Philadelphia Trans Health Conference 2013

This post should have happened months ago, so that all you lovely people who didn’t know about this conference yet would have gotten it together and made plans to make it there.

But, alas, that is not how my life goes.

So, better late than never! This year I’m once again presenting at the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference. There are a number of reasons I like this conference:

  1. It’s free!
  2. It’s really community-focused, meaning the panels are run by lots of different people, from many different professions and walks of life. It’s not just for those who are employed by non-profits that work on trans issues, although those folks are there and well represented also.
  3. A conference where thousands of people come together to talk about the needs of trans folks, and the majority of the attendees themselves identify somewhere on the trans* spectrum!
  4. Since I first attended four years ago, the presence of birth workers has steadily increased. So much so that last year we were able to have a panel specifically about birth work, with all trans and GNC identified birth workers speaking! Wowza, how things change.
  5. Did I mention it’s free?
  6. It’s next to one of my favorite indoor markets of all time: Reading Terminal Market, where you can get all sorts of super yummy food.

I’ll be part of two sessions this year, one similar to last year’s about birth work and trans/GNC folks, and another that is specifically for networking and community building among birth workers. I’ll also have limited copies of the Radical Doula Guide with me for sale, in case you haven’t picked one up but still want to (no shipping!).

Hope to see some of you there! And those who can’t attend, keep it mind for next year.

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Any doulas or birth workers at the Philly Trans Health Conference?

I’m here and would love to connect with any other doulas or birth workers! Leave a comment or email me if you’re here.

I’ll make sure to blog about anything I learn here–there are no birth specific workshops, but I’m speaking one about trans parenting tomorrow that should be interesting!

Speaking of conferences…

This one sounds way more up my alley. It’s called Igniting Mother-Friendly Care in Your Community:

The Rocky Mountain Coalition for Humanizing Birth is excited to announce our first annual conference for all childbirth professionals and those interested in the state of Mother-Friendly Care in the Rocky Mountain region. This is a multi-state conference and all are invited to attend.

Topics for this 2 day Conference includes:

  • Understand the state of CIMS and Mother Friendly Care in our area and nation
  • Hear the latest information on VBAC research, practice and politics
  • Gain perspective on Mother Friendly Mental Health Care
  • Honor yourself and others who are trying to make maternity care safer
  • Discuss birthing rights as a fundamental human right
  • Recognize how social movements can be most effective
  • Utilize tools to create change through activism, advocacy and education
  • Be involved in creating a plan for the future, and the role of the Rocky Mountain Coalition for Humanizing Birth

Much better. I also LOVE the sponsorship levels: trust birth, my body’s not a lemon and birth rocks. The sponsoring organization, the Rocky Mountain Coalition for Humanizing Birth is also quite bad-ass.

The Rocky Mountain Coalition for Humanizing Birth (RMCHB) is an organization born out of the need to change the current pregnancy and childbirth practices that violate the rights of women and their families. All too often women are forced, coerced, and lied to in the current medical establishment and it is the goal of the RMCHB to bring these violations to the attention of the community, and community leaders in order to bring about change towards Mother-Friendly Care.

The mission of RMCHB is to bring reproductive justice to the forefront of the human rights movement, particularly as it relates to the perinatal period. RMCHB is a collaboration of activists and birth professionals; care providers and community members who recognize our ability to effect change through politics, art, advocacy, and education.

Go if you can, its September 26th and 27th in Denver, CO. It’s pretty affordable and sounds like it’s going to be awesome.

Via the CO Prison Doula Network

Feministing guest post: On Being a Radical Doula

I’m re-posting my feministing guest blog here, because it does a good job of explaining why I use the term radical doula, and why NAPW‘s recent Summit to Ensure the Health and Humanity of Pregnant and Birthing Women was so amazing–and fit very well with the essence of what it means to be a radical doula. Thanks to Jessica Valenti for giving me the opportunity to guest blog, and as a result deciding to create my own.

During the pre-conference training organized by Be Present, Inc, I stood up and introduced myself as a radical doula. This was a designation that I came to assume for myself through an understanding that my beliefs (which seemed to me completely logical and altogether natural) placed me apart from a large part of what I have come to call the “birth activist” community (midwives, doulas and advocates who work toward changing the standards of care for birthing women in the US). This conference highlighted many of the ways my politics are a seeming contradiction: I’m a doula and I’m a pro-choice abortion advocate. I’m a doula and I’m a lesbian. I’m a doula and I may never have children. I’m a doula and I’m Latina. I’m doula and I’m not entirely comfortable with the gender/sex binary.

What was so groundbreaking about this conference was that it brought together two of my worlds, the birth activists (midwives, doulas, academics) and the pro-choice activists (policy people, advocates, organizers). I can see now how these two groups, the former of which dedicates its time to supporting women as they bring children into the world, and the latter that fights for women’s rights to not bring children into the world, don’t necessarily go together. The irony is that I never understood the contradictions that exist between them until Lynn Paltrow pointed it out to me—precisely because the two are really good about not mentioning the others issues. The midwifery conferences I have been to in the past never mentioned the issue of abortion—allowing me to erroneously assume that they were all pro-choice just like me. Likewise, the pro-choice conferences rarely mentioned the issues that face birthing women—so focused as they are on the rights of women fighting not to birth. So congratulations NAPW, you succeeded in beginning a dialogue between the two movements (as stilted and precarious as it may have been at times)—even just by creating a space where that dialogue was possible.

What this conference made entirely clear to me is that the activists from these two camps need to be in the same room, if not simply because the people whom we are fighting are one and the same. The people who want to take away women’s rights to abortion, contraception, and comprehensive sex education are the same ones who aren’t afraid to forcibly subject women to c-sections, limit the scope of women’s choices about how they birth or place the rights of an unborn fetus above the rights of a woman.

Check out the original and complete post here.