This year is a big one for the Transgender Medical Conference — it’s in its 10th year, it’s the first time partnering with Florida Atlantic University, and it will be going virtual.
“First of all, we are total novices at virtual. But it is so important to continue this conference that we jumped at the chance,” said Jodi Reichman, the founder and CEO of the South Florida Transgender Medical Consortium (SFTMC), which hosts the conference.
The two-day conference will be hosted via Zoom on Sept. 17 and 18. Aimed at educating the medical community on issues impacting transgender patients, workshops will cover topics including mental health, trans and gender nonbinary youth, hormone therapy, sexual health screenings and more. Due to the time constraints of hosting the conference online, there will be 12 workshops as opposed to the typical 30.
This is also the first year that the conference will be partnering with Florida Atlantic University’s Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work. Originally, the consortium was looking to host the event at the school, but due to COVID-19, the event has moved online. However, the partnership has stayed strong.
“I personally think that it’s just a really, really important topic for us to talk about,” said Sara Dochterman, the assistant director of the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work. “This is a community that is not served and not understood well enough yet, primarily from a lack of education by medical providers.”
Other collaborators include SunServe, Care Resource and the Pride Center, where Reichman is the transgender program coordinator. This year, there is also extra attention to trans youth. This includes trans youth on the autism spectrum, nonbinary identity, and pediatric gender dysphoria.
“We need to educate our providers on how to treat our trans youth,” Reichman said. "Not only trans, but nonbinary. Today, that whole umbrella is gigantic, but it’s a good thing.”
There will also be a welcome speaker from FAU, but details have not been set yet. Every session will include a Q&A portion.
The conference was the brainchild of Reichman and the late Bishop S.F. Makalani-MaHee, who died in 2017. A Black trans man, he was a notable activist who worked with the Pride Center and the Broward County Department of Health. When she’s feeling overwhelmed, Reichman says she listens to the last voicemail Makalani-Mahee left on her phone.
“Every time I feel like I need a little helping hand here, I’m like ‘Bishop?’” she laughed. “He always started with ‘How are you?’ It made you feel like you were the only person in the world. And he would just say, we’ve got this, we’re going to do this, we’ve come a long way.”
To register and learn more about the South Florida Transgender Medical Conference, visit sftransmed.org.