The second Trans & Bare Weekend of this year was another impressive weekend. With 10 participants, the TBW for trans men was, as in 2015, well attended. New this time were three international participants: two Belgians and a Brit. We are looking back with satisfaction to a intensive and very successful weekend!
"Best weekend I encountered so far. It was the first time that I didn't go home disappointed or angry."
Friday night we made our acquintance, as usual. This introduction took a little longer than usual, because a large part was bilingual. The Brit didn't speak Dutch and non all of the Dutch speaking were fluent in English. It took a while to get used to this, but everyone was patient, so it was a pleasant evening .
"Super how everyone was taken into account! Concerning food, language, limitations, needs, personalities."
Saturday morning after breakfast we intended to start with a relaxation exercise, when upstairs a morning of musical performing started. That was a bit too much to be able to relax properly, so we decided to start with a conversation. We talked about to whom you (already or still) tell about being trans, and to whom you don't. And what reasons we have to do it like this. And if the way you think about this has changed over the years.
"By the openness and warmth of other participants and organisators all themes were really accessible to me. What certainly played a part as well, is that no pressure was imposed."
In the afternoon we yet started with the relaxation exercise. We paid attention to our breathing. Then we did some exercises to awaken our bodies: knocking and rubbing. And finally, we walked around and greeted each other..
"Walking around and saying hello to each other felt weird, but it was good to realise that I may show myself and make myself heard."
After this we did a creative workshop. The assignment was to draw our journey from where we are today to where we would like to be. Everyone got a piece of paper and could choose between crayons, markers and pens. At the end of the workshop we showed our pictures to each other, and we told what was to be seen. The results were invariably moving and creative!
"For me it was helpful to reflect on the journey I made, and where I want to go, and make this into an image. This made me see how far I've actually come already, in stead of just looking at what I still want to achieve."
At the end of the afternoon it was time for the workshop, which gave the TBW its name: "Off with your clothes!". At the beginning of this workshop we talked about the codes of conduct yet again. After that everyone was invited to take off as much clothing as felt comfortable for them. Meanwhile, we discussed some interesting propositions. Some of us took off all their clothes, others sat in their underwear or kept on a t-shirt. All was present, and all was well.
"Very good, also to see how safe it felt within the group. The atmosphere was good, and everyone seemed to feel at ease to take steps. I really challanged myself, considering my limits."
New part of the programme was the "spontaneous show & tell" on Saturday evening. We come together in a circle and talked about what we like about ourselves, or what we are happy about. That can be anything: your nose, your feet, your chest, etc. As the conversation progressed, once again several clothes went off. This part will definitely return in next TBW's!
The rest of Saturday evening was free. We chatted with each other, some inside and others outside on the terrace.
"The surrounding of the venue was very beautiful, and contributed to the overall safe and nice atmosphere. It truly was our own trans-paradise."
Sunday morning we talked about genitals. This time we didn't discuss medical options, but we talked about how we call our genitals. What names do we know? And what names do we think are suitable? Many different words passed, and as often the preference for a particular word depends on personal preference. We had reasonable consensus about "dick/cock" and "Mr. C ", and about "phallo/phallus" when it comes to medical matters. Creative ideas were "tom cat" (instead of pussy), "my friend" (for packy's) and "ever ready" (for happy packy's). It was very good to be able to talk about this witch each other.
"This workshop was very good, which I didn't expect on beforehand. Think that in particular the mutual recognition of naming genitals, and that not a single word actually suits, helped me in my process."
In the last workshop of the weekend we explored our personal space. After that we learned to define this space, so we can stronger and more confident be in the world. Finally, we made contact with our inner warrior, our personal spot of power. The image of the warrior didn't resonate to everyone, yet most of us though this to be a good exercise.
"I found it a bit vague, but it did resonate. I actually felt something, and because you kept emphasising that this could be done in our own ways and with our own interpretations, I managed to open myself for this."
And then it was done already: time to pack our luggage and to go home. It has been a beautiful weekend, which taught new things to all of us. Tired, but satisfied, we all went home again.
"Thanks for an intensive, good, instructive, groundbreaking, enjoyable weekend."
The Trans & Bare Weekend has been made possible by contributions from: