Mine. The first one in English, the first one during my volunteer service and the first in my life when it comes to trans-topics. Extremely important and precious experience in the safety of an open-minded group.
I like workshops. I like the multitude of methods one can use, the possibilities, creativity, group dynamics, safe space and discussions. Obviously, my previous experiences as a participant were more than satisfactory.
But I got curious. How does it feel like, to be on the other side? How do you prepare your own workshop from the beginning all the way till the end?I have some knowledge and some experience gathered during my studies, but I've never actually had a group of people I don't know as participants before and I've never conducted a workshop in a language other than my mother tongue, so I was a bit hellbent on trying and gathering this new experience like a Pokemon.
It was supposed to be a year of trying out things, wasn’t it? A year of safely exploring new possibilities, new abilities, new hobbies, new exercises, new approaches?
So I took this chance. I talked to my supervisor if I can do it as another part of my own project and started working on it straight away.
I researched a lot (on top of my previous research done for Uni purposes), I created some exercises with the help of my mentor and devised some on my own. I put a really nice and aesthetic presentation together and put the info online. I ended up with more than ten participants' declarations, a lot of excitement, a lot of support and a bit of anxiety.
The group I had was amazing. It was, frankly speaking, mostly other volunteers, so it was reassuring and a safe space environment for me from the beginning, but they all did their part splendidly. The group got so much into the topic of gender that I stepped away from the "leading" part of a discussion and merely moderated it. It was a nourishing and empowering experience to see and hear so many voices and perspectives, all experiences and opinions exchanged in such a safe, welcoming and understanding manner.
We took a trip down the gender lane, beginning with the more general terms like „gender role” or „gender expression” through „transgender” umbrella term up to „non-binary” with some examples. We talked about gender euphoria, gender dysphoria and the fact that not every transgender person experiences one or both of them. I feel like every second sentence coming out of my mouth was „but it’s very personal, not everyone experiences it like that”, but I feel it’s better to say it one time too much than not to mention it once when it’s needed.
I would definitely do it again and if there's still some time left for it, I will. For now, I'm celebrating this success and cherishing the time.