So day 1 is done - such a long day! I volunteered to help with set up, so I was there starting at 6 a.m. But all totally worth it :-)
On a matter of personal achievement first - during one of the panels I actually spoke during the Q&A. Perhaps seems small, but 3 or 4 years ago there's no way I would have done that - it was a fairly large room with about 50-60 people. No way. So that's a nice sign of what transitioning has done for me :-)
The most interesting/controversial part was a lecture on "The Biology of Gender." It was a single presenter discussing the science and theories behind gender identity and gender variation. During the Q&A several people criticized it from the perspective that it was very binary - and he generally agreed (that the research itself tends to be biased in favor of the binary). Fair enough. However, I think this is an area where science and culture get conflated sometimes. Leaving aside the terms "sex" and "gender" for a moment - in my view there are 2 things going on: (1) there is what we are born, physiologically, biologically, neurologically, etc., and (2) there is the social construct that got built on top of that - sometimes with some basis, usually not.
Regarding #1, I think we all exist on a spectrum from male to female - some in between, some "mixed" at birth (at least I think that's the prevalent theory about being transgender - genitalia developed one way, the brain the other). I also think that most reputable scientists - although they shorthand it as "male or female" - acknowledge that it's a spectrum and not a binary (they don't, for example, deny the existence of intersex individuals).
Anyway - I'm not sure why I just started that, but curious if others have thoughts :-)