Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference

August 26, 2019

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By Alex Pershai, Facilitator, Trans Newcomers Resource Hub

Moving to a new country is a traumatic experience for many of people. Immigration as a trans* person can be even more difficult. It takes a long time to find work, community, acceptance, and a sense of belonging.

There is also the need to be heard, share experiences, and maybe help others going through similar struggles. If you are a trans* immigrant and you want to find your community, then getting involved in social activism might help. The question is – where to start?

Participation in national and international conferences may be an inspiration, and the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference is one of the largest international trans* community events in North America.

The conference takes place every year at the end of July or in early August. It welcomes thousands of activists, social workers, medical professionals and educators from all over the world. There is up-to-date information about educational, medical, jurisdictional, and community support resources. It is a fun and safe space that supports all trans* identities – a great way to feel empowered, find connections, receive peer support, and get involved.

General information

There are two tracks at the conference, general and professional (protrack). The professional track offers a credited course for professionals involved with various kinds of work with the trans* communities. As a community member you most likely need the general track.

Be sure to have a valid travel document (like a passport) before the conference. Your document picture must be recent and the name on your ticket must match the name on your travel document. Click here for more information on this.

Subscribe to the Mazzoni Center mailing list for important news and notifications about open calls for participation, registration and travel bursaries.

Note: The conference website is updated as the conference progress, but the organizers need some time to upload new information. For the latest updates check out the Mazzoni Center’s website).

Want to give a presentation?

You can apply to present a workshop if you wish - it’s a great way to share your experience. The idea of presenting might seem intimidating, but you will be in the company of people who will support you and understand your struggles.

If you want to present, apply using the online form when the call for participation is open. The application form will be available on the conference website. Usually, the deadline for applications is early January. You will hear back in a couple of months.

When applying, you will need to:

  • Prepare a short summary of the presentation or workshop
  • Identify intended audiences
  • Provide additional information about yourself or your organization
  • Provide a brief biography of all participants if it is a group presentation
  • Have your Curriculum Vitae (CV) ready to upload

Want to register?

Register online when the conference registration is open. There are no conference fees for the general track (there are fees for the protrack).

Once the call for scholarships is open, fill out the online application form. Take a moment to explain your personal circumstances and motivation to attend or present at the conference. The scholarship call usually opens in April or May, it is important to follow the updates to meet the deadline.

It is a good idea to allocate funds for the conference. The organizers offer some support but funding is not guaranteed. It might be useful to hold a community fundraiser or to start a crowd-funding campaign online to raise the funds.

As a nonbinary person, I often feel invisible in large public gatherings, especially those that focus on a specific social group, but in Philadelphia I met dozens of nonbinary people of different ages and gender expressions. It was empowering to have open conversations with my peers, to know that I am not alone in my struggles, and to receive so much support from others sharing their personal stories and advice.

In that context I saw that some of my daily battles are the result of systemic oppression and they should be addressed as such. We had some great discussions about how to cope with difficult situations and what resources are there to help.

I took part in the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference twice, once as an attendee and once as a presenter. Both times I came back inspired, energized and ready to contribute to the local trans* community in Vancouver. I look forward to participating in the conference again in 2020. Hope to see you there!

MOSAIC’s Trans Online Resource Hub provides information and support to folks who identify as transgender, transsexual, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, two-spirited, agender, polygender, bigender, and many more gender identities and expressions that are different from expectations based on their sex assigned at birth.