Attending the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference

philidelphia trans health conference 2017

 

This time last week I was flying back from Philadelphia to Atlanta from The Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, where thousands of transgender, gender fluid, gender non binary, allies, parents and professionals met for three days.  The conference was a wonderful experience for me. I was able to become more educated on issues related to the transgender community and mental health, stopping gate keeping and research.

Whether you identify in the community, are an ally or a professional, I recommend this conference.  Aside from the education I received, a few of the takeaways I have are there amazing resource centers in and around the northeastern United States.  I met people from organizations focused on surgery, advocacy, mental health, inpatient treatment centers, and reproductive centers. These places all affirm gender.

Classes I took

Another takeaway I have meeting other professionals that complete surgeries, pediatric hormone replacement therapy, other counselors and therapists and authors.  It was a wonderful place to be if you also practice acceptance and affirmation of all genders.  Some of the classes that stand out to me were classes on microaggressions, breaking up with gate keeping.  I also learned about working with transgender and non-binary children and adolescents, and legal name changes in the United States. There were several more classes.

I sat participated in a discussion from an organization that spoke  about the religious right and making space for the transgender community to practice religion and spirituality.  The educational part of the conference was not only helpful in practice, but it was good to see and meet other professionals with the same values for care.

What happens at the Conference?

If you are wondering what exactly goes on at the conference, there are two parts.  This is from my perspective as a professional ally. There is a  professional track and a general track.  The general track was free this year and included over a hundred classes and discussions for the transgender community, parents and allies.  There were vendor and nonprofit tables set up throughout the conference to gain valuable resources and learn more about offerings for the community.  There was a reception for the conference at The African American Museum in Philadelphia were an award for dedication to the community was given and people could eat, converse and celebrate.

What I am bringing back

But, what did this conference allow me to bring back to my private practice? First, a sense of hope.  There are other practitioners and clinicians that don’t ask intrusive questions to the community and believe that being transgender is not a mental illness. There is more education to work with the community than what is offered in Atlanta on a professional level and it is obtainable.  That I am following a level of support, acknowledgement and advocacy for the community that is gaining in numbers and should be gaining in numbers.  The last and most important takeaway is that clients don’t have to prove to me that they are transgender or identify as gender non-conforming.

Have you ever been to the conference?

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