Gender Spectrum Conference

2017 Gender Spectrum Conference
Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23

The 2017 Gender Spectrum Conference and Youth Programs took place on Saturday, July 22 and Sunday, July 23 at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, CA.

The Conference is a place where Transgender, Non-binary, and otherwise Gender-expansive young people and their families can come together to learn, be supported, and connect with others in a safe and reassuring environment.

2017 Conference Program 

This year’s theme for the conference was “Seen, Safe and Supported”. We chose this because with the increased attention regarding gender diversity, the real, lived experience of transgender, non-binary and otherwise gender-expansive children and youth’s lives can get lost. This weekend was a place to come together, to be seen, to learn, to share our experiences and to gain support from one another. Whether attending for the first time or returning to the conference, participants found respite in a community who sees, supports and welcomes you as you are.

Our weekend program for parents, teens, children and the caring adults in their lives was an unforgettable experience for all. The 2017 program included an exciting slate of workshops, programs for children and youth from infants to high-schoolers, and opportunities to connect with new friends. In addition to some of the popular sessions held last year, there were a number of new workshops, including:

  • Consciously Parenting Your Gender-Expansive Child
  • Reconciling Your Faith and Your Child’s Gender
  • Seeking Body Congruence: Patient and Parent Perspectives
  • Outside of the Gender binary: Defining and Caring for Non-Binary Identified Youth
  • Mindfulness, Emotional Intelligence and Navigating a Complex World

And many more engaging workshops!

Conference attendees tell us that they left the conference with the understanding and tools needed to better care for themselves and their families.

 

Programming

The Gender Spectrum Conference was an opportunity for youth and families to spend a weekend gaining the resources, information, and community needed to help young people effectively navigate their world. Workshops for caregivers, parents, and other family members focused on expanding participants’ knowledge base on key subjects and providing access to some of the leading experts in a variety of fields. The conference was an unforgettable event for everyone who attended. The peaceful surroundings, amazing staff, and incredibly supportive community made it a weekend that stays with us long after our trip home.

This year’s program offered exciting new content for both new and returning attendees. We received feedback from returning families that ongoing conference attendance helps to fortify their experience and provide additional opportunities to learn, address the changing needs of their child, receive support and share their experience with families attending for the first time. Because we know many families return to the conference, we added new programming to address particular needs.

Youth Programming

Youth programming was designed to meet the needs and interests of children and teens at different stages of their lives. Kids are placed in the program associated with the most recent grade level they completed (they do not have to be enrolled in school to attend Youth Programming).

High School – Youth who will have completed Grades 9-12 by July 2017*
The High School program was unique, dynamic, and an incredibly safe space for all teens. The program was organized with the Gender Spectrum Youth Council. We strongly believe in creating content and activities that are inclusive for our young people with a broad range of gender identities and expressions. Teens had the opportunity to meet others in small groups, larger all-group activities, as well as attend sessions focused on topics that are important to their lives.

The program for high school aged youth explored how gender intersects with other dimensions of identity. Young people examined issues related to identity such as race, ethnicity, faith and class. They also explored issues related to the lives of young people, like family and other personal relationships, body image, life at school, intimacy, sexuality, and privacy and disclosure. We value the importance for allowing opportunities for conversations in smaller groups, as well as opportunities to talk with professionals. Those seeking personalized information were encouraged to do so at any point. In addition to workshops, there was time for art & creative expression, music, roundtable discussions, and films. Most importantly, we were pleased to build an amazing, supportive, safe, and fun weekend for everyone. If you have any questions about next year’s program for high school students, please contact Carlos at events@genderspectrum.org.

Middle School – Youth who will have completed grades 6-8 by July 2017*
Middle school aged youth found an exciting mix of fun outdoor and indoor activities, along with interesting sessions for youth to learn more about themselves and their friends. This year’s middle school program balanced opportunities to delve deeply into gender while creating plenty of space for those less inclined to explore the topic and simply want to have fun with peers. Middle schoolers had the opportunity to connect and learn from members of the Gender Spectrum Youth Council and participated in a few activities with the high school program. The weekend was an opportunity for youth to build connections with peers, explore gender, and have fun in a safe and supportive setting!

Activities included options from sports to impromptu dance parties to zine making! Workshops included options like “Fierce Self Love and Leadership” and “Checking the “Other” Box: Non-Binary Youth”. Workshops tailored to siblings and allies were also offered! If you have any questions about next year’s Middle School Program, please contact Jenna at events@genderspectrum.org.

Youth who will have completed grades 4-5 by July 2017*
Designed to meet the specific needs of upper elementary school students, our 4/5 gathering featured fun and interactive activities designed to engage and wear out even the most energetic of kids! If you have any questions about next year’s 4/5 Program, please contact Laura at events@genderspectrum.org.

Youth who will have completed grades K-3 by July 2017*
Our K-3 program was designed with a single goal in mind: FUN! A whirlwind of art, dance, crafts, and imagination allowed this rambunctious group to have an experience where they can play, play, play. Led by sensitive staff supporting every child to participate in the weekend’s activities, there were many adults who wished they were at kid’s camp! If you have any questions about next year’s K-3 Program, please contact Nathanael at events@genderspectrum.org.

Childcare for infants to pre-K
Gender Spectrum provided childcare for all little ones who are not yet in kindergarten. As with the rest of our programming for kids, these youngsters were surrounded by loving staff who kept even the most restless little ones busy and engaged. If you have any questions about next year’s Childcare/Pre-K Program, please contact events@genderspectrum.org.