By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Diversity Center of Oklahoma (DCO) will host its 5th Annual Gender & 2S-LGBTQ Symposium addressing best practices for “Total Wellness for Diverse Communities.” The event will be held Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18, at the OU Heath Science Center (OUHSC) College of Allied Health, 1200 N. Stonewall Avenue, in Oklahoma City. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. on Friday.
“As research has shown, persons who identify as Gender Diverse (transgender or transgender expansive) and 2S (Two-Spirit)-LGBTQ persons experience multiple forms of exemption and discrimination related to healthcare,” said Kelley Blair, CEO and Diversity Center of Oklahoma executive director.
“These healthcare barriers intersect, and overlap, marginalizing and disenfranchising minority groups creating ‘gaps’ in their ability to access culturally sensitive and equitable medical and behavioral health services.”
The symposium is designed to provide mental health, prevention, and education opportunities for individuals and organizations working to support the LGBTQT community and their wellness.
“One of the primary goals of the Diversity Center of Oklahoma (DCO) is to increase the number of qualified practitioners who are better trained and experienced in providing quality treatment for gender diverse and 2S-LGBTQ populations through education,” Blair added.
“This year’s symposium will explore various topics impacting gender diversity and 2S-LGBTQ persons and their families; latest medical treatment options, including theories of mental distress and mental health disparity for populations and subpopulations through a series of presentations by national speakers, leading clinicians and professionals in the field.”
The 2019 Gender Diverse anddi LGBTQ Symposium is partnering with leading clinicians and professionals to provide a full day of training with the option of continuing education credit.
“In the past the symposium has been mainly for professionals,” Blair said. “We recognize that informed consent empowers the person receiving treatment. We are offering a community track both days of the symposium. On Saturday, we will offer some presentations specifically for families including a film and panel discussions.
“We will have speakers that will be providing information on various topics, from sexual health to behavioral health concerns relating to all ages,” she added.
Speakers include: Dr. Courtney Caplin, cosmetic surgeons for Transgender patients; Dr. Al Carlozzi, specializing in Transgender/Gender Expansive Persons Ethical Treatment and Advocacy; Lindsey Churchill, Director of the Women’s Research Center and BGLTQ+ Student Center at the University of Central Oklahoma; James Cooper, Oklahoma City Ward 2 Councilperson; Steven Goldman, Healthcare Navigator specializing in health plans for LGBTQ+ community; and Finn Jones, Executive Director and co-founder of Trans-Cendence International; and Anna Lantry, transgender voice coach.
Also speaking are: Jerome Larez, co-founder of ARTITUDE; Shauna M. Lawlis, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Children’s Physicians; Sage Mauldin, Affiliate Faculty Member of the University of Oklahoma Women’s & Gender Studies Program; Andy Moore, Licensed Professional Counselor in the HIV community; and Wes Parks, psychotherapist.
The symposium will provide a vendor’s booth area where participants can speak with those who provide services specifically to Gender Diverse and 2S-LGBTQ communities and their family members.
“Every year we continue to grow.” Blair said. “We have already scheduled our 2020 symposium for May 8 & 9 which will be at OU’s Samis Education Center. We are always looking for individuals who are interested in being involved with our symposium committee, it’s a great way to meet others and to advocate best practices in healthcare and behavioral health.”
Individual one day tickets are $25. For more information about speakers, schedule, sponsors and tickets, visit diversitycenterofoklahoma.org.