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Gender Identity: Essential Skills for Educators and Health Care Professionals

Text "Gender Identity" over gender symbols

Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals face many challenges – in our legal system, in health care, in our schools, and in our communities. Educators and healthcare professionals can be pivotal in helping them navigate these challenges and begin addressing their root causes. Join PLU, The Rainbow Center, and educators, healthcare professionals, and activists from across the Puget Sound to learn how you can be a catalyst for change and create safer and more welcoming environments for individuals of all gender identities and expressions.

This one-day workshop has two parts: In the morning, The Rainbow Center (Tacoma, WA) will introduce participants to gender identity and expression, the challenges faced by transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, and to the LGBTQ community more generally. Participants will learn the importance and impact of identifying and using correct pronouns, as well practice sharing their own pronouns. In the afternoon, educators and healthcare professionals will break out into smaller groups to explore industry-specific situations and strategies for improving their schools and clinics.

Participants will

  • Learn appropriate language to refer to members of the LGBTQ community
  • Explore barriers to accessing healthcare for members of the LGBTQ community
  • Learn the importance and impact of using correct pronouns
  • Identify specific strategies for making healthcare spaces safer and more welcoming for patients of all gender identities and expressions

General Sessions

October 2018 Afternoon Sessions TBA

  • Continuing Education is currently accepting proposals for 1-1.5 hour breakout sessions on topics related to the care and experience of the transgender and gender non-conforming community in educational and health care-related settings. Contact ce@plu.edu for more information.


April 2018 Healthcare Afternoon Sessions

  • “Intersectionality in Healthcare” by Meli Sameh, MPH
    We all have a variety of identities – gender, orientation, race, religion, class, geography, size, ability, and more. The intersections of these identities impact our experiences in the world in unique ways, but our healthcare systems are rarely able to recognize and reckon with them. This is especially true for transgender and gender non-conforming patients, who often experience barriers to care on multiple levels. Join Meli Sameh (MPH, University of Washington) to learn what “intersectionality” is, why it is important in healthcare, and how you can better address a full diversity of experience in your care for patients.

  • “Advanced Transgender Healthcare: Things You Never Knew You Never Knew” by Jack Shephard, RN
    In this session, participants will dig into practical applications and real questions about caring for transgender patients. Participants will review medical, psychosocial, and ethical issues that are or may be involved in treating transgender patients.

April 2018 Education Afternoon Sessions

  • “Changing Campuses & Communities” panel of local administrators and students
    A panel of Puget Sound educators, administrators, and students will discuss the experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming students (in K-12 and beyond), what policies and curricula are being implemented to improved those experiences, which of those policies are the most effective, and handling controversy and the communities around our campuses.

Panelists include

  • Maggie Hendrickson, moderator (Pacific Lutheran University)
  • Vincent Pecchia (Puyallup School District)
  • Lisa Rowan (Puyallup School District)
  • Theo Calhoun (student, University of Washington-Tacoma)
  • Aidan Kilmer (student, Pacific Lutheran University)

  • “Creating Inclusive Classrooms: An Introductory Toolbox” by Andie Lyons, MTS (Family Planning Health Educator – Public Health Seattle & King County)
    In this workshop, we will explore how to create classrooms that are welcoming to people of all genders, orientations and expressions by reframing assumptions, addressing our own biases and rethinking how and when we address questions of identity and sexuality. Utilizing practical tools from the Seattle-King County Health Department’s FLASH curriculum, participants will practice answering questions, using inclusive language, and establishing safe classrooms.

October 18, 2018

Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98447


  • Regular: $175
  • Groups of 3 or more participants: $157.50 (call 253-535-7722 for discount code)
  • PLU students & alumni: $140 (call 253-535-7722 for discount code)
  • Previous attendees: $95 (afternoon only, call for discount code)

Delivery Method: 


  • 6.5 OSPI Clock Hours
  • 6 Nursing Contact Hours*
    • LICSWs and MFTs may be able to apply these hours towards DOH continuing education requirements

*Pacific Lutheran University’s Center for Continued Nursing Learning is approved as a provider of continuing nursing education by Montana Nurses Association, an accredited approver with distinction by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.