Return from Gender Odyssey 2018

We got back from Gender Odyssey in Seattle earlier this month, where we had a good time presenting our research on cultural competency with non-binary and genderqueer folks. Kaden and I also had the opportunity to attend lots of other cool workshops, and we networked with folks in the Professional and Youth tracks, from all over the region.

Sasha and Kaden in front of the Gender Odyssey banner. Seattle WA, August 2018.

On Friday we presented an 80-minute CE workshop as part of GO Professional, entitled What Really Helps: Cultural Competency in Counseling Non-Binary and Genderqueer clients. The room was full and folks were engaged and interested as we talked about the results from our 2017 particiaptory action research study.

Based on the question cards, therapists and other professional helpers are genuinely interested. Some of the questions were about specific situations, and some were about how helpers can support NBGQ people in facing cultural oppression. We also learned some new things from our attendees, and we hope to include some of their insights in our future trainings. So whether it’s creating wider cultural change or providing more professional education, there’s plenty of work left to be done.

On Saturday we presented for GO Family, on Supporting Non-Binary and Genderqueer Youth. In this presentation, we took the same data and findings from our study, but centered the experiences of young people. This early morning session was attended by youth, parents and siblings, and some mental health professionals. We learned a lot from this group, too, about how specific supports for non-binary/genderqueer youth and their families are needed to make non-binary transition and emotional life safe in the wider culture.

It was a great experience to share our expertise and to help NBGQ and other gender non-conforming folks to get more visibility, recognition, and understanding in their communities. While it takes a lot of work to put together and deliver these presentations (and travel to another city, and for a couple of introverts to make so much contact with new people), it’s gratifying to see that we are having an impact. We hope the seeds we planted at Gender Odyssey this year will come to a lovely fruition.

If you’re interested, check out this video of an older version of our non-binary/genderqueer cultural competency presentation.

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