Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!

*This post was #sponsored by Toyota but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Last week, I traveled to Pennsylvania for the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference alongside my boyfriend Gio (now fiance but more on that below!). We partnered with Toyota and their #LoveDrives campaign to make the trek from Cleveland to Philadelphia in a 2018 Toyota C-HR XLE Premium. 

Aimed at empowering trans individuals and educating allies, the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference is now in its 17th year. Gio has attended for the past four years. This year, he was selected to present a workshop and he spoke about the Tokenization of Trans People of Color by the LGBTQ community. His session was educational, informative, humorous at times and a call to action for allies. Although I did not present, I was cited as an expert source (totally to my surprise) in the session, "Can Body-Positive Wellness and Dysphoria Coexist?" by Lore Matin McSpadden, founder of the Positive Force Movement. 

Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!
Our partnership with Toyota gave us the ability to get to Philadelphia both safely and in style! The Toyota CH-R impressed me from the inside out. I love the sporty style of the rear doors as well as the backup camera built right in the mirror. It was a smooth ride and provided helpful safety notifications perfect for a long road trip like ours. There's a lot of thoughtfulness to the design that you just don't see in other vehicles! 

Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!


Toyota was founded on the principle of "respect people and continuous improvement" and it's easy to see how both of those remain true. Toyota created the #LoveDrives campaign to celebrate the love that drives us and show their support for the LGBTQ community. As a brand, Toyota emphasizes a philosophy based on equality and inclusion which has earned them a perfect 100 on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index since 2008. Thanks to this partnership with Toyota, Gio and I had the opportunity to experience valuable community building but there's another big reason why we will never forget this trip...

Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!

WE GOT ENGAGED! Right after Gio presented at the conference, we walked over to the famous LOVE sign in Philadelphia to take pictures. While I was hugging him in front of the sign, he got down on one knee and I immediately burst into tears of joy! What happened next is truly all a blur and thank goodness that Gio had planned it so our friends were there to record the whole engagement! I was SO surprised! 

Ready To Stare engagement ring!

The ring is exactly what I wanted: trendy yet timeless and totally non-traditional. Gio and I had gone to look at rings a few weeks ago. He told me that we were going to take one day to look just so that he knew how much to save. I steered clear of anything with a center stone and fell instantly in love with this double-banded beauty. He told me not to expect a proposal until 2019. I believed him but the truth was that as soon as I picked this ring out, he went back the next day and bought it. He was a man with a plan! 

Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!

To celebrate our love, our engagement and our partnership with Toyota, we teamed up with Philadelphia LGBTQ+ photographer Shayne Malcolm to encapsulate our trip. Consider this our first of probably many mini engagement shoots! Shayne knew all of the best spots to shoot in Philadelphia. He took us to the Navy Yard, Big Gay Ice Cream and downtown near the Convention Center so we really ended up with a huge variety of shots! 

Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!

Gio is wearing a t-shirt created for his own non-profit, META Center Inc. which benefits transgender and gender non-conforming youth in Northeast Ohio. He is always accepting donations and you can contact him at metacenterinc@gmail.com to learn more! 

Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!


My "I am Enough" shirt is from Aydian Dowling's Point 5cc clothing line which directly supports Point of Pride, their sister non-profit that provides a transgender surgery fund as well as chest binder and breast form donation programs.

Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!
Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!
Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!
Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!
Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!
Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference with Toyota plus WE'RE ENGAGED!
It's been a week since our engagement and wedding planning is just starting! If you have any good tips to share for wedding planning, let me know in the comments below!