Response to the Cancellation of Workshops.
Workshop content for the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference is a community-led effort, and while the community agrees on many workshop topics for the conference, there is occasionally a difference of opinion on others.
The mission of the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference is to educate and empower trans and gender non-conforming/non-binary (GNC/NB) community individuals on issues of health and well-being; educate and inform allies and health service providers; and facilitate networking, community-building, and systemic change. We strive to create an accessible and respectful environment that is inclusive of diverse gender-identities and expressions as well as inclusive of diverse opinions and ideas.
Workshops are reviewed and selected by working groups made up of community members focused on different areas, like sexuality, aging, faith, and self-care and decisions finalized by a volunteer planning committee comprised of leads from each of the working groups.
For this year’s conference, two workshops, ‘Alternate ways of working with gender dysphoria’ and ‘Detransition: A panel discussion’ have become the center of a debate. Detransition is, without a doubt, a difficult and sometimes controversial topic. These two workshops brought impassioned conversation to the forefront for conference planners and community stakeholders. Individuals have come out on both sides with very strong opinions on whether these workshops should be permitted to be presented at the conference to what type of content and comments would be presented by the facilitators going off of what they have posted they have on social media.
When a topic becomes controversial, such as this one has turned on social media, there is a duty to make sure that the debate does not get out of control at the conference itself. After several days of considerations and reviewing feedback, the planning committee voted that the workshops, while valid, cannot be presented at the conference as planned.
The difficult decision to pull these workshops ultimately came down to the level of heated conversation and controversy surrounding the two workshops. This was detracting from our overall mission of the conference, to provide an accessible and respectful environment that centers the experiences of the transgender and gender non-conforming/non-binary (GNC/NB) community.
We do not like to cancel programming for the conference, but at the same time, there is a duty to ensure the conference environment is safe, accessible, and respectful for everyone in attendance; however, with the amount of overwhelming reactions around this topic, this was not looking possible.
We strive to be inclusive of diverse opinions and ideas. It is possible that one day in the future these topics can be a part of the conference.
Thank you for your feedback, patience and understanding while we worked to make this very difficult decision.