiration and comfort in honoring your true self. Namaste.
Ethan Lopez he/him Ethan is a femme, queer, trans activist in Riverside, California. He is currently attending Riverside Community College. His academic interests include sex education and ASL. He is an artist, actor, and selfie-enthusiast. He is the social chair for the Empowered Youth Project and the president and coordinator of the Inland Empire FTM Group. He also draws comics for Trans Student Equality Resources.
Dr. Tony Mangubat, a native of Seattle, is a graduate of the University of Washington Medical School, studied surgery at the University of Kentucky and trained in cosmetic surgery with Dr. Richard C. Webster, a legend in the field of cosmetic surgery. He performs a full spectrum of cosmetic procedures including many trans-procedures. He lectures worldwide on body sculpting procedures and is a leader amongst his peers. He has served on several Academy boards. LaBelleVieCosmetic.com
Zack Marshall is a trans guy with a disability and a passion for community-based participatory research, social justice, and supporting the creation of more welcoming and accessible nonprofit organizations. He has worked with Griffin Centre since 2004 and co-developed Compass and sprOUT—collaborative programs created for and with LGBTQ people labelled with intellectual disabilities. In 2005, he co-founded the Cross-Disabilities/Genders/Sexualities initiative in Toronto. He is interested in anti-racist social movements that build connections across disability and gender diversity.
Kory Martin-Damon has been an integral part of Gender Odyssey since its inception in 2001. Of Cuban-Venezuelan descent, she identifies as transgender and her path includes a transition from female to male and then back to female. Kory is a prolific writer, loves to read, walk, and spend time with friends.
Dr. Toby Meltzer graduated from LSU Medical School in 1983 and is board certified in both general and plastic surgery. He is an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Meltzer began at Oregon Health Sciences University in 1990, and started private practice in 1996 in Portland, OR, and then moved his practice to Scottsdale, AZ, in 1993. He has privileges at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Campus Greenbaum Surgery Center and Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Campus. He performs approximately 200 Genital Surgery (GRS) cases per year. He performs both MTF and FTM genital surgery, facial feminization, chest surgery, repairs, and revisions.
Hayden Mora serves as director of strategic relations at the Human Rights Campaign. His focus is on long-term strategic planning, systems design, and program integration. He also works to anchor the HIV, POC, Transgender, and other crosscutting priorities of the HRC Foundation. Hayden brings his experience in organizational development, strategic planning, and capacity building to support these efforts.
Oblio has extensive experience presenting on many topics. Ze presents regularly for organizations and communities on issues of family, gender socialization, cultural awareness in counseling, and LGBTQI concerns (resume of presentations available upon request). Hir career and community role involves facilitating healthy dialogues between people in curiosity and conflict, including: professionals, professionals and clients, communities and underrepresented populations, individuals and their families, and people in intimate relationships. Ze is also an educator, compassionately assisting people to develop an understanding of complex intersecting identities (i.e., gender, gender identity, ethnicity, ability, SES, age, sexual orientation, education, religion) while examining their own, often hidden, personal biases. Hir evaluations have been remarkable, and ze can provide references to this regard upon request.
Patricia Brown Peterson, MA, is a mental health counselor practicing in Bellevue, WA, treating anxiety, depression, grief, and trauma, using psychodynamic, strength-based, holistic therapies, and EMDR. She provides individual therapy and support groups for transgender adults and their families—parents, spouses, significant others, children, siblings, extended family, and friends. Sharing experiences of the gender transition of a loved one with others on a similar path teaches us useful information about the process and expands our understanding of humanity.
Nyk Robertson is currently a graduate student in the Gender and Cultural Studies program at Simmons University in Boston, MA. She has held offices in the LGBT student group for all four years of her undergraduate program at Emporia State University in Emporia, KS, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Ryan K. Sallans, MA, is a public speaker, diversity trainer, consultant, publisher, and author specializing in health care and workplace issues surrounding the LGBTQIA community, eating disorders, and body image. Since 2005, Ryan has traveled the nation sharing his transition story with diverse audiences. In 2013 Ryan founded Scout Publishing LLC which is an independent publishing house dedicated to stories and literature surrounding gender, sexuality, and identity. He is also the author of Second Son: Transitioning To My Destiny, Love and Life.
Neo L. Sandja is an entrepreneur, author, spiritual leader, speaker, trainer, and life coach whose life’s mission is to transform people’s lives from the inside out. He’s the founder of FTM Fitness World and the FTM Foundation, and author of the upcoming book Right Mind, Wrong Body—The Ultimate TRANS guide to be complete and live a fulfilled life. Neo is very passionate about business, financial intelligence, emotional intelligence, spirituality, communication, and marketing.
Shannon Solie, MA, LMHCA, holds a Master of Arts from Seattle University in existential-phenomenological psychology, a humanistic approach based in philosophy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington with an emphasis in the bio-psychology of women. Her education, as well as her professional background as a sexuality educator, has provided her with a diverse education in the human condition and the intersecting identities that determine how we each move through the world.
Marla Stewart is a professional sex, intimacy, and relationship coach and sex educator, and the founder of Velvet Lips LLC. With a background in human sexuality and gender studies from San Francisco State University and Georgia State University, she has conducted workshops at conferences, and nonprofit and private organizations, as well as at universities. She has been featured on many radio shows, documentaries, books, and magazines and has been invited to speak at universities around the country.
Sé Sullivan is a white Queer activist scholar who has been active in seeking the rights of marginalized individuals and communities for over 30 years. Sé became the first college graduate in their immediate family at the age of 45, and is a survivor of the psychiatric practice of reparative therapy as a child. Sé is dedicated to working towards the destruction of the Medical Industrial Complex, and dismantling white supremacy as a structural framework in Settler Colonialism.
Brynn Tannehill is a Naval Academy graduate and former Naval Aviator. She is the director of advocacy for SPART*A, an LGBT service member organization. She also writes for the Huffington Post, the New Civil Rights Movement, Bilerico, and the Advocate.
Liesl Theron is the co-founder of Gender DynamiX, the first NGO in Africa promoting freedom of expression of gender identity, focusing on transgender, transsexual, and gender-nonconforming persons. Her master’s degree at the University of Cape Town explored the forming of identity of cisgender partners of masculine-identifying trans* people. She has written a number of articles. She serves on the advisory board of GATE (Global Advocates for Trans Equality) and on various international conference planning committees.
Dr. James Thomas is a laryngologist—an ENT doctor or otolaryngologist who limits his practice to voice disorders. He trained in Pennsylvania and Illinois followed by a fellowship at Loyola University in Chicago. His laryngology practice is in Portland, Oregon. His current involvement with vocal pitch change is as a surgical specialist of the voice. He has been developing the above procedure (FemLar) over the past eight years and has presented preliminary results at previous meetings.
Harper Jean Tobin coordinates all aspects of advocacy on federal administrative policies and regulations as Director of Policy for NCTE. When she is not engaging with federal agencies and the current administration, she works to provide information for the public about laws and policies that affect transgender people. Harper Jean previously worked at the National Senior Citizens Law Center’s Federal Rights Project, where she maintained a large attorney listserv, provided training and technical assistance to public interest lawyers, and wrote about court access issues for legal, policy and general audiences. Harper Jean’s writing on transgender equality and other issues has been widely published in academic and general outlets. She received degrees in law and social work from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and is an alumna of Oberlin College.
Crispin Torres is a gay trans masculine LGBT educator, activist, and musician from Chicago. Before joining Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office as a community educator, he taught at both high school and university levels with an emphasis on LGBT history, women’s liberation, and television and film. He travels all over the country to engage Local LGBT communities with lambda’s mission and to offer them tools to empower themselves to create the change that they envision for themselves.
Tess Vo is a racialized gender-nonconforming person with a disability and is invested in social justice, the creation of equitable spaces, and cultural production that interrogates dominant ideologies on race, disability, migration, gender identity and queerness. Tess supervises reachOUT, an LGBTQ program centering on the needs of racialized, newcomer, and disabled queer and trans youth in Toronto, Canada. Tess also directed and produced the award-winning documentary Our Compass, which was co-written by LGBTQ youth labelled with intellectual disabilities.
Dr. Burt Webb began private practice in Scottsdale, AZ, in 1984. He has been working with Dr. Meltzer in 2003 and was further trained in FTM genital surgery by Dr. Des Johnson from Portland, OR. He graduated from Tulane Medical School in 1980. He did his residency at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ. He is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. From 1987 to 2000, he was an OBGYN professor for the Scottsdale Memorial Hospital Osborn Family Practice Residency Program. Since 1994, he has been an assistant professor of OBGYN at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Dr. Jillian Weiss is professor of law and society at Ramapo College of New Jersey, where her research area is gender identity and law. She also represents private clients before the EEOC and courts regarding transgender employment discrimination. She serves on the board of directors of Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest US national legal organization whose mission is to safeguard and advance the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and policy work. Dr. Weiss has consulted with private and public employers, including Harvard University, Boeing, and New York City. She is chair of the annual Transgender Law Institute at the LGBT Bar Association.
Kayley Whalen serves on the board of directors of the Ingersoll Gender Center, volunteers with Casa Ruby in DC, and is the executive office board liaison at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Her activism and writing focuses on transgender issues, drug policy, and humanism. She is a former DC Rollergirl and her story “Talk Derby to Me” was published in Gender Outlaws the Next Generation. She is a multiracial white and Latina transgender woman.
Fresh! White is a certified professional coach, writer, speaker, and facilitator. Principal of Affirmative Acts Coaching, Fresh! helps you align with your inner resources for your professional, personal, or spiritual growth and change.
Cecilia Wilson grew up as a young boy in Houston, Texas, in the 1960s. In 1988, he decided to begin transitioning to become the woman he had always dreamed about being. In August 1990, Cecilia was reborn as a new woman. Today, Rev. Cecilia Wilson is an ordained minister, author, and conference speaker. She travels across the country speaking at churches and conferences, and teaching seminars on issues related to being Christian and Transgender.
Adam Yerke, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist licensed in California. As a transgender man, Dr. Yerke is devoted to improving conditions for his community by contributing to the field of transgender literature and education. He has presented at several professional conferences and published peer-reviewed articles about transgender people. He currently serves as faculty member for three universities in Southern California and performs clinical assessment and treatment with forensic populations.
Ro Yoon is an AIDS activist and serves as community educator for Seattle HIV Vaccine Trials Unit with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She actively works with local community partners to address health disparities within a social justice framework.