Parallel Session 3

Gender and Body Image Outside of the Binary: Promoting Self-Esteem in Transgender and Gender Fluid Youth 



This interactive presentation will discuss the complexity of gender outside the binary and its connection to eating disorders and body dysphoria. It will provide an overview of gender identity and body image, look at the current research on connections between gender identity and disordered eating, and will provide guidelines for support and practice. It will reference relevant clinical examples, allow practitioners to self-reflect and provide activities that will increase self-esteem and body confidence in trans and gender-fluid youth. All levels are welcome and can benefit.


Learning Objectives:

Following this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Differentiate between biological gender and gender identity on the gender spectrum
  2. Identify the components of body image, types of body image disturbance and distinguish between body image dsphoria versus body image distortion
  3. Discuss the adolescent coming out process
  4. List strategies to support youth


Knowledge Level: All


Presenter Biographies

Heidi J. Dalzell, PsyD, CEDS, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorders Specialist. Dr. Dalzell brings 20 years of clinical experience to her role of co-director of Bucks LGBTQ Center and Bucks Eating Disorders Collaborative in Newtown, PA. Dr. Dalzell graduated summa cum laude from Immaculata University, where she completed her research on early trauma. Dr. Dalzell has a busy private practice. Special areas of interest include eating disorders, dissociative disorders and trauma. Dr. Dalzell is passionate about promoting healthy body image, sexuality and self-acceptance in LGBTQ youth, especially those in the formative process of identifying sexual and/or gender identities. She also enjoys working with families of these youth. Dr. Dalzell is a prolific writer and speaker, frequently working with parent groups, schools and professional organizations. Dr. Dalzell has worked in inpatient and outpatient settings. She is a member of APA/Division 44, and is active in IAEDP, where she serves on the Greater Philadelphia board.

Kayti Protos, LCSW is the Assistant Director and Clinical Coordinator of the Bucks LGBTQ Center in Newtown, PA and a therapist at Bucks Eating Support Collaborative.  She focuses on integrating treatment for those struggling with eating disorder, addiction, and trauma with special emphasis on LGBTQ+ identities. Prior to transitioning to full-time private practice, she was a clinician at Steps to Recovery, an addictions treatment center in Levittown, PA. She previously worked as the Clinical Coordinator and Counselor for the Young Men’s Program at Cumberland Heights in Nashville, TN, as well as serving six years between Vanderbilt University and St. Lawrence University as a crisis interventionist and advocate for individuals experiencing power-based personal violence. Kayti holds a Masters of Social Work from Tennessee State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s & Gender Studies and Communication Studies from Vanderbilt University.