Wednesday, May 30, 2012

11th Annual Trans Health Conference This Weekend

Philadelphia welcomes what has become the largest trans-specific event in the world when the 11th annual Trans Health Conference returns to Philadelphia, PA from May 31-June 2

And I'm bummed because one of my fave transmen is the keynote speaker and I won't be there.

The PTHC is a program of Mazzoni Center and will take place once again at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. What began in 2002 as a one-day gathering of transgender activists, allies, and service providers, has grown in the decade since its inception to become the largest transgender-specific conference in the world. Last June this free event drew 2,000 attendees from throughout the U.S. and overseas to participate in three full days of educational and social activities, with offerings for family members, community allies, medical and social service providers as well.

It's also one of those major conferences I'd love to attend but haven't been able to make my schedule coincide with theirs so I can be in Philly for it.   And if and when I'm blessed enough to get that opportunity, there's some cheeseteaks with my name on them...

The 2012 conference schedule features some 200 workshops and panel discussions on a diverse range of subjects relating to health and well-being, including healthcare, safety, education, employment, housing, legal issues, and social support.

“From the beginning, the vision of the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference has been to address body, mind, spirit, community, and well-being,” Mazzoni Center Executive Director Nurit L. Shein said. “We are especially excited to be welcoming a number of international participants this year, as they can shed light on the particular experiences of transgender individuals and communities in their native countries, but also on the common ground we share in seeking to improve health care access and outcomes for trans people worldwide.”

As much as possible, PTHC strives to ensure that the conference addresses the diverse needs of all transgender communities: transgender men, transgender women, gender-queer, and gender- variant youth and adults, as well as their partners, families, and allies. In an effort to increase the availability of quality, culturally competent care for transgender communities, PTHC also provides workshops for medical, mental health, legal, and social service providers.

“The Trans-Health Conference Planning Committee has put a great deal of time and consideration into the selection of workshops and programs this year,” Conference Coordinator Jacsen Callanan explained. “Our goal is to provide a meaningful and educational experience both for veteran attendees of the conference, as well as for individuals who may be joining us for the first time.”

This year’s conference includes an increased emphasis on international issues, including panels on immigration and the challenges faced by refugees and asylees; transgender activism in Europe, as well as spotlight discussions on the state of trans communities in Latin America and South Asia. Funding from the Arcus Foundation and the Open Society Foundation has helped to make this programming possible.

As part of this year’s international focus, on Friday, June 1 at 8:00 PM, there will be a special presentation of “Tara’s Crossing,” an original play by Emmy-nominated writer Jeffrey Solomon, inspired by dozens of interviews with sexual minority asylum seekers from around the world. It will be held at the Arch Street United Methodist Church Main Sanctuary (55 N. Broad Street). The performance is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation with additional support from the United Church of Christ Office for Health and Wholeness Advocacy.

Trans Medicine Education Initiative

New at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference this year will be the first annual Transgender Education Certificate Course a three-day intensive for medical providers designed for new as well as experienced medical providers (MD, DO, NP, PA, RN, ND, PharmD) interested in the primary care of adult and pediatric transgender patients. The certificate program will consist of lectures given by nationally known experts in the field of transgender primary care, mental health, pediatrics & adolescent medicine, and endocrinology.

In addition, Mazzoni Center’s Legal Services department has incorporated a significant number of programs in this year’s conference that are specifically dedicated to legal obstacles facing transgender communities, and aimed at practicing attorneys who wish to learn more about these issues, in order to provide culturally competent legal services to transgender clients. To that end, there will be as many as twelve hours of Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits offered free of charge during this year’s conference, on subjects including: legal identity documentation, immigration issues, employee and employer workplace questions, advocating for transgender equality, and more.

All three days of the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference are free, but registration is recommended. Visit for all the details.

Opening reception, keynote speakers and other conference highlights

Minister Louis “L.J.” Mitchell will kick off this year’s conference with a keynote address on Thursday, May 31 at 8:45 A.M. Mitchell is co-founder of Recovering the Promise Ministries, a Fellowship-affiliated ministry located in Chicopee, Massachusetts. He has served with various agencies and boards, including as the first “out” transgender-identified Board member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and as a founding member of Lesbians and Gays of African Descent for Democratic Action.

The official PTHC 2012 welcoming reception will take place Thursday, May 31 from 7:30-8:30 PM at the William Way Community Center (1315 Spruce Street). Guests will enjoy refreshments and mingle with fellow attendees, and will also have an opportunity to view an exhibit celebrating the 10th anniversary of the addition of gender identity to Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance. The opening reception is free and open to all conference attendees.

Friday, June 1, at 4:00 PM, Mya L. Vazquez and Ryan Cassata will deliver the Youth Keynote address as part of the PTHC’s first ever “Youth Summit,” which includes workshops and that will take place throughout the day. Vazquez is a longtime activist and leader within the transgender and gender-non-conforming communities in New York City. She has helped to organize New York's third annual Trans day of action with TransJustice, an organizing working group, in which she is currently the Program coordinator of TransJustice at The Audre Lorde Project. Cassata is a 19-year-old transgender identified singer-songwriter and motivational speaker from Long Island, New York. The founder of Artemendous Records, LLC, Cassata has recorded two albums, toured the U.S., made numerous television appearances, and won the Harvey Milk Memorial Award.

More information on the 2012 Trans-Health Conference and a full schedule of workshops and activities is available at:

 About Mazzoni Center Established in 1979, Mazzoni Center provides quality comprehensive health and wellness services and is the only health care provider in the Philadelphia region specifically targeting the unique health care needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. Mazzoni Center offers a full array of outreach, prevention, education, direct medical and care services, psychosocial services, legal services, and support groups, reaching more than 30,000 people annually. It is the oldest AIDS service organization in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the fourth-oldest in the U.S. Mazzoni Center is dedicated to preserving the dignity and improving the quality of life of the individuals it serves. More information at :

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