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Teen Program

Our teen programming is created by gender non-diverse and transgender youth themselves. These workshops and overall conference experience will help youth across North America connect, develop friendships, and learn about themselves and others.

By creating these opportunities, we hope to help our youth empower themselves and decrease their own risk for some very real problems, such as physical, emotional, and psychological abuse, homelessness, drug use, and suicide.

2017 Workshops

Below is the Schedule for Gender Odyssey Seattle’s Teen Program. You can also download the Schedule Grid (PDF) here.

Last updated: 08/09/17


4:30pm – 5:30pm

Teen Meet & Greet (Ages 13-21)
Join us at the Family & Teen Meet & Greet to connect with other conference attendees. Conference volunteers and veteran parents and participants will be on hand to answer your questions and provide guidance regarding conference events. Food will be available for purchase.
Location: Seattle University Cherry Street Market – located on the 2nd floor of the Student Center. 901 12th Ave, 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA 98122

5:45pm – 7:45pm

Family & Teen – All-Gender-Friendly Swim
Join us at the GO Family & Teen gender-friendly swim event to kick off the conference with a splash and connect with other conference attendees. This is a private event just for us at a local indoor pool. Wear whatever you’re comfortable swimming in. There will be a single occupancy tent for changing as well as regular gendered locker rooms available. Teen & Youth program facilitators and veteran parents will be on hand to answer your questions and provide guidance regarding conference events.
Location: Seattle University – Connelly Center/Eisiminger Fitness Center, 550 14th Ave

8:30am – 10:30am

Teen Welcome: Icebreakers, Intros, and Rainbow Chickens – Room 611
Facilitators: Gil Rich & Nadja Dee Witherbee
What happens when you put 75 trans teens 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 teens and find people to hang out with over the weekend! Come find out who else is here—meet new people and reunite with old friends. We’ll also provide an overview of the conference program and highlight the key events and things to check out throughout the weekend.

10:40am – 12:10pm

Gender Mapping – Room 611
Facilitators: Gil Rich & Nadja Dee Witherbee
What do unicorns and ginger bread cookies have to do with gender? Join us for this interactive session to find out! In this workshop, we’ll go through a gender-mapping (and cookie making!) activity to explore ways to define your gender. 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.

1:20pm – 2:50pm

Comic Making 101 – Room 611
Facilitator: Tatiana Gill, Comic Artist
Have you ever wanted to learn how comics and graphic novels are created, designed, illustrated, and put out into the world? Are you interested in exploring a new way to express yourself or your ideas? Join published local cartoonist and body positive illustrator Tatiana Gill in Comic Making 101. In this workshop, Tatiana will not only teach you how comics are created, but you’ll also get a hands-on class and make your very own. Provided are materials from pen and paper to a blank Marvel comic background cell sheet where you can drop in your own superhero or personal character creations. A “Don’t Miss This” event for those who like to draw, doodle, express themselves, or have always been curious about the world-wide phenomenon of comic books.

GO General Sessions Recommended for Teens:

Fertility Issues for Trans Youth: Puberty Blockers, Hormones, and Decision-Making through the Lens of Family-Building Options – Room 603
In our practices, more trans individuals are coming to us with the desire to have their own biological children. For those who have not had gonadectomy, this is a reality: transgender women are contributing their sperm and transgender men are getting pregnant and giving birth. This session will explore current and future options for transgender youth making choices about puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy. We focus on the process of making decisions about the timing of medical interventions from the perspective of future fertility, considering the viewpoints of youth and parents or guardians who will be giving legal consent for interventions.

Puberty Suppression: What, When & How? – Room 606
Making the decision to suppress a gender-nonconforming child’s biological puberty with “blockers” is complicated, and there is little consensus among medical providers about when, how, and how long to do so. Presented by Dr. Johanna Olson, this workshop will cover the basics of puberty suppression, including what puberty blockers are; indications for their use; potential benefits and side effects; and key elements of decision-making around suppression of puberty.

Constructive White Conversations – Room 612
This workshop is a gathering in which those of us who identify as white can speak freely and openly about race, racism, oppression, isolation, and all related issues. This is a place for white people who want to understand and dismantle racism, build and maintain white anti-racist community, and explore the nature of white identity. Our goal is to provide a welcoming place for white people to engage in a conversation about race, one that can be difficult for many of us at first. We hope to break the pattern of silence around this issue that has, for the most part, defined white life in the United States for centuries. We’ve found that the conversation is a starting point. We’re not experts. We’re white people trying to develop an understanding of racism and we’re learning as we go.

3:00pm – 4:30pm

Talking ‘Bout My Gender…ration / My Identity Flip-Books – Room 611
Facilitator: Nadja Dee Witherbee
Remember those “create your own monster, character, or object” flip books? The ones where you get to choose a TOP head, MIDDLE torso, and BOTTOM legs? Well, what if you could create your own “Identity Flip-Book?” You can create your very own, personalized identity, gender, orientation, and more flip-book.

In addition, the Gender Odyssey Teen program participants will collectively create a HUGE FLIP-BOOK to put on display for the entire conference to enjoy. Be a part of this fun activity, show who you are in pictures or words, and just like the lyrics from the classic rock band, The Who, “People try to put us down, talking ‘bout my GENDER…RATION! This is MY GENDER…RATION baby!”

4:50pm – 5:45pm

Keynote: The New Wave of Activism: Parents of Trans Children (Panel) – Room 607/608
For parents, once we settle into the journey of supporting our trans and gender-diverse children, some of us are drawn to take our Parent Bear passion and tenacity into a more public realm. Perhaps what began as an effort to protect the rights of your individual child has now lit your activist fire and you’re ready to fight for all trans kids. Where do you go from here? How can you get more involved? Hear from our panel of parents who felt the pull of activism and have been championing trans rights for our kids as well as the larger trans community.

7:30 – 9:30pm

Friday Evening Teen Social – Room 609

Facilitator: Nadja Dee Witherbee
It’s not just Pictionary, it’s PICTIONARY 2.0, the FUTURE OF PICTIONARY! Do you like Pictionary, the game where you draw and your teammates try to guess what word, phrase, or object you’re drawing? Well, you’d better hold your dry-erase markers because Co-Facilitator of the Teen Program, Nadja Dee Witherbee, is about to introduce you to PICTIONARY 2.0! Not only can you DRAW your secret answer, you’ll get to spin the wheel and land on a selection from DRAWING, SCULPTING from CLAY, CUTTING out of PAPER, or BUILDING with LEGOS. Plus, many of the “secret answers” are based around transgender terms and subjects. Prizes will be awarded. Get ready, players—this is NOT your parents’ Pictionary.

Film: KIKI
Welcome to the wonderland of the Kiki scene, where everyone is unique and “everything is in transition.” KIKI is a cinematic journey into the NYC Kiki Scene, a “society within a society” created and governed by LGBTQ youth. Through a strikingly intimate and visually daring lens, KIKI offers a riveting and complex insight into a safe space created and governed by LGBTQ youth of color, who are demanding happiness and political power. An exciting coming of age story about agency, resilience and the transformative artform that is voguing.

8:30am – 10:00am

Film: SO LONG SUBURBIA – Room 609
One sleepless night, as Sadie is surfing the web, she discovers that her best friend has unfollowed her on Instagram. Wounded, Sadie becomes a social recluse, just going directly from school to her night job. Encouraging her to get out and explore the city, Sadie’s mom gives her a one-year transit pass. Downtown one day, Sadie is befriended by Miami, a self-identified teenybopper who introduces Sadie to her clique of queers and misfits—and Sadie quickly becomes one of the group. Has she finally found a place where she belongs? Or will old insecurities, crushes, and drama get in the way?

GO General Sessions Recommended for Teens:

Shaving, Makeup, and Clothing, Oh My! All-gender Grooming Fun! – Room 618
How do I tame the forest cropping up on my face? How do I use makeup to accent and emphasize what I choose? What clothing frames my body in a way that I find gender affirming? These skills are not intuitive, and for most of us, were never offered in a way that supported our relationship with our gender. This multi-gender, hands-on, experiential skill share will offer us grooming tips and tricks for getting the results that we want in a supportive environment.

10:10 – 11:40am

You on Endorphins: How Moving Your Body and Eating for Energy = Happiness! – Room 611
Facilitator: Jen Gordon
But I hate exercising! I’m SO not sporty! PE freaks me out! OK, we get it. For lots of people, it’s a drag to imagine throwing on a pair of running shoes, going on a bike ride, or doing any other sweat-inducing activity. But isn’t it even more of a drag to feel tired and depressed more than you should? This workshop will shed light on the most awesome secret weapon and free happy-drug our bodies produce when we exercise. Endorphins baby!! They’re real and they work! Hear cool stories about famous transgender athletes and GO folks who can attest to the wonders of finding the right physical activity that rocks their world. Participants will be encouraged to talk through the hurdles of exercising and will be given realistic, fun suggestions to find their inner athlete, including the option to join an online supportive community called Team GenderCool! 

GO General Sessions Recommended for Teens:

Transgender 101 – Room 606
Facilitator Gil Rich
Are you new to the transgender community, looking for an introduction to various issues and terminology, open to some myth-busting, seeking that ideal jumping off place for an educational and inspirational conference experience? This session is for you! Join Gil Rich for a discussion that will ground you in the basics you’ll need to begin engaging with the trans and gender-diverse community. Fasten your seatbelts!

Identity & Privilege – Room 614
Identity shifts over time as we begin to know and understand ourselves better. We rarely ask ourselves where our ideas about identity and privilege stem from and how they affect our current space in the world. In this workshop, we will reflect and discover how our ideas on power, race, privilege, and space shape our identity. As one part of our identity changes, other identities may shift, creating new spaces and experiences. These new spaces may include new and different areas of privilege or the lack thereof. Let’s discover how our identities evolve and how to consciously step into these new roles.

12:45 – 2:15pm

Everything You Wanted to Know about Gender but Were Afraid to Ask – Room 611
Facilitator: Nadja Dee Witherbee, Gil Rich, and others TBD
In this workshop, we will explore our experience with gender. How do we express our gender in ways that feel authentic to our sense of self? How do others see our gender? What does it mean to be a boy, girl, or gender diverse? What does it mean to become who you are? There is no single right answer for these or other questions. We encourage straight up conversation about YOU and what you feel is true for yourself. This will be a safe space in which to talk, ask questions, and share experiences. Depending on the group we may also split up based on identity or topic for more focused discussions on topics such as using the restroom, dealing with dysphoria, finding clothing, tucking, binding, tips for your voice, hair, makeup, hormones, surgery, dealing with family/friends/school/work, dating, and relationships.

GO General Sessions Recommended for Teens:

Medical Needs of Trans Youth: Cross Hormones – Room 606
Facilitator: David Breland, MD
Transgender 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 a teen’s physical gender transition and their overall mental well-being. This workshop focuses primarily on medical intervention for transgender adolescent youth and will cover the use of cross hormones in this population.

Just One of the Guys – Room 608
How many of us, assigned female at birth, have felt robbed of the opportunity to bond with other men? Without this camaraderie of male friendships, we may feel that our social circles were, or perhaps still are, incomplete. Some of us have been able, as transgender adults, to find the male friendships we longed for in our youth. For transmen, moving from one experience to a completely new one—becoming “one of the guys”—can be a transition within a transition. Join us as we explore what it means to be a man in relationship to other men, and to experience our masculinity with other guys whose background and socialization differ from our own.
Note: This conversation will be centered on the experiences of trans men but is open to all who wish to listen, learn, and grow.

2:25 – 3:55pm

Stories from the Front: Teen Panel – Room 607
Facilitator: Gil Rich
What are the real-life experiences of older transgender and gender-diverse 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.

GO General Sessions Recommended for Teens:

Just One of the Gals – Room 609
How many of us, assigned male at birth, have felt robbed of the opportunity to bond with other women? Without this camaraderie of female friendships, we may feel that our social circles were, or are, incomplete. Some of us have been able to find the female friendships we longed for in our youth as transgender adults. For trans women, moving from one world to another one— becoming “one of the gals”—can be a transition within a transition. Join us as we explore what it means to be a woman in relationship to other women, and to experience our femininity with other women whose background and socialization differ from our own.

Stories Beyond Gender: Social Media Storytelling as Creative Activism – Room 619
Sharing stories of difference online and in person can erode long established bigotry and resentment, building ripples of social change. However, the vast majority of trans media representations are produced and distributed by cis people who, intentionally or not, perpetuate gender stereotypes with blunt over-simplifications and misunderstanding. Social media storytelling, or creative digital self-representation, offers gender-diverse people an opportunity to speak back, on their own terms. In this workshop, we’ll think through privacy and publicness together and learn some strategies for selective disclosure. By workshop end you’ll have started curating a complex exhibition of self and/or selves across multiple platforms (Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter) in multiple forms (selfies, photo-montage, haiku, prose, and old-school pen & paper illustration). This is not only a creative buzz, but an opportunity to make sustainable connections with fellow workshop participants.

4:10pm – 5:45pm

Keynote Speaker: Diego Sanchez
Diego Miguel Sanchez, APR, is Director of Advocacy, Policy & Partnerships for PFLAG – the national organization committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy, uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies.

A native of Augusta, GA, and long-time Massachusetts resident, Diego was previously Senior Policy Adviser to Congressman Barney Frank until the Representative’s retirement in 2013. Diego made history with that appointment, being the first openly transgender person to work as a senior legislative staff member on Capitol Hill. He also testified before Congress in the historic Transgender Discrimination Hearing in 2008 and that year was named as the first openly trans person ever appointed to the DNC Platform Committee.

6:00pm – 7:30pm

Location: Central Lutheran Church across from Cal Anderson Park.
1710 11th Ave, Seattle, WA
Wear your lanyard!

8:00 – 10:00pm

GO Conference Pool Party (ages 12+)
Location: Medgar Evers Pool, 500 23rd Ave, Seattle (near Garfield High School)
Get ready to make some waves at the conference pool party! This swim party is exclusively for GO conference attendees.

9:00am – 12:10pm (Double Session)

IN·clued: Queer Sex Ed Study – Room 611
Facilitator: Planned Parenthood Teen Council Peer Educators
Are you trans or LGBTQ+ identified, 14-19 years old, and want to be part of groundbreaking sex education research? If so, this session is for YOU! IN·clued is a brand-new educational program and research study designed specifically for LGBTQ+ youth. After completing a survey you’ll be assigned to one of two groups and take part in activities about LGBTQ sexual health or LGBTQ-identity. This 3-hour interactive workshop will be led by Teen Council Peer Educators. There will be prizes, and everyone who participates in the study will receive a gift card and cash!

GO General Sessions Recommended for Teens:

Unpacking Stealth – Room 607
In what circumstances are you out about your gender identity or history? How do you draw the lines around whom you tell? When and how much? How does this impact your life, your relationships? Does it provide relief? Stress? Both? In this workshop, we will investigate the complex topic of living stealth. Often we consider stealth to be all or nothing, but there are many questions to ponder when considering disclosure. We’ll discuss why we live stealth, the ways in which we do it, how it plays out, and how we can empower each other in our own personal choices.

A Different Take on Passing: Trans Feminine – Room 602
Trans women are often held to very rigid and demanding standards of femininity—the slightest deviation from “ideal” femininity can be read as failure. How does our desire to have our gender read correctly interplay with our desire to be authentically ourselves? How can we avoid buying into a regressive and unrealistic version of what constitutes “real” femininity? In what ways does the mythic ideal of femininity change depending on factors such as our class, race, where we live, our age, and level of ability?
Note: This conversation will be centered on the experiences of trans feminine people but is open to all who wish to listen, learn, and grow.

10:40 – 12:10pm

IN·clued: Queer Sex Ed Study… (continued from 9:00am)

GO General Sessions Recommended for Teens:

Transgender History – Room 605
Want to know more about transgender people throughout history? Come learn about the history of the transgender rights movement and how it has, at various times, worked in sync with and distinct from the LGB rights movement; transgender pioneers throughout different times and cultures; how this has gotten us to where we are today and where we are going in the future. This will be an interactive history lesson with plenty of opportunities for participants to share what they know and ask questions about the things they don’t. Our history is wide and diverse; emphasis will be placed on the areas participants are most interested and excited about.

1:30 – 3:00pm

Teen Room
Open Space: hang out, read, talk, or work on your flip-books and other projects.

GO General Sessions Recommended for Teens:

What I Don’t Usually Say about My Gender – Room 609
It isn’t surprising that any of us as trans people may have to modify our stories for a variety of reasons. Some people are unfamiliar with the subject as a whole. Some may still be navigating their feelings of confusion, anger, grief, and so on. But what about when we are with each other? Are there things we don’t share? Perhaps you feel like you are the only one who thinks/feels/expresses themselves in a certain way. Maybe your reasons for transitioning are different than what you’ve heard others express. There may be concern that others won’t understand. Perhaps you’ve encountered unexpected transition-related repercussions that no one else seems to experience. Chances are your experiences/thoughts/views are not as unique as you think. We’ll never know unless we share our truths with each other. Please join us in creating a nonjudgmental space and, as a reminder, please share from your own experience only.

All-Gender Chest Surgery Show and Tell – Room 607
Contemplating chest surgery and don’t know where to start? Do you have some great surgery results you want to share with others? Do you wish you had done something different and want to let others know? Join this facilitated show and tell and listen to the stories of others as they discuss which surgeons they chose and why, their experiences with surgeons and staff, how much they spent, how pleased/displeased they are with the results, and more.
Note: This session is for people of all genders. 

The Fun Art and Science of Resonance in Speaking: Laughing, Coughing, and Throat-Clearing Room 608
Pitch, resonance (tone), and inflection (the rise and fall of the voice in speech) are all components of voice and speech. Developing a resonance that is congruent with a person’s gender identity is perhaps the most elusive but important of the three. This workshop will provide the speech and voice science behind resonance (tone), as well as practical exercises and analysis based in science and performance voice that will allow participants to investigate how to manipulate and change their own resonance (tone). For a little extra fun, participants will learn the art of laughter, coughing, and throat-clearing confidently in their gender identity!

3:10 – 4:40pm

Teen Closing Activity: My Very Own Boost Box! – Room 611
Facilitators: Nadja Dee Witherbee and Gil Rich
Every year it feels like this transtastic weekend has just started and now it’s ending. The transition back to the outside world can be difficult and emotional. Gender Odyssey provides you an opportunity to make friends, strengthen your sense of self, and learn about life. What happens after Gender Odyssey when you need some encouragement to face the day or simply want to remember the good times you had here and the memories you made? Each participant at the Teen Closing Activity will take home a “Boost Box”—small notes from your peers and GO staff so you’ll always have a box of love and encouragement with you outside of the conference. 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 teen room. Don’t miss this final opportunity to gather with new and old friends and wrap up this amazing weekend!

GO General Sessions Recommended for Teens:

A Snapshot in Time: Adult Panel – Room 606
There is a significant difference between the experience of older adults who transition and that of young children or teens. That said, there are many things that can be gained from hearing the perspectives of the older generations. A gender transition is never a singular, insular experience. It happens in context—with respect to family, work, community, and society as a whole. As our panelists share their respective journeys, we hope that you will gain perspective on their experiences across the timeline of transgender acceptance, and that this will ultimately place you and your own child’s experience on that very timeline as well.

Some Time Ago: Trans Elders from the Heart – Room 609
Trans elders are invited to share our “from-the-heart” stories with each other in this “fishbowl” format. We’ll share our stories of courage and fear, hardship and success, where we’ve fallen down and how we’ve gotten back up. The goal of this workshop is not only to connect with each other but also to share our stories with younger generations as we explore our desire to create a future that is both nurturing and safe.
Note: Elders are invited into the circle but all others are invited just to listen to/witness what is sure to be a powerful conversation.



Nadja Dee Witherbee
Teen Program Coordinator
Nadja Dee Witherbee 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.

Gil Rich
Teen Program Coordinator
Gil Rich is the Gender Odyssey teen program coordinator and has run the youth groups for the Gender Diversity family support meetings held at Seattle Children’s Hospital for the past eight years. Gil has over a decade of experience developing leadership and community-building programs that help youth recognize their potential. In addition to teaching within the Seattle and Atlanta public schools, he has also worked with Camp Ten Trees, Lambert House, the YMCA, and the WSU-4H Challenge programs. Currently a corporate training manager, Gil also facilitates transgender awareness trainings for school, health provider, and corporate audiences. Gil had the unique opportunity to grow up as a gender-nonconforming kid with an identical twin who was also gender-nonconforming. Growing up knowing there was 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.

Tatiana Gill is a Seattle-based cartoonist who uses her art to show strength and vulnerability, reflecting the diversity of people so often underrepresented in the media. Themes include body positivity, feminism, mental health, and recovery. Tatiana has created dozens of self-published comic books, teaches comics, and contributes to local and global publications.

Jen Gordon is a senior marketing consultant with a client portfolio that includes Netflix, McDonald’s, and Kraft. Gordon is also a medaled triathlete, two-time Boston Marathoner and proud parent of an 11-year-old transgender daughter. Inspired to help others tell their story, Gordon is launching The GenderCool Project, an awareness campaign to teach the public that talking about gender is wildly interesting and opens us up as human beings. Her goal is to create a digital platform that will allow transgender and gender expansive children and teens to tell fascinating stories about who they are and not what they are.

Blending her passion for feeling strong with her commitment to celebrating transgender and gender expansive youth, Gordon is also creating Team GenderCool, a spinoff initiative aimed at building community, confidence and self-esteem through physical fitness goals that everyone can reach. Gordon is also on the front line of policy work for gender-inclusive schools in Illinois, helping to lead the charge in multiple districts along the North Shore, servicing more than 35,000 students.