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More Than a Unique Twist on Body Image: Eating Disorders in Transgender & Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) Communities

January 15

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PST

A recent listserv inquiry from a dietitian called for more guidance about working with trans and nonbinary clients in treatment. This RD ended with the casual statement that their challenges seemed to be “a unique twist on body image.” Eating disorder treatment has long held body acceptance and body love as central goals of recovery, but unfortunately these concepts risk alienating transgender and GNC clients who struggle with dysphoria and pervasive transphobia on a daily basis. These clients need significantly more than body image support, and few resources exist to support clinicians in understanding the needs of this population. This workshop aims to establish a foundational framework for clinicians to provide gender affirmative eating disorder care through a social justice lens.

Learning Objectives:

• Discuss challenges in research, assessment and treatment of eating disorders in in trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) communities, including the roles of sexism, transphobia, and fatphobia.
• Describe current hypotheses regarding the relationship between gender dysphoria and eating disorders.
• Introduce the tenants of gender affirmative care
• Explore the roles and responsibilities for providers in treating eating disorders in this population

Speaker Bio:

Vaughn Darst, MS, RD  is a Registered Dietitian who specializes eating disorders among under-served populations, including transgender and nonbinary individuals, large bodied individuals, and neurodivergent youth. Vaughn received his MS in Nutrition from the USC, and his BA in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies, with a concentration in Transgender Studies, from Scripps College. Prior to joining Center for Discovery, Vaughn completed two fellowships at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, gaining clinical experience in adolescent medicine and family-centered care for children with neurodevelopmental delay. Vaughn also served as a Health Educator in the Cal State System for over a decade before moving into eating disorder treatment.

Vaughn’s main areas of focus are intuitive eating, Health at Every Size®, and body liberation advocacy. He seeks to work collaboratively with clients to establish a nourishing relationship to food and their body. Vaughn owns a private practice in Los Angeles, serving primarily queer, transgender and gender diverse clients with disordered eating and body image concerns. His TEDx Talk, “In a World That is Wrong About Us,” addresses the unique concerns of clients for whom their eating disorder exists at the intersection of gender, fatness, food, and identity.