By Alex Pershai
Moving to a new country is a traumatic experience for many of people. Immigration as a trans* person can be even more difficult. It takes a long time to find work, community, acceptance, and a sense of belonging.
There is also the need to be heard, share experiences, and maybe help others going through similar struggles. If you are a trans* immigrant and you want to find your community, then getting involved in social activism might help. The question is – where to start?
Participation in national and international conferences may be an inspiration, and the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference is one of the largest international trans* community events in North America.
The conference takes place every year at the end of July or in early August. It welcomes thousands of activists, social workers, medical professionals and educators from all over the world. There is up-to-date information about educational, medical, jurisdictional, and community support resources. It is a fun and safe space that supports all trans* identities – a great way to feel empowered, find connections, receive peer support, and get involved.
As a nonbinary person, I often feel invisible in large public gatherings, especially those that focus on a specific social group, but in Philadelphia I met dozens of nonbinary people of different ages and gender expressions. It was empowering to have open conversations with my peers, to know that I am not alone in my struggles, and to receive so much support from others sharing their personal stories and advice.
In that context I saw that some of my daily battles are the result of systemic oppression and they should be addressed as such. We had some great discussions about how to cope with difficult situations and what resources are there to help.
I took part in the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference twice, once as an attendee and once as a presenter. Both times I came back inspired, energized and ready to contribute to the local trans* community in Vancouver. I look forward to participating in the conference again in 2020. Hope to see you there!
MOSAIC’s Trans Online Resource Hub provides information and support to folks who identify as transgender, transsexual, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, two-spirited, agender, polygender, bigender, and many more gender identities and expressions that are different from expectations based on their sex assigned at birth. To learn more, please visit trans.mosaicbc.org.