Last week was very difficult. Many of us are mourning directly having lost our loves, dear friends, our colleagues. All of us are mourning as we are the witnesses of another tragic, mass killing. And we are all hobbled by the directed, murderous hate towards our LGBTQ community.
Surreally, and in direct contrast, the tragedy followed on the heels of an incredibly validating few days here at trans.cafe as we attended and sponsored the 15th Philadelphia Trans Health Conference (PTHC), the largest North American gathering of trans-identified people and their allies. At its end on Saturday evening, we were giddy with the palpable joy from gathering together as a community more than 4,000 people strong — the largest participant numbers yet in the conference’s 15 year history.
And so it is those few days spent joyfully, that we bring forward into this reflective moment, as the picture of the future we want to build. The only benefit to having such beautiful highs at the conference followed by the worst tragedy so far in our country, is that such life-affirming and such extreme life-taking experiences serve as our greatest motivators, and combined they create the alchemy to change our culture.
Let us stay motivated then. And so we at trans.cafe report on the conference to remember we have created both beautiful realities and serious progress for ourselves, and the conference can stand right now as an important reflection of a hopeful trans future.
For those who have never been to PTHC, it is 3 full days of free expert workshops and content, vendors, networking, and crucial in-person meet-ups that advance the movement each and every year. We get to meet each other, know each other, making trans identities visible first to ourselves, so that we can then begin the tough and urgent project to hallow our country’s ground.
When the conference began some 15 years ago, it was 50 people huddled together at Quaker Friends Meeting house across the street. Now, it’s hosted at the largest Philadelphia conference center, and it is bursting at its seams. Let’s be clear: this is progress.
Here are our three big takeaways:
The trans economy is real and growing fast. The need for products and services for both trans identified people and the communities around them is huge. The (smart) businesses and individuals who figure this out now will not only benefit financially, but they will also play an important early role in creating real gender equality for everyone. There are very loyal customers to be had here!
There is incredible talent and passion in the trans community. One of the best parts of the show was the deep authenticity everyone brought to the table, and the diversity within the diversity. We are our best selves when we get to be ourselves. We are an unbelievable community that has the power to not only change things for ourselves, but for all people. #transforce
People are hungry for good-quality information. One of the big reasons we sponsored PTHC was to talk to our readers, and we were so lucky to have engaged in hundreds of conversations. What became really clear is there is a great need (and there is a certain void) for schools, companies, and communities to have direct access to best practices, rich educational tools and breaking information. This need, and lack of high-quality, dynamic business-bound and school-bound educational tools makes us even more proud to launch trans.cafe Insitute (TCI) in just a few weeks, as we hope to solve this exact problem. Click here and sign-up to be notified when we go live.
Hopefully, you can come next year to experience PTHC for yourself or maybe we will see you at one of these other great events soon.