The very first Trans & Bare Weekend in the Netherlands was an overwhelming success. During the weekend, participants were busy with experiencing their bodies within various workshops. The atmosphere in the group was so good that participants were able to push their personal boundaries. Jochem: "This weekend, I have witnessed many tiny miracles. A bigger compliment isn't possible."
The bookings for the Trans & Bare Weekend (TBW) started up slowly. Yet eventually 11 participants had the courage to sign up for this innovative weekend. Fortunately, their expectations were surpassed: "It gave me a lot."
"Felt safe for the first time, in a long time."
Of course the TBW started with an introduction. Not only our names came by, but also how we wanted to be addressed: with "hij" (he), "zij" (she) or something else. Most participants felt a "hij", but a few preferred "zij" or the English "they", for lack of a good Dutch alternative.
"I have learned a lot about myself, about others and what I want."
The first workshop on Saturday morning was about our expectations. At the beginning of the transition everyone has some kind of image about what you want to achieve. About how you want your body to look like. Or about how you see yourself in this society as a human being, a man or something different. We have spoken with each other about these expectations of the past and present, about which came true, and about who or what have had an impact on these expectations.
"A very relevant topic. All kinds of points of view were told, which was enriching."
After lunch it was time for something completely different: a puzzle task. The participants received several tasks, for which they had to find a solution without using language. At first this resulted in necessary questioning glances, but eventually the group knew very well how to deal with this task. Afterwards, most found it pretty fun.
"First brought up resistance, but turned out to be very instructive and fun!"
The afternoon programme concluded with the workshop, which gave the TBW its name: the bare workshop. Each of us was invited to take of one or more kinds of clothing during this workshop. Meanwhile, we discussed various challenging or fundamental questions. Some of us went completely bare, others were sitting in their underwear. All was present, and all was well.
"Very nice that you showed that you can “be” with your body, even if it is 'incomplete'."
In the evening, no formal programme was planned, but we weren't bored for a second. The mutual conversations went on all weekend until late in the evening. Some people went hiking in the beautiful surroundings. It was a lovely evening!
"Great! I am very happy with it all."
The next morning everyone was tired of talking all the time, so we started that day quietly with a “doing” workshop. We have made contact with our bodies very physically with different types of bodywork, which was pretty challenging. We also paid attention to our personal space.
"Nice to make contact without talking."
Sunday afternoon was already the final workshop of the TBW. During this workshop we discussed the always current question: "in or out of the closet?". How open is each of us to the immediate surrounding? And to whom do you tell what? In short, important questions which every transgender has to deal with for the rest of one's life.
"Always good to exchange. Nice to know that it shifts with other people too."
Then it was time to clean up, to pack and to say goodbye. Everyone went home, very tired, but very satisfied...
"This weekend has meant very much to me."
The Trans & Bare Weekend has been made possible by contributions from: