FORGE FORWARD 2007 Conference

HIV prevention and negotiating safer sex; building anti-racist coalitions; fostering a genderqueer dialogue; and training mental health professionals to work with transgender clients are four of the topics that will receive full-day attention at the FORGE Forward 2007 Conference and Intensives taking place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 29-April 1, 2007.
Selected specifically because of the topics' compelling importance to
the transgender community and the reputations of their
trainers/facilitators for providing high-quality, thought-provoking
workshop experiences, the four Intensives are expected to draw not
only those who will go on to attend the whole conference, but also
professionals and other SOFFAs (Significant Others, Friends, Family,
and Allies) who want to devote just one day to a specific work or
personal interest.

These Intensives will take place on Thursday, March 29, 2007 and
Friday, March 30, 2007 before the Conference's opening night plenary
on Friday. Most of the Intensives have an attendance cap to ensure
there is ample time to address individual participants' questions and
needs, so early registration is highly recommended. The fee for a
full Intensive is $115 (before September 30), but heavy discounts are
available for those attending more than one Intensive and/or the
whole conference. Scholarships will also be available to low-income
attendees. For more information on the conference or to register, go
to, email, or call 414-559-2123.

Further information on the Intensives topics and presenters follows.

==> HIV Prevention and Safer Sex for FTMs+ and Mental Health
Providers (Thursday, March 29)

This Intensive has it all: presentations of the latest data on HIV
and trans people; paired, small, and whole group discussions about
hot topics like negotiating sex and empowering community members;
safer sex demonstrations; individual worksheets; and even a fishbowl
exercise in which FTMs+ and mental health providers will discuss the
best ways to incorporate HIV prevention into mental health
practices. This Intensive is designed not only provide answers to
the risk and safety questions trans people have about HIV, sex, and
needles, but also to empower individuals to take better control of
their health and wellbeing _and_ help build the community supports we
need to keep all of us healthy and safe.

Five highly-experienced, Wisconsin-based HIV experts and trainers
will share responsibility for keeping this Intensive lively and
relevant: Diverse & Resilient founder Gary Hollander, Ph.D., and
Diverse & Resilient Director of Adult Services Brenda Coley; Molly
Herrmann, Community Planning Coordinator for the Wisconsin AIDS/HIV
program; Laura Gutnecht, transgender HIV trainer; and Hector Torres,
Ph.D., a former Fellow with the Center for AIDS Intervention Resource.

==> Building Multi-Racial, Multi-Gender, Anti-Racist,
Anti-Capitalist Trans Organizations, Coalitions and
Movements (Friday, March 30)

Through structured, interactive activities, Intensive participants
will explore several interrelated themes: 1) How is racism often
built into the structures of social justice movements, and how do we
build structures for gender liberation work that have a deep
commitment and lived practice of anti-racism? 2) How do we bridge
cultural and community conversations between transwomen's
communities, transmasculine communities, and SOFFAs to find common
ground, address common misunderstandings, and move past hierarchizing
our experiences of oppression? 3) How do we build organizations
that focus on the needs of the most vulnerable people in our
communities: prisoners, immigrants, poor people, youth, people of
color? 4) How do different kinds of work such as law and policy
reform, base-building organizing, media and public education work,
and fundraising fit together in social movements? How can we
prioritize these and work together? 5) What key issues in gender
oppression are going under-addressed in current US trans
activism? How can we change that context? 6) How do we envision
the world we want to live in, rather than just reacting to constant
attacks on our communities? 7) How do we connect gender liberation
work with important social movements against racism, for immigrant
rights, for workers' rights, against imperialism, and for women's liberation?

This Intensive will be conducted by staff of the Sylvia Rivera Law
Project (SRLP), an innovative legal collective in New York City
focused on justice for transgender, intersex, and gender
non-conforming people. SRLP is founded on the understanding that
gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial,
social and economic justice. Therefore, SRLP seeks to increase the
political voice and visibility of low-income people of color who are
transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming, and improve access
to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services. SRLP
believes that in order to create meaningful political participation
and leadership, people must have access to basic means of survival
and safety from violence.

==> Beyond the Binary: Language, Longing, and Legitimacy (Friday, March 30)

This Intensive will use interactive dialogue, small and large group
discussion, and experiential reflective exercises to engage members
of the gender community who feel they don't "fit in." In the
"language" part of the Intensive, participants will have the
opportunity to explore the ways in which language both oppresses and
liberates different aspects of personal identity, identify and share
the language they prefer, and support each other in claiming that
language. In the "longing" section, participants will put words to
their longings and begin empowering themselves to achieve what they
want. In "legitimacy," attendees will share stories about the varied
ways in which we search for legitimacy, affirming not only the hurt
and pain that comes with not finding it, but also the stories of
success. The day will end with a synthesizing exercise to enable
participants to walk away with more language, less longing, and a
feeling of legitimacy that they can then transfer back to their
day-to-day lives.

Both presenters, Shane Whalley and Heather Davies, are Texas
therapists and activists. Shane has lived between the boxes for
over10 years and finds freedom in making space for hirself and
others. Heather travels a different path around gender. She has a
fluidity that means on any given day people who come in contact with
her might find her flowing and more feminine or buttoned down and
more masculine.

==> Understanding the Transgender Experience (From Letters to
Surgery and Beyond): 101 for Providers (Friday, March 30)

Have you been thinking about working with transgender clients but
don't know where to start? Then this Intensive is perfect for
you. Designed especially for mental health professionals (who have
specific roles to play in many transgender journeys), this 101 will
also provide excellent groundwork for other types of professionals
and even family and community members who are new to transgender
issues. With a specific emphasis on the diversities present within
the Female-to-Male (FTM) side of the transgender spectrum, the
Intensive's training objectives include: 1) Helping participants
understand the therapist's role in the decision-making process
surrounding gender identity issues; 2) Presenting a more holistic,
developmental perspective on trans identity in general than is
available through the current medical model; 3) Explaining the
historic paradigm of transition, including historical information
about the development of the Standards of Care, and why this paradigm
does not well serve the needs of transgender individuals; and
4) Providing information about the wide range of possibilities on
the gender continuum.

Nationally-known FTM therapist and trainer Reid Vanderburgh makes up
half of this Intensive's facilitator team. He holds an MA in
Counseling Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
with a private practice in Oregon. Approximately 90% of his clients
are trans-identified in some way. Co-presenter lore m. dickey has
completed the first year of his Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program
at the University of North Dakota, and recently completed a study on
the effectiveness of support groups for the FTM community.

* * * * * *

The FORGE Forward 2007 Conference's philosophy is
inclusion-focused. We value individuality, diversity, and complexity
-- believing that together, all of us make a stronger, more
supportive and vibrant community.

For more information, contact
FORGE Forward 2007 Conference | michael munson | PO Box 1272 |
Milwaukee, WI 53201 | 414-559-2123 (phone)