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 http://www.trans-health.org 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:http://www.trans-health.org

 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 :http://www.mazzonicenter.org

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