March 22nd - 26th, 2023

2023 Workshops & Seminars - Spirituality/Religion

A Brief History of Transgender Issues-How We Got Where We Are
3:30 PM on Thu, Mar 23 in Harrisburger B

Ms. Maryellen
This workshop addresses transgender history from a variety of perspectives starting with the vocabulary we use to describe and distinguish the transgender community. A discussion of the legal landscape over time provides a backdrop for the changing response of transgendered persons to institutional repression. The historical record covered includes the Biblical references to cross-dressing, the Middle Ages, Puritanism, the Civil War, the era of cross-dressing balls, the Pansy Era, the riots at Cooper Donuts and Compton Cafeteria, the sit-in at Deweys and then the response to the police raid at Stonewall. Substantial attention is paid to the difficulties the transgender community encountered gaining acceptance from the LGB portions of the rainbow, including the exclusion of transgendered persons from ENDA and the impact of Janice Raymond's writings and the exclusion that ensued at West Coast music venues and the Michigan Musicfest, and that continues today. Hypotheses are offered for how these impasses were and are being overcome. How the historical record differs across cultures and for people of color is addressed from a number of perspectives. A substantial discussion is anticipated over the role of physicians in the emergence of transgendered persons, including the pivotal role of Johns Hopkins and how the void was filled when Hopkins withdrew. The emergence of trans-specific advocacy organizations and scientific advances in gender identity (beginning with Herschfeld) will be discussed as time allows.

Interest Tags: Advocacy, Legal, Professional Education, Spirituality/Religion, Surgery, TransPeople of Color

Becoming a Mermaid
9:00 AM on Thu, Mar 23 in Penn Harris A

At what point did you know you did not quite fit in? That there was something that was not quite ‘right’. "Gender is a reality, and a more fundamental reality than sex.” This will be an allegorical journey. We will take a deep dive into our reality in an effort to sea more clearly. Coming to congruence with who you are and how you got there is serious however…

Interest Tags: Advocacy, Experience Sharing/Discussion, Family/Friends, Gender Affirming, Non-Binary, Relationships, Socializing, Spirituality/Religion, Wellness, Workplace, Youth

Dare to Dream Big
10:30 AM on Fri, Mar 24 in Metropolitan C

During this workshop you will develop your vision of what you really want to experience in your life! You will learn 3 tools to achieve your goals, develop greater clarity on your dreams, and build confidence in your ability to achieve everything you desire. This is where you will begin to turn your dreams into reality! (Presented by Liz Tattersall)

Interest Tags: Relationships, Spirituality/Religion, Wellness, Workplace

Drumming Circle - Unlock Inner Peace and Spark Personal Joy Through Sound & Play
2:00 PM on Fri, Mar 24 in William Penn

Sarah Paz
Ready to find your inner voice and move to the beat of your own drum? Join handpan musician and the founder of Super Bloom Women’s Handpan Retreat for an interactive and immersive drum circle, play lab, laughter (yoga) and more. Sarah believes that there are musical (creative) seeds in all of us. In cultivating curiosity and imagination these seeds grow, and eventually thrive, if we let them bloom in abundance. This directly ripples into other facets of life. In this Play Lab Workshop, we will explore new beginnings through sound exploration, with the handpan as our guide. The process of discovery doesn’t have to end just because we "become adults"! Channel your inner self, unlock the key to your next personal evolution and share a memorable experience you won’t discover at any other conference. This is an event like no other and you may be surprised the joy that fills your heart and the peace that radiates through your body. No instrumental or musical experience necessary – all are welcome. Recommended to bring water and if you prefer, dress comfortably as you will have an option to sit in a chair or on the floor while holding the instruments.

Interest Tags: Aging, Experience Sharing/Discussion, Family/Friends, Gender Affirming, Non-Binary, Relationships, Safety, Socializing, Spirituality/Religion, Spouses/Signification Others, TransFeminine, TransMasculine, TransPeople of Color, Voice, Wellness, Youth

End Game Discussion Group: How to Celebrate & Manage a Partly Out Lifestyle from the Big Moments to the End-All Burn Box
3:30 PM on Sat, Mar 25 in Governor

Ms. Sonia
A discussion group led by Sonia Swann, the significant other of a “partly out” partner who is pursuing a Master’s Thesis on the topic. Share your experience, troubleshoot and ask the big questions like how to have a wedding or memorial that honors your entire life and includes all your circles of loved ones. Can’t participate in person? Please support Sonia’s research by completing the anonymous survey at . . .(link to be provided soon). There will be no recordings, and no personal data collected. There will be a person to take notes and snacks!

Immersive Sound Meditation with the Handpan
3:30 PM on Thu, Mar 23 in William Penn

Sarah Paz
Transition occurs on many levels and we are all collectively transitioning now from winter into spring, from the chaos of the outside world into inner peace. Join us for a break from the hustle and bustle of the conference with this relaxing immersive sound meditation which will be infused by the melodic, shamanic qualities of the handpan and frame drum. Interwoven with vocalizations, and an assortment of instruments inspired by the natural world – the 4 elements of Air, Wind, Water & Fire – we will oscillate between the stillness of silence and movement of sound to more deeply integrate elemental balance within. Please arrive comfortably. There will be chairs available for a seated experience, and floor space for a more restful position laying down. Please bring a yoga mat, pillows or bolsters if you wish, and consider bringing water or tea for grounding afterward.

Interest Tags: Advocacy, Aging, Experience Sharing/Discussion, Family/Friends, Gender Affirming, Non-Binary, Professional Education, Relationships, Socializing, Spirituality/Religion, Spouses/Signification Others, TransFeminine, TransMasculine, TransPeople of Color, Voice, Wellness, Workplace, Youth

Manifesting Body Euphoria through Movement
10:30 AM on Sat, Mar 25 in Bridgeport

Mx. Jules
Jules X. Grace is a trans non-binary, gender expansive dancer with over ten years of experience in solo and partner dance styles. Through these ten years, dance and movement practices have been some of the main portals to gender euphoria for them. As they learned how to free their body from expected movement types and roles, they found that this same movement gave them new ideas about freeing themselves from oppressive expectations and roles of sexuality and gender. This workshop will be an exploration in solo and partner movement with dance stylings from ecstatic dance, fusion dance, vogue, contemporary and contact improv. We will dive into practicing movement solo and in partnerships as both a lead and a follow. Come along on a journey of music and movement as you are invited to find your own portals to gender euphoria. Comfortable clothing is suggested but not required.

Interest Tags: Advocacy, Aging, Experience Sharing/Discussion, Family/Friends, Gender Affirming, Non-Binary, Socializing, Spirituality/Religion, Spouses/Signification Others, TransFeminine, TransMasculine, TransPeople of Color, Wellness, Youth

My Life Today as a Transgender Woman
3:30 PM on Sat, Mar 25 in Lochiel

Ms. Karen
Living a normal life being happy and my true self as a woman, but God had other plans for me.

Interest Tags: Advocacy, Aging, Experience Sharing/Discussion, Family/Friends, Gender Affirming, Military/Veterans, Non-Binary, Relationships, Socializing, Spirituality/Religion, Surgery, TransFeminine, TransPeople of Color, Workplace

Practicing Authentic Faith While Living Authentic Life: How to be Faithful and Transgender
3:30 PM on Thu, Mar 23 in Bridgeport

Rev. Grace
Although rainbow flags are starting to be flown outside a growing number of churches and synagogues, the majority of mainline houses of worship in all faith traditions shun transgender people. Openly transgender Catholic Priest and activist Grace Ferris (she/her) will lead a discussion on how transgender people can continue to practice their faith, regardless of their own faith tradition. Differences and similarities between various denominations will be explored and described so that participants will be able to research houses of worship in their own communities that are closely aligned with individual religious preferences. A male Southern Baptist minister before being radically transformed to become a trans-female Catholic priest, Mother Grace has a comprehensive understanding of a wide range of religious traditions and the compassion to effectively minister in a way that is meaningful for those in her care. Mother Grace will also serve as needed as an interfaith chaplain at the conference, making herself available to anyone wanting pastoral care. She will meet people where they are spiritually, never proselytizing or evangelizing. Mother Grace will also offer Mass with Eucharist lovingly shared with anyone wishing to partake on Saturday evening and/or Sunday morning if there is sufficient interest. This is an overview session intended to be introductory in nature. Other sessions presented by Mother Grace will delve deeper into various topics. The sessions complement each other; however all are themselves standalone sessions.

Interest Tags: Spirituality/Religion

Telling Your Story: The How, When, Why, Who and What of Telling Your Gender Journey Story
10:30 AM on Thu, Mar 23 in Harrisburger B


Rav. Levi

Rev. Monica
Stories are powerful things. They can challenge and inspire us. They also help us to connect to each other. By sharing your gender journey story, your challenges, hopes, dreams, and joys you can make important connections. If the story is well thought out and communicated, it can provide compelling context into who you are and an understanding of the “why” behind your gender journey. In this presentation, you will hear video-taped accounts of gender-journey stories from Rabbi Levi Alter and Rev. Monica Joy Cross and what happened as a result of their sharing. Attendees will have an opportunity to frame and share their gender story in a small group. As a minister to the transgender community for over 20 years, I have seen how coming out as trans and attempting to maintain relationships can be difficult to navigate. Although support for those who identify as transgender is gaining advocates, many in business and mainstream faith communities are just ignorant of transgender issues, and therefore unsupportive. Telling our stories can help to change that.

The workshop includes: 1. Workshop outline that covers the how, when, why, who and what of sharing your gender story. This tool will help you understand your motives, who you need to share to and the best timing on when to share your gender journey. 2. There will be a worksheet available for partners and advocates which will cover, “How to support a loved-one’s, partner’s or friend’s gender journey.” 3. Identify potential problem areas with business, family, friends and spiritual community relationships as you share your gender journey. 4. Learn how to connect with others by partnering with them and supporting their stories. 5. Understand the difference between what we want to communicate, what we actually communicate, and how it is received. 6. Age-specific information and how to present it when sharing your story.

Interest Tags: Advocacy, Experience Sharing/Discussion, Family/Friends, Gender Affirming, Non-Binary, Relationships, Socializing, Spirituality/Religion, TransFeminine, TransMasculine, TransPeople of Color

That Ain't Christian
3:30 PM on Fri, Mar 24 in United States

Rev. Joanne
Evangelical and many mainline Protestant churches are bleeding...members that is! America's Christian majority is shrinking and could dip below 50% by 2070. In the US, the Christian majority has been shrinking for decades. A Pew Research Center study shows that as of 2020, only about 64% of Americans identify as Christian, in contrast, 50 years ago, that number was 90%. Young people comprise the group shrinking the most, with two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as a teenager say they dropped out for at least a year between the ages of 18 and 22, according to a new study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research. There are any number of reasons, but likely topping the list is hypocrisy...people talking the talk as opposed to walking the walk. Not to be overlooked is the current Evangelical embrace of "Christian Nationalism" and its roots in racism and obvious prejudice directed to other marginalized people groups as well. This workshop will attempt to provide evidence that the Founders had every intention of keeping religion out of politics as well as provide attendees with a glimmer of hope for our future.

Interest Tags: Advocacy, Spirituality/Religion

The Maleficent Seven - How to Handle the Clobber Passages
10:30 AM on Fri, Mar 24 in Penn Harris A

Rev. Grace
Bible-thumping bigots and haters use seven very specific Bible passages in their attempts to prove that people like you and me will rot and burn in Hell. We call them the "clobber passages" because they are used to clobber us. Four of them are from the Old Testament (Genesis 1:29, Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, and Deuteronomy 23:17-18), and three are from the New Testament (Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10). The sad reality is that their understanding of what the holy scriptures really say is way off base. Anti-LGBTQ people cling to an incorrect understanding of what those passages actually mean. This incorrect understanding comes from centuries of bias that have found their way into Bible translation and instruction over time. In this session we will explore each of these passages, considering their history, context, and original meaning. An accurate understanding of these passages actually affirms the fact that LGBTQ people are part of God's design for the beauty that is humanity. Please note that it is typically impossible to argue with bigots and haters. The purpose of this session is not to provide defense in debate, but rather simply to set your own mind at ease when you find yourself on the receiving end of such hateful rhetoric.

Interest Tags: Spirituality/Religion

Your Eternal Salvation Is Not In JEOPARDY!
2:00 PM on Sat, Mar 25 in Lochiel

Rev. Grace
Now it's time for America's favorite game show: "Your Eternal Salvation Is Not In 'JEOPARDY!'"

Using the "JEOPARDY!" game show format, this fast-paced and fun workshop will tackle issues related to spirituality for the transgender community! People attending will take the role of contestants, selecting questions from the game board. The questions and their answers are designed to spark conversation and understanding among the group. The moderator will be everyone's favorite game show host, Mother Grace! Categories include:

--What the Bible Really Says About Queers
--The Clobber Passages
--Queer Saints
--Jesus on Love
--All Are Welcome

Interest Tags: Spirituality/Religion

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