Here at trans.cafe we ran the numbers and are pleased to report that over the last 10 years the frequency and total number of major transgender-focused conference events across the globe has grown more than fourfold with an average attendance increasing by a factor of eight!
With experts hosting workshops on topics ranging from how to create a trans friendly home environment for kids, to best practices for hormone therapy, to spousal support networks, taking in the kind of information being offered at these conferences is critical in helping trans people and their loved ones understand the ever-growing universe of gender-identity issues we all face as a global community. Despite the growing number of conferences, physical access to the regional events isn’t always a feasible solution for many of our brothers and sisters. Yet demand for trans education and content is at an all-time high. That’s why we’re so excited to announce that we are launching a regular free webinar series hosted by many of the very same experts you will see at these events. Click here to sign up for notifications about our event schedule.
If you can make it in person to a live event that’s really the best way to learn, to be honest, and to have a lot of fun too (FYI, the friendships you develop are priceless, and the parties you can experience are epic). This is why we are proud to present our list of the 7 best real-world conferences around the globe. From Manchester, England to Seattle, Washington and everywhere between and beyond, here you can immerse yourself in life-changing learning events that will permanently alter how you view yourself and the world around you, regardless of your gender orientation. Hope to see you there!
1. Sparkle: July 8-10th 2016, Manchester, UK
Now in it’s 14th year, Sparkle is the world’s largest transgender celebration, and in 2015 the conference welcomed over 10,000 attendees. We love Sparkle because it is free to attend, and jam-packed with 2 days of incredible workshops. And this last year Sparkle injected more than $4M (£2.7M) into the Manchester economy! Adding to the fun and education, Sparkle now co-markets Sparkle Fringe events which are comprised of local activities, shows, and displays that run from July 6th to July 13th. Don’t miss the Sparkle Crystal Ball on Saturday. (Sorry, the ball is not free!)
2. Philadelphia Trans Health Conference: June 9-11th 2016, Philadelphia, PA
OK, so we are a little biased since trans.cafe’s home base is Philly, but we really love PTHC because it is the largest free transgender-focused event in North America, and it is renowned for its focus on trans youth, students, and family support. Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, over 7,000 visitors will attend this 3-day event, which includes a very strong Professional Development Track of continuing education for medical providers, behavioral health professionals, and lawyers -- which makes sense because the region boasts one of the strongest medical systems in the world.
3. First Event: January 25-29th 2017, Waltham, MA
The New England area’s premier transgender awareness event is also the longest running event we know of, celebrating 36 years in 2017, and continuing to grow bigger every year (despite the cold weather in January)! First Event has a strong reputation for charity programs, and is well known for its Big Brother / Big Sister program which attempts to pair more experienced transgender individuals with those who may be just beginning their journey.
4. Black Trans Advocacy: April 24-30th 2017, Dallas, TX
Within the the transgender community, racial minorities consistently face the highest levels of discrimination and injustice. This is why it is critical that groups like Black Trans Advocacy exist and that we all help promote and grow their cause. Now moving into their 6th year, the 5th Annual National Black Trans Advocacy Conference & Awards Gala was just held in April in Dallas, Texas, and they are looking to expand their footprint into other cities soon. If you would like to get involved or can help with a monetary donation, the folks at BTA would certainly appreciate your commitment to help us all “Become the change you wish to see in the world!” Crucial wisdom we inherited from Mahatma Ghandi.
5. Gender Odyssey: August 4-7th, 2016, Seattle, WA
This summer marks the 15th Annual Gender Odyssey Conference which will certainly will be their biggest year ever! This 3-day event is packed with incredible workshops, professional tracks, and networking receptions, but it is also known for their focus on art, theatrical performances, film work within the trans community--many of which are free to attend. Don’t worry, if you can’t afford the admission fees for paid tracks, Gender Odyssey (like many of the paid conferences) offers full and partial sponsorships, but you need to apply by June 6th!
6. Southern Comfort: September 27th-October 1st 2016, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Now in its 26th year, Southern Comfort has established itself as one of the premier transgender gatherings in the world. Held at the beautiful Bonaventure Resort & Spa on the edge of the Florida Everglades, Southern Comfort rules because it is part conference and part vacation. No wonder they have developed a loyal following of attendees and experts from across the globe while still being known as a great event for first-timers!
7. European Transgender Council: June 2nd-5th, 2016 Bologna, Italy
The European Transgender Council (TGEU) is celebrating it’s 6th year and has established itself as one of the leading content providers for transgender issues across Europe and the world. This 3-day event is loaded with great speakers, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities. Their website is also well regarded as the domain authority for European transgender resources. And don’t we all need to go to Italy?