We Are the Youth participant Jesse reports back on Trans Health Conference

June 15, 2012

Jesse, (one of the first-ever We Are the Youth participants!), attended the Trans Health Conference earlier this month. He blogs here about his experience.

Jesse and friends having fun at the Trans Health Conference in Philadelphia

From May 30th until June 2nd I was in Philadelphia for the Trans* Health Conference. It’s the largest transgender* conference in the entire world with three days of lectures, sessions and booths. The youth had a very large number at the conference, with lots of groups run by young people.

Ryan Cassata, a We Are the Youth participant, was there not only as a representative of his music and his efforts for the community, but also as a keynote speaker. He spoke about sexism and shaming in the trans* community and why he thinks its important for everyone to respect each others identities because there is no one way to be trans*.

There was also a teen space with many fun activities and games for the younger set. My good friend Loan Tran gave a excellent speech inspired by our GLSEN training about safe schools and what we can do to address our own issues in our schools. In the same space Drexel (my future home), a college that is located in Philadelphia had their LGBT-identified club, FUSE, do a workshop about action on campus and how to get activism rolling.

I also attended a seminar on sexual liberation in the queer community. That was an amazing session because even though all of us were under 25 and some had never even had a sexual encounter before, we all managed to come up with great things to say about what sexual liberation is and how we can work to overcome the oppression that sex has in our society. As an FTM I also went to some more basic trans FTM themed sessions. Me and my friends (Including We Are the Youth participants Ryan and Kaden) went to a top surgery show-and-tell where people ranging in ages from 16 to over 50 showed of their chests after having top surgery.

For me as someone who hasn’t decided anything about what they want with their medical transition yet, it was very confusing and overwhelming. I had no idea what surgeons I liked or disliked or what I thought of anything at all. Overall I had a great experience at the conference, not only because of the speakers, groups and free stuff, but also because I really felt part of the community. It reminded me why I was drawn to my trans* identity in the first place and made me feel more confident than ever in the path I have chosen. I felt so lucky to have gone to this conference. It was a great way to end high school.

* transgender and all identities that fall under the transgender umbrella.