The Keystone Conference was a blast! Stay tuned for info on 2020s Event

The Keystone Conference is hosted annually in Harrisburg, PA by TransCentralPA at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey, usually in/around the end fo March.

Jason, Alexa, and Kye – Keystone Conference 2013

I had attended as a Vendor and Speaker a number of years ago with The Self Made Men. The first year I was able to meet and hear the story of Kye Allums. The second year I attended, the Luncheon speaker was Ian Harvie, and he gave his comedy routine. What followed in both cases was a long conversation about lives, culture, the magazine, or the potential of the magazine, and the need for it.

Jason and Ian – 2014

I consider both Ian and Kye close friends since.

That was the case again this year as I was able to meet Chris Mosier. The Trans Man creating change in the Sports Arena. Earning a spot on Team USA, and taking on the outdated policies that keep him and other Trans individuals from enjoying the sports they love.

Chris is the founder of TransAthlete.com and was sponsored in a commercial before the Olympics by NIKE. He’s been putting in valuable efforts to help the Trans and Non-Binary Communities.

Arrival:

My partner and I arrived in Harrisburg Friday morning. The hotel is pet friendly and we were worried that he’d have to hang out in the car for a long time, since check in wasn’t until 3. The staff at the Sheraton arranged for us to be in a room with access to a small patio/yard area, and let us check in right at 10am.

We grabbed our registration information, our name badges, and conference booklet, and were greeted by the smiling faces of TransCentralPA, and my coordinator Kristy Snow.

My partner signed up for the Significant Other Lunch and even though she was nervous to meet so many new people, they all welcomed her in and they had an amazing time. We separated at that time and went to our locations.

My First Session:

I rushed off to attend the first FTM oriented speaking session, hosted by Carter Brown, the founder of Black Transmen Inc. and the Black Trans Advocacy Conference.

I was slightly late, so I snuck in quietly. There were five people in the room, two of which were from Rochester and I had known for years. What a surprise! – The other two were non-binary trans masculine identifying individuals with They/Them Pronouns, and of course, Carter.

When I entered, Carter paused to ask me my name and then upon recognition, gave me a huge hug. He caught me up quickly on what was already talked about, and helped me gather the names and pronouns of those in the room.

On a large drawing-tablet they had compiled a diagram of ways we saw Masculinity. From the outside world, our internal dialog, and our core identities.

We then switched over the page, and divided it into two sides.
What Men Should Be…
What Men Shouldn’t Be…

Not so much based on our beliefs, but from the world at large. What does being a Man mean? We listed off attributes such as Men Should Be… Brave, responsible, strong, stoic, providers, aggressive, logical, goal oriented….

Men Should Not Be… Weak, emotional, mentally ill, ‘swishy’…

After listing out the qualities we felt belonged in both sections, Carter went through and we starred the ones we felt like we as individuals related to. Which ones we felt like we carried with us.

The stars were pretty equal on both sides. We were everything. We discussed balance, and pressure. We discussed not only masculinity vs femininity, but Manhood vs Boyhood.

As we flipped the next page, those values were added to Intersections and the ways that Race, Age, Ability, Sexual Orientation, and more affected and dictated how we thought about our male-ness.

It was valuable to me to hear about others insights into themselves, and I felt safe and comfortable sharing my thoughts. Hearing about where we all learned how to be these versions of ourselves, and having two non-binary individuals give their experiences with their gender and masculinity brought an additional POV to our conversation.

The only other Trans Conference I’ve attended so far has been the Philadelphia Trans-Wellness Conference. I’m often asked, because they both exist in the same state, how they compare. It’s because of the small groups and the intimate safe spaces that this conference brings something different. Something closer.

Friday Luncheon and Chris Mosier:

TransCentralPA, specifically Mason Luke and Kristy Snow, were generous enough to give FTM Magazine sponsorship status for partnering with them to try to increase their Trans-Masculine presence. The Keystone conference and it’s dates will always be listed on our Events page and on our Facebook Events details. A sponsorship title normally costs $1,000 donation, for that, the community and I are both very grateful as we showed up on the sponsor listing, our logo was included as a name badge icon, and we were given space in the booklet.

It also allowed me the opportunity to sit at one of the three Reserved tables for Sponsors, and in this case, beside Chris Mosier during lunch.

I had never met Chris, but we are professionally related and knew of each other. The night before the conference I got a DM on Instagram from him saying he was excited to meet me tomorrow. With such a successful history under his belt, I was excited to meet him too.

We hugged upon meeting, I introduced him to the folks at the Trans-Masculine based table and we sat and spoke about, honestly mostly me and the magazine… The others at the Sponsors table joined in and all of them told me they supported my new leadership position and offered their support in any way needed.

After lunch, and after the ting-ing of plates and dishes was meant to die down; Chris Mosier was introduced by ____________ and the two of them sat and had an open conversation about his work, the policies in place, and the future of Transgender Athleticism.

Chris said he preferred Q&A style conversations the most. That they allowed for more dialog and discussion than speeches carry. After hearing him speak, I can see how this is true. Chris touched on everything. Opening with a huge heartfelt thank you to all in attendance, provoking an applause. Chris used his platform and voice to advocate for others Athletes, talking about intersectionality and the unfair biased against trans women.

[A full transcript of Chris’s Keynote will be featured in our May 2019 Issue of FTM Magazine.]

After Lunch:

After lunch Chris stayed to answer questions and take photos with others at the conference. He, like Kye Allums I noted, didn’t want to eat before his talk so after the questions his food was brought back out and we (me and my partner) and him sat and talked.

The hotel has a restaurant and bar called the Dog and Pony that we moved to to grab a beer (Chris doesn’t like beer, but we bonded over Whiskey tastes).

The more I got to know Chris the more inspired I was. To better share that with everyone here, I’ve asked Chris if he would consider being the cover of our May / Fitness Issue of FTM. He’s agreed!

For the next two days I’d be mistaken for Chris. By the end I was just thanking them for saying how nice my speech at lunch was.

Dr Kathy Rumer:

Just before lunch as everyone was sitting down in their seats, Dr Kathy Rumor‘s Husband, Kerry came over and introduced himself to me. We’ve been in email contact about how they can support us, and we can get the word out on them and it was great to meet in person again. Dr Rumer has been a sponsor of Keystone for years. She is located out of PA and has done both top and bottom surgeries for so many Trans Men.

After Chris left for his flight back to Chicago, I caught back up with Kerry, Kathy, and their fellowship members at the Dog and Pony and we talked for quite awhile on the surgeries and advancements Dr Rumer had accomplished recently. Including a few successful MLD Phalloplasty procedures. (Or penis creations using an area under the arm, as opposed to using arms of the forearm).

Later I met Dakota, a patient of Dr Rumer’s and heard and saw how incredible his top surgery had come out via her office. It’s refreshing to meet Doctor’s in touch enough with the community to sponsor conferences each year, that also has impressive craftsmanship.

And… Wine. Both Kathy and Kerry have a side passion that they provided for free before the Gala on Saturday. Delicious Red Wines they make themselves!

Friday Night:

Each night you’re able to sign up for a trip off the hotel groups and to a restaurant in a group. The conference provided bus services via a limousine company Premiere.

My partner and I joined Mason, Charlie, and a dozen stunning Trans Women in going to Lancaster Brewing. The conversations ranged and the establishment was friendly. After dinner we went to sleep in preparation of tomorrow.

Jason is the Founder of FTM Magazine. 31 years old, from NY but currently residing in PA. He named himself after the red Power Ranger. Does the graphics, website, scheduling, events, and social media work here.