2016 International AIDS Conference – Trans pre-conference

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Niko Kowell

Today’s conference sessions left me feeling conflicted. It was exciting to be part of history at the first Trans pre-conference at the International Aids Conference, but I was left wanting more. More Trans people at the conference, more sessions on Trans folks, more from folks who call themselves allies. It’s time for cis folks to step to the side and realize the importance of Trans led and developed services.

It also seems wild to me that it took the IAC until 2016 to include more programming for Trans folks and this change was spurred by Trans folks, not the IAC. The sessions being offered are not enough. Especially since we know how disproportionally Trans women of color are affected by HIV. Still it is clearly far from the forefront of the minds of the folks at the IAC. This morning I heard the ED of the IAC say he wanted this to change, but change takes action, not just lip service, which ironically was the name of the Trans pre-conference session. I remain cautiously optimistic.

So I head off to bed unsure of how to feel about today. It does make me thankful for the progress we’ve made in San Francisco, but it’s clear we have so much more to do in SF and all over the world.


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