Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference Recap

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Every year Philadelphia hosts the largest (free) transgender conference in the world — full of workshops, resources, social gatherings, vendors, and more. At FLAVNT, we have attended PTWC the last 4 years (5 if you count the first year that Chris attended carrying a duffel bag, selling shirts in the hallways for one day only). This has come to be one of our favorite times of the year — where we get to go sell our merchandise, spread our message, and connect with our customers in real life.

PTWC 2016

PTWC 2016

PTWC 2018

PTWC 2018

PTWC 2017

PTWC 2017

PTWC 2019

PTWC 2019

The conference is also so much more than just a vending opportunity as a small LGBTQ brand — it’s a time of year that we get to reconnect with many friends that we don’t get to see any other time. It has become tradition that we rent a big airbnb to house our ever-growing group of friends, past fundraising partners, and whoever else wants to hang with us. This becomes part family reunion, camp sleepover, and vacation, as well as a work trip for us.

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The Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference (previously known as the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference) has become an incredible resource for many — because it’s free and open to all ages, you will see children and parents, students, professionals, and businesses — large and small. The biggest hurdle for many can be getting to the conference itself. We road trip from Austin to Philadelphia every year (a 28-hour drive without stops) so that we can bring merchandise and vending materials (and because it’s more affordable for our group than flying). We know people who come from all over the United States, and even from other countries, to take part in this conference which truly makes this event an opportunity for incredible connections.

As a trans person Chris has received information at PTWC that he couldn’t have gotten anywhere else — the show-and-tell workshops are an invaluable resource for someone considering gender-affirming surgeries. To say he doesn’t get teary-eyed during every top surgery show-and-tell as he watches a room full of transmasculine individuals proudly displaying their bodies, would be a lie. To be able to see phalloplasty results in real life, in real time, and hear feedback and opinions about specific procedures from people who have gone through it is something we can not take for granted. There is no sufficient way to say thank you to all of those who are vulnerable yet willing to show their surgery results, or to any of those who put on workshops in the effort to put together informational talks or safe spaces.

We don’t know the exact amount of individuals that attended this year’s conference but have heard numbers close to the to 10,000 mark thrown around. The space created in the conference center, where everywhere you turn are fellow LGBTQ people, and specifically trans people in large quantities, reminds us (and we would hope others) that we are far from alone. To be in a place where being trans feels NORMAL (we can think of no other way to put it) leaves us feeling revitalized and uplifted to return back home and keep being our most authentic selves.

Thanks to everyone who comes by our booth and says hi at the conference and to those of you who buy from us and help keep our dream alive (and help make our fundraising partnerships so successful), to Courtney for being a great ally and business partner (special shoutout to Kristen, Rezz, Cat, and Aiden and everyone else who helps keep the booth running smoothly during the hectic 3 days we spend each year in the Philly Convention Center), and to Philadelphia for being the quirky city that has become the spot for this annual pilgrimage for many of us.

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If you’ve never been we hope to see you at PTWC next year, with more products for y’all to purchase (hopefully Bareskin Binders in stock at the time of the conference so that our customers can check them out in person), and a handful of other finished partnerships under our belts.

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For more information on the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference visit their website here.