Gender Odyssey offers specialized programming for youth (ages 13-18) and young adults (ages 19-22).
Created with gender-diverse and transgender youth themselves, these workshops and the overall conference are designed to promote positive identity development, to help youth and young adults connect to community, and to develop healthy relationships with peers and mentors.
In addition the following youth-specific workshops, teens and young adults will also have access to much of the Family and Professional Programming.
Friday Youth Programming
What’s a GenderKhana? Be sure to attend this kick-off event to find out! This activity will introduce you to the other participants at the conference, while completing fun missions to learn more about the conference, trans history, and the creative skills of the people in your group! Come find out who else is here—meet new people and make some friends to hang out with at the conference and beyond! We’ll also provide an overview of the conference program and highlight the key events and things to check out throughout the weekend.
Teen Program Facilitators: The TYTANs!, Nadja Dee Witherbee, Gil Rich
Young Adult Program Facilitators: The TYTANs!, Oliver Sebren, Grey Rinaldi
Taking On and Off Your Costume: A Quest for Authenticity
This workshop is for individuals who have recently come out to themselves as trans/non-binary/a non-cis identity and are finding what would best reduce their dysphoria. A metaphor for “shedding your costume” and figuring out one’s authentic self will lead to an
expressive arts activity that participants may use to explore themselves and their goals for transition.
Facilitator: Georgie A Kelly, MA, APCC
Life After Transition…
Did you socially or medically transition 3 or more years ago? After the initial coming out process is over and the social and physical changes are no longer new, you may find your focus has shifted away from the nuts and bolts of transition. What new experiences, insights, or challenges have emerged now that you’re a few years in? Let’s explore what life is like now, post the initial stages of transitioning. *Participants who have come out or are started their transition less than 3 years ago are encouraged to come and listen, and we will make time for you to ask questions towards the end of the workshop. Conversation will also be geared towards participants in at least high school and older.
Facilitators: Oliver Sebren, Grey Rinaldi, Nadja Dee Witherbee
Creating Stick Figure Comics for Social Justice
(Creating stick figure comics to rehearse social Justice strategies: upstanding to gender bias, sexism and homophobia.) In this workshop we will learn how to use visual narratives – – stick figure comics – – to generate strategies to address social justice scenarios, stop
wrongful behavior and bring everyone back into right relationships. Most of us are familiar with comic book heroes who are active “up-standers“ (as opposed to passive bystanders), who intervene when an honorable person is being threatened or treated unfairly. We also
may have a genuine desire to do good in our daily lives but we may not know what to do when we see discrimination or bullying. Practicing in advance, or after the fact, can help us learn how to take effective social justice action against future verbal, emotional, physical, and/or social bullying. No art skills required! To help get past any “I can’t draw “worries, we will use simple stick figure sketches for our comics. This workshop is not only practical but fun!
Facilitator: Dr Jessica Motherwell McFarlane, Ph.D.
This program will offer simple information and outlines on diet and fitness programs for youth. Participates will learn about some how to’s for healthy lifestyles as they transition. Guiding trans folks for body positivity and education in nutrition.
Facilitator: Paulo Batista
SOLD: Examining the T in TV AdverTising
Join presenter Nadja Dee Witherbee on a ‘round the world tour of TV commercials featuring transgender characters and themes. From the early days of television
to today, see how this gender identity “twist” is used in comic, sexy, and unfortunately offensive ways. Nadja Dee will examine the pros and cons of these commercial representations, show clips, and facilitate discussion on this unique and rare collection of
Facilitator: Nadja Dee Witherbee
SOLD: Part 2: Creating the T in TV AdverTising
In Part 1 of the SOLD workshop we learned about how major foreign and domestic Advertising Agencies have written trans characters for the past 65 years into
their commercials to sell their product. Now you’ll take the creative lead and come up with your own advertisement. How would you cast a trans character in a television commercial, radio or print ad? There’s a lot of power in HOW our community is portrayed to the general public. The power is in your hands. (Note: While attendance at part one of the SOLD workshop will be helpful for this session, it is not required to participate in this workshop.)
Facilitator: Nadja Dee Witherbee
Gender Chat (Young Adults)
This session will be a group discussion based on topics of interest as identified by the participants in the room. Join us for an engaging chat about gender!
Facilitators: Young Adult Program leads
Saturday Youth Programming
In a positive and fun environment, participants will explore the building blocks of improvisational acting techniques to create characters, develop scenes and
identify the elements needed to form a story on their feet. Through gameplay and exercises, they will learn improv tools that will help them work collaboratively
and explore the diversity of identities and experiences within our community, while unlocking their imagination and creativity… and having a blast!
Facilitator: Gary Ware
Playing by the Rules… (Navigating Gender Norms)
How do you navigate the gender norms for men and women in society when we may not have been taught all the rules as a kid? And what if you don’t fit in one of those boxes? How have you learned about what these rules are? Which gender norms do you still have
questions about? Which norms do you find helpful to know and adopt, and what do you find limiting or chose not to abide by? How does our ability to live up to these norms impact our own gender? Do your own ideas about gender limit you somehow? Join us in this discussion as we examine the role of gender norms in our lives.
Facilitators: Oliver Sebren, Grey Rinaldi, Gil Rich, Nadja Dee Witherbee
All Conference Movie: The Most Dangerous Year
Location Room: Salon D
In 2016 a small group of families with transgender kids joined the fight against a wave of discriminatory anti-transgender legislation that swept the nation and Washington state. With the help of a coalition of civil rights activists and ally lawmakers, these families
embarked on an uncharted journey of fighting for their children’s lives and futures in this present-day civil rights story. Vlada Knowlton’s film also profiles Gender Diversity’s ground breaking work in a conservative WA state school district as they created trans inclusive policy in their district. Knowlton also shares part of her family’s personal journey! “Humble, yet deeply moving documentary… What makes “The Most Dangerous Year” so beautifully effective is its representation of these loving, proud families who choose to stand up for the humanity and humane treatment of their children — and the
politicians who listen.” — Los Angeles Times
Don’t miss the opportunity to see this amazing movie as it is not yet in wide distribution. Join in a group discussion immediately following the film.
Open hangout space in Teen Room & Young Adult Rooms
The Teen and Young Adult Rooms will be an open space to hang out and connect with others during the all conference film.
Queer Sex Ed
There is a hole in the education system faced by LGBTQ youth, especially transgender youth. This session aims to provide transgender youth with an open dialogue format presentation where youth are provided information but most importantly, create a safe space where youth can ask question concerning the type of sex they are/will be having.
Facilitator: Marcelino Alcorta
Adulting…Launching From The Nest (Young Adults)
In this workshop we’ll discuss the early experiences of navigating the world as an adult; things like applying for college and jobs, finding roommates and housing, and accessing health care on your own. When does being trans come into play, and how do you advocate
for yourself and handle situations relating to being trans when your parents aren’t there to help. Whether your just getting ready to leave the nest or have already launched into this whole adulting thing, come share your questions, strategies and insights to help build our
self-advocacy skills in these areas.
Facilitators: Oliver Sebren, Grey Rinaldi
Hey, I Have Rights Too!
LGBTQIA youth and students have rights, do you know what they are? Join us as we explore possibilities and strategies for advocating change in your community and school. Learn about your rights as an LGBTQIA youth and student (in middle/high school or college) including laws specific to curriculum representation, name/gender marker changes, bathroom and extracurricular access, and more… Network with other activist youth as we gain the knowledge needed to empower ourselves and advocate for gender-inclusive classrooms for all students.
Dating and Relationships (Young Adults)
Dating when trans can be complicated. How do you navigate gay or straight cisgender culture as a trans person? What about dating apps or conversations with potential partners? And how have your existing relationships and sexual orientation evolved along with your gender? Join us for a candid discussion as we explore your insights, questions, concerns, and tips about dating, sex, and relationships when trans.
Facilitators: Oliver Sebren, Grey Rinaldi
Stories from the Front: 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.
Facilitator: Gil Rich
Teen & Young Adult Social @ the Hotel Pool
Come on down to the hotel pool to hang out with other teens and young adults from the conference! Hosted by the Gender Diversity TYTANs!
Sunday Youth Programming
Jedi Mind Tricks for Managing Anxiety
Do you wrestle with anxiety, or feeling overly nervous, or overwhelmed at times? Anxiety can be tough for anyone to deal with, and when you add in the challenge of navigating the world as a trans or gender diverse young person you may find a pesky anxiety monster
starting to make a menace of itself in your mind. The good news is that there are things we can do when it shows up to take back control and start to feel better. In this interactive workshop we’ll explore what anxiety is and share practical tips for what to do when it appears. Come learn some strategies (and share what works for you!) as we channel our inner Jedi and practice ways to tame that anxiety monster together.
What can I expect from hormones or blockers? I’m on hormones and I’m experiencing ___, is this normal? I don’t feel like a boy or a girl, what are my options? I’m on blockers and have to choose a hormone soon, how do I decide what’s right for me? I’m wondering about my fertility options in the future? If I want surgery, what do I need to know? What can help when I’m feeling dysphoria? Designed to get these questions and more answered, this round table workshop will give you a unique opportunity for undivided attention from a panel of experienced medical and mental health providers. This workshop will be 100% interactive and provide a space for you to ask the questions you need answered. Join us at the workshop, dedicated entirely to you!
Facilitators: Dr Johanna Olson-Kennedy, MD, Aydin Olson-Kennedy, MSW
Young Adults: How Can Colleges Best Support Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students
This interactive session invites college-aged participants to reflect on and share their experiences of how well college (including community college) campuses support their needs. Participants will engage in small and large-group discussions in order to identify those aspects of college campus life that support their success and those that do not. Led by a local award-winning community college faculty member, this session will generate information that will be included in a nationally-published teaching and learning journal
and disseminated widely so that others may benefit from the information.
Facilitator: Professor Laura T Gonzalez, M.A., San Diego Miramar College
Storytelling for the Page, the Stage, and Radio
You have a story to tell, and we want to help you tell it better! In this 90-minute workshop, we’ll hear live performances from professional storytellers and published writers, talk about what the fundamentals of good storytelling consist of, join in a group writing exercise, share our creations, and talk about how to get your work read on the page, seen on the stage, and heard through radio and podcasts.
Facilitators: So Say We All (SSWA) Storytellers
Siblings of transgender and gender-diverse youth often find themselves in a unique and sometimes very challenging role in the family. Though they are often the earliest and strongest of allies, they can also find themselves in the shadows. Embracing advocacy
and balancing their own individual identities can be extremely trying and lonely at times. This sibling-led workshop explores the experiences of siblings and gives voice to these most powerful members of the family circle. Discussions and a panel will provide siblings the opportunity to share their own stories of empowerment, challenges, and how they can be supportive while finding their own voice.
Facilitator: Sydney Tchoryk
That’s a Wrap: Closing Activity
Every year it feels like this transtastic weekend has just started and now it’s coming to a close. 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 share our favorite conference memories and find out what you are going to take away from this experience. Then we’ll exchange contact info and finish eating any leftover
snacks in the room (leave no red vines behind!) Don’t miss this final opportunity to gather with new and old friends and wrap up this amazing weekend!
Facilitators: Gil Rich and Nadja Dee Witherbee, Oliver Sebren, Grey Rinaldi, and The TYTANs!