The Philly Trans Health Con: Autism, Braillefail, and Sexism Oh My!

The Philly Trans Health Con: Autism, Braillefail, and Sexism Oh My!

This year’s Philadelphia Transgender Wellness Conference (formerly the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference) marked the fourth time that  discussion groups for folks on both the trans and autistic spectrum were held and the first time that we were able to have two back to back sessions. They started out a little bumpy, but smoothed out for the second session, and several great discussions were had. You can find an updated copy of the handout, which contains information and resources for autistic/trans folks, in the Resources section of this site or directly here.

Unfortunately, all was not roses and honey. For the third year, the PTWC has insisted on replacing the convention centre’s bathroom signs with the featured image, mounted on cardboard. At first glance it looks fine, right? Sadly, the braille is simply printed on and does not have raised bumps which is, in fact, not how braille works. What is worse, these signs cover over the permanent washroom signs, which have raised and functional braille. Last year I mentioned this to Ashley Coleman, the conference organizer, and Simon Pedisich, their Accessibility Coordinator. Both expressed surprise and assured me that it would be corrected in future years. I also sent a reminder email to the Accessibility Coordinator, prior to this year’s conference, as part of the disability accommodation requests for the Nuerotrans sessions, to which I received no response at all. Frankly, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that the Philadelphia Transgender Wellness Conference has little more than a surface level commitment to broad accessibility at this point.

Parity between transmasculine and transfeminine content also continues to be a big problem at the conference. The historical lack of parity between these tracks was previously and exhaustively documented by Ells Long but, as may be expected, nothing seems to have changed. Indeed, content seemed more skewed towards transmasculine folks this year with an inexplicable two FTM bottom surgery show and tell sessions. Even by their own accounting, the ‘trans-masculine’ track outnumbered the ‘transfeminine’ by 22 to 10 sessions. As with Braille and other accessibility concerns, the Philadelphia Transgender Wellness Conference and it’s leadership seem to lack the will to change this failing.

Fidget Spinner How To

So as some know I co-facilitate a discussion group for Autistic and Trans folks at the Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference every year. For the past two years I’ve made fidget toys to hand out and this year I made fidget spinners out of bicycle parts. I made a YouTube video demonstrating how I made them, which I’m hoping will be helpful to others with similar plans. I’ve also uploaded it to the resources page. As always, I’d like to give Bike Pirates and Bike Sauce in Toronto, who provided the parts, a big hand.

New Beginnings

Hi folks, so you may have noticed some major changes to my site. Hopefully it looks classier and is easier to read. More importantly, I hope that this format will enable people to find information more easily and encourage me to use this platform to share more often. In fact, it seems only appropriate that the creation of the new Neuro/Trans handout inspired this change. Going forward I hope to use this space to share my thoughts on science, philosophy, politics, and everything else. I’m happy to have ya’ll along for the ride.