Central PA's LGBT News Source
Every year around now, I have written to tell you about the forthcoming Keystone Conference, and this year is no exception because it is an important event for the Susquehanna Valley area.
It is important for several reasons, primarily because it provides so very many transgender persons a moment in time when the authenticity of life is experienced. Secondly, because of the economic impact of up to a half million dollars.
The Eleventh Annual Keystone Conference will commence on March 20-24, 2019, at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey. With a theme of is “A Celebration of Gender Diversity”, the Keystone Conference is hosted annually by TransCentralPA in Pennsylvania’s capital city of Harrisburg.
As the keystone bridges and holds together associated entities, Trans-identifying people do the same, and the Keystone Conference is a celebration of the unique diversity of gender and our central and unifying place in society.
Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State because of its significance in unifying the early colonies, and it is quite relevant that we hold this conference here in the state’s capital, ideally located within an easy drive from six major east coast cities. William Penn had a vision that his “Penn’s Woods” could be a place of personal and religious freedom and a place of unrestricted welcome; and that is certainly how the Keystone Conference would choose to be remembered. 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.
The event, headquartered at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel on Lindle Road, features nationally known persons as speakers or seminar presenters from within the transgender community and beyond.
Continuing education units are available to licensed social workers [LCW is an actual rating], professional counselors and marriage therapists. Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research provides certification.
The conference began small and was originally intended as an educational opportunity for the trans-identifying residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania. When its existence became known, the reach has expanded beyond anything TransCentralPA could have envisioned.
For the past ten years, growth has been exponential, and the Keystone Conference is easily the second largest, if not the largest conference of its kind in all of North America and the world with its annual attendance has growing to nearly 800 attendees
The majority of conferees come from each of the Northeastern States and Eastern Canada. Most often every one of the 50 states and 7 provinces are represented, and in the past several years, the conference has become international in scope, with registered attendees from Israel, Belgium, Spain, England, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and several South American countries.
This year with an expanded capacity web presence, inquiries have come from nearly 115,000 people and from over 162 countries. With this level of interest, the Keystone Conference promises to grow once again.
TransCentralPA is a federally and Commonwealth recognized 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving the transgender community in and around Central Pennsylvania.
Membership is open to all transgender individuals, their Significant Others and to other persons who have a personal or professional interest in a transgender person or in gender behavior or theory in general. Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (proof is required under Pennsylvania Law). Monthly meetings are open to everyone.
Joanne Carroll is the former president of TransCentral PA.