The Mazzoni Center’s mission is to provide quality, comprehensive health and wellness services in an LGBT-focused environment, while preserving the dignity and improving the quality of life of the individuals they serve. Their offers a full array of primary health care services, mental and behavioral health services, and LGBT legal services, as well as HIV and STD testing, food bank and housing subsidies for families and individuals affected by HIV, support groups, outreach and education programs. They also have specialist in transgender issues.
A prominent feature of the Mazzoni Center is the fact that they host the annual Philly TransWellness Conference. There is a professional training track (different ones for people in the counseling, medical, and legal professions) that involves paying a reasonable fee. However, the bulk of the conference is aimed at directly meeting the needs of people within the trans community…and it’s FREE!
Hosted at the Philadelphia Convention Center, the conference is massive and the number of attendees continues to grow every year. The website boasts that they are, “The Largest Free Trans-Specific Conference in the World,” and I believe it. While there are cicgendered attendees (people who don’t identify as trans), we are certainly in the minority and it’s really thrilling. (OK, at first it’s intimidating, for fear of accidentally offending someone, and then thrilling!) To borrow from Harry Potter, a cisgendered person at the conference might initially feel like a muggle would at Hogwarts, which hopefully means that a trans person feels like a wizard who fits right in. The bathrooms are labeled as being open to any gender identity and everyone walks around with name tags that includes the pronouns that they prefer people use for them. If you can…go, even if you are neither trans or a professional…and just want to learn more.