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A three-day circus

Nothing was well at a Trans Wellness Conference in Philadelphia

A three-day circus

A banner promoting the Trans Wellness Conference in Philadelphia. (Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs)

Nothing is what it seems at the Trans Wellness Conference down at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Someone brushing past in the hall sports a beard on an angular chin, but also a handbag and heels. A lecturer refers to himself as “they” throughout his (or was it her?) talk on chest “binding.” The brochure says “Wellness,” but no one looks well here. All around are misshapen and untoned bodies; faces marked with dissipation; studied dress that is a couturial assault on the eyes. Scarcely one in the 700 looks appealing. 

“Conference” is a misnomer too, if to “confer” is to exchange opinions. There is one allowed opinion in this place, as I would test on Day Two, and receive incontrovertible proof of on Day Three. No workshop discusses the ethics of turning males into females and females into males; that cow’s long out of the barn. The Enlightenment is presumed, and the devil has moved to the details—legal strategies; insurance end runs; school infiltration; post-surgical therapies. 

The legal and medical professions are heavily represented. (“Where there is carrion there the vultures will gather.”) A curriculum sampling:

“State and Local Advocacy for TGNC [Trans/Gender Non-Conforming] Youth in Schools”; “Parents of Trans Youth Ages 12 and Under”; “Facial Feminization”; “Tips to Work with Your Health Insurance Company”; “Intersections Between Fashion, Mental and Sexual Health”; “Top and Bottom Surgery”; “Combating Dysphoria Through Fitness”; “Care of the Aging Transgender Person”; “TGNC Youth and Homelessness”; “Self-Massage Techniques for Chronic Pain”; “Packers, STPs, Masturbators, and Sex Toys”; “Becoming an Activist for Trans Rights in School”; “Self-Care Strategies for Trauma and Anxiety in Trans and Non-Binary Bodies”; “Cross Hormone Therapy”; “Hormones and Handcuffs”; “Trans Porn.” 

Sex play paraphernalia to make ancient Pompeii blush is openly displayed on some of the scores of tables in the vast lobby. Around the corner is the children’s room, where someone blowing soap bubbles into the air reminds me of the Pied Piper, who lured the town of Hamelin’s children from their parents. A flamboyant drag queen reads Red: A Crayon’s Story to enthralled children donning knit rainbow caps and sitting in a circle with their beaming mothers.

You, like I, might have thought that gender “transitioning” was a once-and-done thing. Not so. What an outsider is most surprised to learn is the extent of lifelong negative health impacts and medical complications on the other side of transgender surgeries. One session I attend is devoted solely to post-op pelvic issues. As a “body worker” presenter admits, “everything’s connected to everything else.”

What an outsider is most surprised to learn is the extent of lifelong negative health impacts and medical complications on the other side of transgender surgeries.

So when bits of the forearm are mined for the construction of a penis, nature is not flouted with impunity. Girls “binding” their breasts to minimize them, girls undergoing breast removal, end up with chronic neck pain, scoliosis, loss of range of arm motion, and secondary muscles struggling to perform functions they were never designed for. The “neo-vagina” must be continually kept open or it will reclose. I cannot scratch the surface of issues here.

During the presentation by a New York librarian, kindergarten teacher, and author of children’s illustrated trans books, I raise my hand at the back of the room: “Aren’t you concerned that you are not so much responding to 5-year-olds’ felt needs as creating them by planting suggestions? Now that ‘trans’ is becoming cool, don’t you worry about a bandwagon effect?” The room is collectively appalled. His smile fades and he says, “No. Next question,” and moves on.

Two questioners later, evidently still piqued, he comes out with the most revealing statement of the three-day circus: “As for the concern that a child might decide to become a trans in imitation of another child, … SO WHAT?”

On Day Three I mosey over to a table where I might find common ground: United Methodist Church. A middle-aged man and woman smile and offer me literature. I smile back and ask if they have heard of John Wesley. This begins a conversation whose ensuing half hour must be condensed for purposes of this column, but in short I find myself being pursued down the crowded hallway by two security agents, accused of homophobia, transphobia, and racism, and escorted to the exit. 

I stop outside and breathe fresh air.


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  • Hawkdriver
    Posted: Fri, 08/23/2019 05:30 pm

    Wow.  Very sad.  Pray, pray, pray

  • Neil Evans
    Posted: Fri, 08/23/2019 07:42 pm

    One day very soon, it will seem, those tolerant of evil will stand before THE ONE Who is Righteously, Truly and thankfully Intolerant.  As awful as these waves of evil seem (and are) we must pray and communicate in ways that effectively communicate the Grace of God that will enable them to escape the words: "Depart from Me, I never knew you." 

    Thank you Mrs. Peterson for your gracious boldness.  I suspect that between your gulps of fresh air, you wept.

  • MTJanet
    Posted: Sat, 08/24/2019 09:16 am

    A nightmare designed by satan.  As we can not get the designation of mental illness to intervene for these people, it will have to be one heart at a time.  It is truly too sad about the children.  

  • Rich277
    Posted: Sat, 08/24/2019 07:29 am

    No matter what the Newspeak advocates say and do to us, two plus two still equals four and always will.

  •  Ed Walkwitz's picture
    Ed Walkwitz
    Posted: Sat, 08/24/2019 08:07 am

    Hats off for doing such an unpleasant assignment.  Tell your boss to give you hazard pay.

  • TxAgEngr
    Posted: Sat, 08/24/2019 03:37 pm

    The message is very clear, conform or be crushed.  The totalitarian Left will not tolerate any competition or questioning of their ideas.  You have experienced on a small scale their intent for us all on a large scale, which would come in a very ugly way.  Totalitarians murdered 110 million people in the 20th century and now they are hard at work in America.  Forty years ago I was discussing the horrors of the German National Socialists with an old German man who managed to immigrate to America prior to WWII.  Sensing my childish distain for the German people, for their allowing it to happen, he looked at me as seriously as he could and said "If you think that could not happen in America, you are fooling yourself."  He was right.  The darkness is increasing.  Even a free people can be deceived into surrendering their freedoms.

  • Janet B
    Posted: Sun, 08/25/2019 04:31 am

    I attend a United Methodist Church, and I can assure you that the booth did not represent everyone in the denomination. Some of us are still studying Wesley.

    Still, the activists are determined to hijack the denomination, just like they have the others.

    Thank you, Andree, for enduring that "conference," and truthfully sharing what you saw and heard. We need to know the ugly truth.

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Sun, 08/25/2019 12:38 pm

    First, truth became unpopular.  Next, it became illegal.  LGBTQ is a grand lie.  It is just part of the long war against nature's God.  If there were a creator, then he made a mistake.  If he exists, then he is evil.  Or so the story goes ...

    This progression is clearly outlined in Romans 1.  Created things know they were created.  We know that our existence is naturally impossible, i.e. miraculous.  Anyone who says otherwise is supressing the obvious.  Next we imagine that nature is our creator.  Then finally all forms of sin and deviency are celebrated, which was the motive all along.  But God is not mocked.  There are consequences.

  • VolunteerBB
    Posted: Sun, 08/25/2019 08:46 pm

    Read Matt Walsh's book "Unholy Trinity."  The destruction of sex is number two, with the destruction of life being number one.  

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Sun, 08/25/2019 11:59 pm

    Andree, now that is investigative journalism! I am impressed but sickened by what is being pushed on youth who are oftentimes the most vulnerable - the fatherless!  Isn’t it so informative how they are working to advance an agenda rather than openly have dialogue about what is best for the youth!  I am saddened by this wickedness, but thanks for going in the “lions den” to give us this report! You are an example in professional journalism! Thanks! 

  • TH
    Posted: Mon, 08/26/2019 06:06 am

    Thanks for taking the time to attend and report.

  • JC
    Posted: Wed, 11/13/2019 09:48 am

    Thank you for this courageous piece. We were not aware of this event in the city although it certainly does not surprise me. Local government is very keen on pushing this agenda. I applaud your writing as well as your recent piece on "gender reveal" parties and the being "woke". Persevere!