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Gender Identity: Essential Skills for Educators and Healthcare Professionals

Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals face many challenges – in our legal system, in healthcare, 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

Healthcare Afternoon Sessions

  • “Communicating with Care” by Genya Shimkin, MPH (of The Q Card Project) – TENTATIVE
    It’s easy to get excited and make plans during a workshop or seminar, but what happens when you return to your practice? In this session, Genya Shimkin (MPH) of The Q Card Project will guide participants through communicating with and creating a welcoming and supportive environment for LGBTQ patients. Through case studies and scenarios, participants will practice acting as advocates and allies, as well as ways to educate others about how to create safe and welcoming spaces. Participants will also learn about The Q Card as one tool to improve patient-provider communication with LGBTQ youth.

  • “Intersectionality in Healthcare” by Melissa 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 Melissa 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.

Education Afternoon Sessions

  • “Changing Campuses & Communities” panel of local administrators and students (panelists to be announced)
    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.

  • “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.

April 25, 2018

Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, WA 98447


  • Regular: $175
  • PLU students & alumni: $140 (call 253-535-7722 for discount code)

Delivery Method: 


  • 6.5 OSPI Clock Hours
  • 6 Contact Hours (Non-WSNA ANCC)