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Counseling Transgender Youth Workshop, Southern Comfort Conference (1999)

Counseling Transgender Youth Workshop, Southern Comfort Conference (1999)

©1999, 2013 by Sandra Cole, Dallas Denny, Diane Ellaborn, Anne Lawrence, & Barbara Rubin.

Source: Cole, Sandra, Denny, Dallas, Ellaborn, Diane, Lawrence, Anne, & Rubin, Barbara. (1999, 24 September). Counseling professionals’ workshop on gender identity issues. Full-day workshop held at the Southern Comfort Conference, Atlanta, GA.



Etc. Magazine’s Press Coverage for 1999 Workshop (PDF)


I was in charge of programming for the Southern Comfort Conference for a good part of the 1990s. In 1997 and 1998 several Atlanta-based mental health professionals, including myself, formed an organization called the American Gender Institute. We produced two workshops. This was the third in a series of three.

I possess only the first page of the Etcetera article from 1999.


Counseling Transgender Youth at the Close of the Century

A Workshop on Gender Identity Issues for Counseling Professionals


Sponsored by the Southern Comfort Conference
Friday, 24 September, 1999
9:00 am – 5:00 pm


Sheraton Buckhead Atlanta
3405 Lenox Road, Atlanta, GA
(Across from Lenox Shopping Center)

1-800-241-8260 for reservations


Counseling Transgender Youth at the Close of the Century


The 1990s has brought a new maturity to the art and science of counseling individuals with gender identity issues. Old notions of the transgendered as bizarre or mentally ill have been replaced by an understanding that they are very much like everyone else. New knowledge of the ways in which they are impacted by internal and external forces has resulted in the development of new therapeutic tools to help transgendered men and women increase their self-understanding, cope with the many external pressures they face, and make competent decisions about the ways in which they will live their lives. As they take this new knowledge to other professionals and to the business community, therapists have found new roles as educators, and they have found roles as case managers as they help transgendered individuals adjust to the incredible stressors associated with accepting themselves as transgendered and changing their gendered presentations.

As information and support have become more widely available, young people with transgender issues, both male-to-female and female-to-male, have begun to come forth in increasing numbers. The concerns of transgender youth are in some ways similar and in some ways strikingly different from those of adults. In this, the third year of the Counseling Professionals’ Workshops, we examine the difficult issues faced by transgender youth and their families.



8:30-9:00 Registration & Coffee Bar
9:00-9:15 Welcome
9:15-9:30 Introductions
9:30-10:15 Issues & Problems Faced by Transgender Youth (Denny)
10:15-11:00 Counseling Transgender Youth (Rubin)
11:00-11:15 Break
11:15-12:00 Evaluating & Treating Youth in Gender Transition  (Ellaborn)
12:00-12:30 Transgender Youth & Their Relationships (Cole)
12:30- 2:00 Lunch (Banquet Luncheon included)
2:00-2:30 Resources for Transgender Youth (Erhardt)
2:30-3:15 Emerging Issues in Medical Treatment (Lawrence)
3:15-3:30 Break
3:30-4:45 Case Presentations and Discussion
4:45-5:00 Closing and Course Evaluation




Sandra S. Cole, Ph.D. is Professor and Director of the Comprehensive Gender Services Program, University of Michigan Medical Center. For the past 17 years Dr. Cole has affiliated with the transgender community, working with wives, partners, and couples on topics of sexual health, intimacy, and relationships.

Dallas Denny, M.A. has been licensed to practice psychology in Tennessee since 1980. She is former Executive Director of the American Educational Gender Information Service and editor of the texts Gender Dysphoria: A Guide to Research and Current Concepts in Transgender Identity.

Diane Ellaborn, LICSW has a private psychotherapy practice in Framingham, Massachusetts and is a NASW Diplomate in Clinical Social Work. She specializes in counseling individuals with gender identity issues and their families and educating other clinicians about transgender issues.

Anne Lawrence, M.D. is the creator and manager of Transsexual Women’s Resources, the largest Internet medical site for male-to-female transsexuals. She is a member of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, where she serves on the Standards of Care committee.

Barbara Rubin, Psy.D. has a private psychotherapy practice in Midtown Atlanta and is a full-time court psychologist for Fulton County (GA) Superior Court’s Family Division performing child custody evaluations in high conflict divorce cases. In her private practice, she specializes in gender identity issues.


Learning Objectives


At the conclusion of this program, participants should be able to:

  • Describe the characteristics of transgender youth and their families.
  • Describe issues involved with coming out for transgender youth and their families.
  • Explain lifestyle options and treatment alternatives for youth with transgender issues.
  • Describe and explain special therapeutic issues and areas of concern when working with transgender youth and their families.
  • Identify a variety of resources for transgender youth.
  • Explain and understand the importance of the Standards of Care of the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association.