Post submitted by Samantha Masters, HRC Youth & Campus Outreach Assistant
This past weekend HRC joined thousands of transgender activists, advocates and allies from across the world who gathered at the Philadelphia Convention Center for the Mazzoni Center’s 13th annual Philadelphia Trans Health Conference (PTHC).
PTHC offers a space for Trans* people and allies, families, and providers to come together to re-envision what health means for Trans* people, according to the Mazzoni Center. The conference focuses on promoting transgender health and wellness in mind, body, spirit, and community. PTHC provides a unique experience for community members to listen, learn from and build with transgender activists. It is work that is deeply necessary if we are to continue building a truly inclusive movement.
“Feeling such a sense of community among folks from different backgrounds is extremely affirming. Words cannot describe how validating it feels to not be placed in a gender or sexuality box upon interacting with someone new,” said Jessie Sheffield, HRC Marketing Assistant.
Foundation Assistant Sam Anderson reaffirmed this sentiment, stating, “This was my first year at the Philly Trans Health Conference, and it was an extreme privilege to be around so many remarkable people. I haven't been out as genderqueer for long and this affirming space was much needed. I met people who didn't automatically gender me just based on my appearance. People didn't even blink an eye when I asked them to refer to me with they/them/their pronouns. For those who don't fall in stride with the gender binary, safe spaces where they can be their whole self are hard to come by. Everyone deserves a place like that, where they can be fully accepted and radically respected."
For the past three years, HRC has been a sponsor and supporter of PTHC. We have used our involvement to both engage transgender communities with the work HRC is doing to advance transgender equality and to recruit change-agents to work at HRC.