Personal Review: Philadelphia Trans* Pride Conference (PTPC)

*** Submitted by Kaden Michael, from ***

The Philadelphia Trans Health Conference (PTHC), put on by the Mazzoni Center, was in full effect for it’s 11th year from May 31st to June 2nd. With an estimated 2,400 preregistered guests, and although the official count will take a while to obtain, the actual attendance count is expected to be around 3,500.If you haven’t heard about PTHC, it is an annual health conference held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and covers a variety of important subjects. Attendees can submit their feedback, and presenters submit their workshops, so the entire conference is essentially put on for the people, by the people. And the best part of all: it’s FREE!

The attendance at PTHC 2012 increased daily. The common area was packed, mixed with transgender folks, their SOFFAs, children and professionals, as well as vendors from across the United States. Workshops were full, sometimes prohibiting more participants. My heart melted at the groups of children running around, noticeably happy, and excited, to be expressing themselves with no fear of judgement. It was magical.
The conference offered many outlets for the variety of attendees. There was a common area for people to lounge, eat, and browse through clothing donations that were free to everyone. Attendees had the option to enroll their children in daycare services, provided free of charge. PTHC also offered space for worship, yoga, meditation, and even a 12-step meeting.

Thursday offered over 60 workshops for those in attendance. Topics ranged from “Transgender 101″ and “Inclusion and Allyship” to “Emergency Medical Care” and discussions about sex work. My first workshop of the conference was entitled, “The Healthcare Field and Best Practices for Supporting Transgender Children and Their Families” which was followed by another focused on social work. Both were presented by Jenn Burleton and Sheryl Rindel of TransActive, and were attended by many providers acknowledging that they were at the conference to learn about transgender health to better suit new patients. These workshops were an excellent starting point for them.

Friday’s workshops were just as diverse with options such as “Focus on Trans Health: A Legal Perspective,” “Presenting Gender With Your Pants Off,” and “A Teacher’s Toolkit.” My selection of worshops was highlighted by “Hung Jury,” a presentation of an upcoming anthology titled, “Hung Jury: Testimonies of Genital Surgery of Transsexual Men.” Excerpts of the book were read and many personal questions were answered of presenter Trystan Cotten, PhD. The readings offered a sneak peek into the minds of individuals who have had such surgeries and their decision processes, which was excellent in cracking some bottom surgery myths.

Friday also offered the Youth Keynote address to target participants of the PTHC Youth Summit. Mya Vazquez and Ryan Cassata were the scheduled speakers. Both made outstanding speeches and were widely praised by the audiance. Introducting Mya and Ryan was Jazz, the now 11 year old transgender girl who was feautured ABC’s 20/20, as well as her own documentary “I Am Jazz.” During the question and answer session that followed the speeches, Jazz was invited up to the panel, and it seemed she stole the show. Most notibly was her response to a question regarding what she would do with a magic stick that would make her have been born a cisgendered male. “I would break that stick in half!” She went on to express how happy to was to be transgender, to educate people, and how grateful she was for her parents, which brought tears to many.

Saturday brought an intense final day to the conference. Workshop topics included “Advocating for Trans Equality” and “Ways To Afford Transition.” Some of the most interesting workshops for some were the bottom surgery show and tells that were offered this year. The trans-masculine presentation, titled “Below The Belt,” offered a slide show and live models of lower surgery options available for those interested. The trans-feminine presentation, titled “Un-Tucked,” offered the same. An almost full house attended “Ways To Afford Transition” which touched on some scholarship programs, savings ideas, and mostly focused on insurance which offered excellent insight for participants thanks to the presenters from CK Life.

Overall, the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference was, once again, an event that should not be missed! It is advetised as the largest transgender conference in the world, has the most diverse schedule of workshops that one could ask for, and is free (as in, there are no registration fees)! If you have the chance to make it to any conference, whether you are a trans* identified individual, a family member, partner, or friend, or even a health care professional, this is the conference to come to. The atmosphere is welcoming and mindblowing. For more information about the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference in 2013, stay updated on and I will see you there!


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