The 4th Trans & Bare Weekend (TBW) was another weekend for people of all genders. With 11 participants, the group was of average size. This time, the composition of participants was more varied than in previous TBW's, what made it sometimes more difficult to find each other in the discussions. Despite the differences, there proved to be sufficient similarities, fortunately. "Cozy, small group, space to find your way."
"Another lovely event where I picked up some things, and where you fully can be yourself."
The group was very diverse in many ways: the participants were trans men, trans women and many non-binary people, as is to be expected in a TBW for all genders. But in addition, the physical ages ran from 18 to 54 years, and the trans ages from just outed to a “veteran” for years. Furthermore, half of the participants had a disability, which needed to be taken into account in the group. All in all, this was the most diverse group so far, and that asked for some more effort and creativity of the organising team.
"Very good atmosphere, and clearly a lot of effort was devoted to good accessibility."
Friday evening the participants dropped in one by one. Because of delays en route a number of participants arrived much later than intended. That's why we postponed the dinner somewhat and shortened the meet & greet, so everyone could attend.
It was a nice surprise that one of the participants brought films and a projector with them. So, in the evening part of us were watching a movie, while others were chatting pleasantly.
"Good to go through for once. Useful that it exists."
Saturday morning we started with a physical workshop. First we did a number of exercises to feel our bodies better. Then we paid more attention to the space we occupy, and how we move through space. Most of us needed some time to get used to it, but it was a useful workshop.
"I found it informative, interesting, sometimes tiring."
After lunch it was time for the workshop singing. The idea was to sing together pleasantly and relaxed, because for many trans people that isn't obvious. For example, because one's voice doesn't sound like one would want to, or because one'svoice changed by the hormones. The participants turned out to pick up the songs very fast, much faster than we expected. That is why we ran out of our repertoire much sooner than expected.
"As the organiser already noted, there were somewhat too little songs. For the rest, it was nice and fun."
Then it was time for the workshop which gave the weekend its name: the workshop "Off with your clothes!". First we went through the house rules one more time, and then we invited the participants to take off clothes. Meanwhile, we discussed interesting topics from cards with questions. In the beginning, many people hesitated to take off clothes, but at the end of the workshop a good many cloths were lying around us!
"I felt very comfortable in this workshop and I was able to push my boundaries, as I felt it was a safe space to do so, because people were not judgemental at all."
In the evening some of us watched a movie again, while others did games, and yet others continued talking about anything and everything, pleasantly sitting on the couch.
Sunday morning we started with another physical workshop. This time the aim was to explore our own boundaries concerning touching. First we discussed in small groups where people want to be touched, where we want to be touched under certain conditions, and where we don't want to be touched. Soon we agreed that this (obvisouly) depends on who touches you, and why they touch you. Then we let us to be touched by the others, with a blindfold. Of course, it was first made clear where that was and wasn't allowed.
"It was weird to touch each other "without purpose". Still, it was a good and useful workshop, which will work on for some time."
At Sunday, in conclusion, we discussed life as a non-binary person in a binary world. Together we could think of more than enough non-binary role models, so fortunately we have a good many examples at our disposal!
Then we discussed the accessibility of society and trans community for non-binary people. Our intention was to keep this conversation practical and concrete, but unfortunately we didn't succeed. The conversation became a fierce political debate, which made it a (too) heavy ending of the weekend.
"I was 'done', and to me it just was ready..."
And then the Trans & Bare Weekend came already to an end. Time to tidy up, to pack up and to clean up. We said goodbye, and each of us went back home again.
"The atmosphere was fantastic and the organising team good. I could get along well with the other participants, and was very satisfied with the accessibility, accommodation and safe space that was created."
The Trans & Bare Weekend has been made possible by contributions from: