Capping off Transgender Awareness Month, and immediately following this week’s Transgender Day of Remembrance will be the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Transgender Spectrum Conference, Nov. 21-22, 2014.


The two-day conference, an interdisciplinary event, will be held in the JC Penney Conference Center at UMSL and center around four interrelated strands: health and aging, youth and their families, policy and politics, and teaching and learning.


Scholars and professionals hailing from universities and organizations across the country will speak on a variety of topics surrounding gender variance. Joel Baum, Director of Education and Training for Gender Spectrum in Berkeley, California, will serve as keynote speaker. Plenary speakers include:


•             Loree Cook-Daniels, Program and Policy Director of FORGE, Inc.

•             Masen Davis, Director of the National Transgender Law Center

•             Dr. Robert Garofalo, Director of the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and HIV-Prevention, Lurie Children's Hospital

•             Decker Moss, TED Talk Presenter

•             Samantha Master of the Human Rights Campaign and

•             Dr. Amy Cislo, Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Lecturer at Washington University-St. Louis.


Presentations, workshops, and roundtable discussions will lend an interactive aspect to the proceedings. Additionally, the presence of local vendors and organizations will provide opportunities for attendees to learn about resources and networks of support for gender variant individuals.


The act of planning the conference has itself proved to be a uniting force for the campus and community at large, having brought together UMSL students, staff, and faculty from diverse backgrounds. The Gender Studies Program at UMSL, along with the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences, partnered with a diverse group of community organizations and businesses, including the Metro Trans* Umbrella Group, SAGE, PROMO, and Transparent. St. Louis-area universities such as Webster, St. Louis University, and Washington University-St. Louis have also played a significant role in the planning process.


“One reason that I am so excited about the Transgender Spectrum Conference is that people with many different interests, goals, and agendas can all gain something of real value. We have a tremendous line-up of plenary speakers from around the nation who will address the topic from multiple perspectives,” shared Dr. Brenda Bredemeier. “As a member of the College of Education, for example, I'm excited that we will have speakers who will address school policy and state and federal education laws, and others who will provide classroom teachers and school principals with insights and strategies for supporting all of their gender diverse students.”


The Transgender Spectrum Conference is the first event of its kind to be held at UMSL. Registration can be completed online at Student and group rates are available, as are scholarships. Participants who choose to attend the full, two-day conference may earn 1.6 CEUs (Continuing Education Units), which is equal to 16 contact hours, in the following areas: Education, Social Work, and Psychology. There is no additional fee to receive CEUs.


Those interested in attending educational trans*-related events at UMSL can look forward to more events this fall. On October 21, actress and trans* activist Laverne Cox will visit UMSL for a talk entitled “Ain’t I A Woman: My Journey to Womanhood.” On November 20, the Trans* Day of Remembrance will be observed at UMSL; Julia Serrano, author of “Whipping Girl,” will speak at 12 p.m. in the Millennium Student Center. Admission is free and open to the public.


Press Release Contributed to this Article.



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