Central PA's LGBT News Source

Celebrating gender diversity

TransCentralPA Topics

By Joanne Carroll

The Tenth Anniversary Keystone Conference will commence on March 7-10, 2018, and for the tenth consecutive year at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey. Our theme is “A Celebration of Gender Diversity”; and is hosted annually by TransCentralPA in Pennsylvania’s capital city of Harrisburg.

This conference allows members, allies, supporters, spouses, service providers and friends of the Transgender Community to come together for an informative, inspirational and joyous experience. Here, friendships are forged and renewed in a safe place.

The city of Harrisburg has proven to be a welcoming and friendly place, and has provided conferees the perfect environment to experience life in the open. Several events allow convention attendees to dine and dance in a number of well-known eateries in downtown Harrisburg.

Continuing education units are available to licensed social workers, professional counselors and marriage therapists. Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research will provide the certification.

The conference began small and was only ever intended as an educational opportunity for the trans-identifying residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania. As its existence is becoming so widely known, the reach has expanded beyond anything TransCentralPA could have envisioned.

Growth has been exponential and the Keystone Conference is one of the largest conferences of its kind in all of North America and the world, and the attendance in 2017 was 750 attendees. This represents an estimated economic impact of from one-quarter to one-half million dollars to the economy of Harrisburg and South Central Pennsylvania. While the majority of conferees come from each of the Northeastern States and Eastern Canada, nearly every one of the 50 states and 7 Canadian provinces are represented annually.

Over the years, the conference continued to become international in scope, with registered attendees from Israel, Belgium, Spain, England, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and several South American countries and more.

Concurrently, our web presence has expanded as well as inquiries have come from nearly 88,000 people and from over 157 countries. With this level of interest, the Keystone Conference will have a tendency to grow once again.

Joanne Carroll is the president of TransCentral PA. TransCentral PA is committed to providing advocacy and caring support for transgender individuals, their significant others, families, friends and allies.