A local LGBT health and wellness organization pushed its annual conference on trans health from its usual June date to September this year to create more time for expanded programming.
Mazzoni Center’s annual Trans Health Conference is making room for more professional tracks, a mentorship program for new workshop presenters, an expanded youth program and a mobile app.
“Typically, the conference is in June but this year we wanted to build in more time to make the conference even bigger and better,” said General Conference Coordinator Ashley Coleman.
The conference has always had tracks for legal and medical professionals but, this year, it will also have an educational track. Coleman said teachers can receive continuing-education requirements for attending the conference.
Additionally, the conference will feature interdisciplinary workshops so professionals are not limited to sessions designated specifically for their fields. Mazzoni designed this effort to “promote communication and information-sharing across disciplines,” according to its website.
“[With] adding those extra components, we wanted to make sure that we weren’t just doing them flippantly and providing the best information we can to folks out in the community who are servicing trans folks and making better and safer spaces for trans folks,” Coleman said.
“We want to give people an opportunity to get out of their shells so we’re pairing them with previous presenters that want to give guidance on how to form a workshop,” Coleman said.
Coleman, who previously worked as an educator, said one of the conference elements she wanted to improve was the youth programming. She plans to do this by bringing in performers, dance parties and educational programs. She said she is “really excited about youth space this year.”
“We’ve always had the youth space but it seems to be falling off,” Coleman said. “The program hasn’t been as cultivated. So this year, I made that one of my focuses to make sure that we’re taking care of the kiddos because it’s important.”
Another effort that Mazzoni’s administration recently approved is a mobile app for conference attendees. Coleman said the app will include clickable maps and workshop listings so the conference organizers can step away from being dependent on paper.
“We are on the very ground floor with the app so fingers crossed we will be ready to go live for this conference,” she said.
While this year’s conference will be in September, Coleman said the current plan is to move it back one month each year until it returns to the June date. She said this will also give Mazzoni the opportunity to see what month attendees prefer.
“Do folks prefer it to be in September? Maybe they will. Would they prefer it to be in August, July or June? Which one of these feels right for the community? This is a nice way for us to figure that out without being too interrupting to folks’ schedules.”
Mazzoni Center’s 2017 Philadelphia Trans Health Conference will be held Sept. 7-9 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1301 N. Arch St. Visit www.mazzonicenter.org/trans-health for more information.