Gender Odyssey is an annual conference in Seattle that explores the experiences of trans and gender-variant people. This year will be my first attending, and I’m also facilitating two workshops and participating in a panel over the course of the weekend. I’ve included their descriptions here — for more information, please see the Gender Odyssey site.
Facilitated Discussion – I Just Need to Pee! (Eat, Sleep, See a Doctor…)
Friday, August 3, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Society is comfortable with male and female; and being comfortable is often equated with feeling safe. Most, if not all, systems and institutions incorporate the binary notion of gender to try to add a level of safety. Examples include bathrooms, shelters, clinics, etc. But how can gender non-conforming people feel safe when these very institutions – knowingly or unknowingly – exclude us? How can we take care of our most basic human needs when our very existence is met with suspicion, contempt, fear, or ridicule? What can we do to change these spaces and what would that change look like, anyhow?
Facilitated Discussion – Celebrating Femininity: Claiming Our Space
Saturday, August 4, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Most of the time it seems like trans women are simply tolerated — or become the exclusionary exception — in women’s communities and spaces. Trans women frequently have been asked to hold their tongue, to not take up space as if to compensate for previous years of perceived “male privilege.” In a world where masculinity is seen as both the pinnacle to strive for and also the expression of the oppressor, trans women are in a Catch-22 where their expression of either masculinity or femininity is suspect. There are rarely, if ever, spaces where trans women are not only accepted, but are encouraged and rewarded for being strong, empowered women – for being our diverse and beautiful selves. Trans women do take up space, trans women do have something to say, and our voices are worthy of celebration. This workshop is for trans women to collaborate with each other, discuss ways we can honor our diverse selves, and find ways to support each other within our various communities.
Panel Discussion – Looking Ahead: Adult Panel for Parents (family track)
Sunday, August 5, 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
During this session, you will hear from a number of gender-nonconforming and transgender identified adults. They will share with you how they define their gender, how they experience their bodies, and how they navigate everyday society. You will not hear personal coming out histories but rather an exploration of how wide-ranging gender expression and identity can be. This workshop will provide an opportunity to look ahead to some possible futures for your child and recognize the powerful effect of variables such as family support and increasing societal acceptance. The possibilities for our children are far greater than we can imagine—but we can start by providing this window.