2016 Reflections and 2017 Visions!

Thanks for all of the memories in 2016!

Join us for our first discussion of the year! Let’s do some intentional visioning for 2017!

6:00 – 6:30: Mix and mingle
Conversation will start at 6:30 🙂

Accessibility Information
-15 minute walk from Westlake/MacArthur Park Station (Red and Purple Lines)
-Buslines include DASH Pico/Echo Park and Metro 28
-Ample metered parking and some free parking in surrounding neighborhood and garage is accessible as well
-Wheelchair accessible
-Elevator available
-Restrooms: Women’s, Men’s and Single Stall Gender Neutral
-Ample seating and standing room
-Scent free soap will be available and we ask that your bodies come scent free
-Windows cannot be opened, venue has climate controlled ventilation system, air filtration unknown
-Public address system used by all guests and hosts

Check out our website: toolboxtransla.wordpress.com

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Reflections and this week’s topic!

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[description: a group of transmasculine bois smile for a selfie. they range in age, race and style. all of them are defiantly joyful]

Previously at Toolbox…. (hehe)

Joy and masculinity. What do happy men (masculine identified people) look like? As many of us navigate masculinity, it seems that the range of emotions men are allowed to express is limited. Anger is understandable, and even encouraged, though there are limitations for men of color. Ambition. Stoicism. Keep your voice low and loud. Not high-pitched. Don’t get excited, but if you do, it can only be around hypermasculine things: sports and sex.

But what about joy? What about elation? What about playfulness?

As folks who were assigned female at birth, many of us were told to smile more while we moved through the world being perceived (by other and/or ourselves) as women. Now, many of us have our smiles policed. Smiles makes us gay, which some of us may be, or a pervert. Because #MasculinitySoFragile, right? So why can’t men/masculine folks express joy freely? Many of us expressed a certain pressure to conform to the hypermasculine expectations now placed on us to fit in. Or to pass more safely. To not have our identities questioned.

Many of us imagine a world where we don’t have to relinquish our expressions to be affirmed in our masculinity. So let’s be #joyfulbois! Let’s smile! Let’s giggle! Let’s bare our teeth in elation! Let’s liberate our emotions! We enjoy the idea of interrupting the narrative of masculinity. Let’s be #joyfulbois together!


This Thursday! We will be talking about pleasure. Pleasure! How do you experience it? How do you give it? Where do you experience it on your body? Join us if you can!

Jaden and Destin

Toolbox Sex Toy Reflection and Next Discussion

[image description: two photos of a group of fly bois. they range in race, expression, ability, and style. the photo on the left, the expressions are sexy. the photo on the right, the expressions are playful.]

CW: mentions of genitalia associated with being assigned female at birth.

Toys! Toys are a big part of sex for some us, but are we being safe? That was the framing for this talk.

This talk brought in new folks to Toolbox (thanks Buck!), which was extremely exciting. While the conversation started with folks sharing stories about their first sex toys, things ventured toward unpacking the misogyny in the manufacturing of toys. We talked about how most toys and lube aren’t made with vaginas in mind. Some lube is actually harmful for vaginas, so its important to pay attention to the ingredients (no parabens or glycerin/glycerol/glycol, since they can contribute to yeast infections and UTIs).

Buck, then showed us sample toys he’s gotten from conventions.

And of course, the Buck Off (which sounds fun and will be available this month)!

buck-off

[image description: a black sex toy for transmen. package says, “Perfect Fit Buck-Off Official Buck Angel FTM Stroker]

Resources

resources.jpg

[image description: a resource list of favorite toys and lube. it reads: sliquid lube (vegan and organic), lelo (purple vibrator), Perfect Fit Douche (The Director) – for anal play, bad dragon (furry-focused), buck-off ftm stroker]

As well as this Trans Guide to Safer Sex!

All in all, it was a great time! For more info about sexual health and sex, especially for gay transmen/masculine folks, check out: GRUNT (NSFW).


AND be sure to join us this week (Thursday, September 8th) for a discussion about masculinity and expressions of joy!

In solidarity,

 

Jaden and Destin

Thursday, August 25th! Toolbox Discussion: Sex Toys with Buck Angel

sex toy toolboxHey peeps! Time for another discussion!

This week’s topic:
Sex Toys! Do you use them? What do you use? Which ones are your favorite?

Trans icon, Buck Angel, will be joining us and giving us the inside scoop on his new toy, designed specifically for transmen, Buck-Off

If you can’t make it to the discussion, you can google hangout with us toolboxtransla@gmail.com.

Accessibility Information
-15 minute walk from Westlake/MacArthur Park Station (Red and Purple Lines)
-Buslines include DASH Pico/Echo Park and Metro 28
-Ample metered parking and some free parking in surrounding neighborhood and garage is accessible as well
-Wheelchair accessible
-Elevator available
-Restrooms: Women’s, Men’s and Single Stall Gender Neutral
-Ample seating and standing room
-Scent free soap will be available and we ask that your bodies come scent free
-Windows cannot be opened, venue has climate controlled ventilation system, air filtration unknown
-Public address system used by all guests and hosts

Cool Event: Summer Of Brown Boi – Los Angeles

Join Gender Justice LA and Brown Boi Project on the Summer of Brown Boi Series!

What has our culture taught us about femininity and masculinity?

How can we liberate ourselves from the limitations we experience around gender as people of color?

Join The Brown Boi Project for an interactive workshop where we will explore femininity and how masculine people can be in community and more supportive of Femmes and Women of Color.

We will discover how to heal from rigid understandings of gender and build a world where gender justice is accessible to all.

This is an interactive event, that requires some audience participation. If you are interested in learning more about how to be a participant, and identify as a Femme of Color, please contact Zami at zami@brownboiproject.org

*This is a POC only space, and a femme centered one.

**food will be provided for attendees

***Accessibility information: Stairs- There are no stairs to get into the building. There is an elevator to get to the third floor where the event is located.

Bathroom access- There are 3 bathrooms: single stall gender nuetral, multistall womens, and multistall mens.

To respect our people and community with multiple chemical/scent sensitivities (MCS), we request that people come scent free (not using scented products) OR, as much as possible. Please try to have/wear very low scent on. You are supporting others who may suffer form seizures, asthma attacks, migraines, and multiple other nervous and respiratory health emergencies. To review scent free prodcuts accesibility check out:http://www.brownstargirl.org/blog/fragrance-free-femme-of-colour-realness-draft-15.

Parking: Street parking is available

If you have any questions, please contract GJLA’s Director of Leadership Development, Ezak at ezak@gjla.org.

Reflections on the Saturday’s Sex Workshop: Name and Reclaim Your Junk (Featuring Jaden and Destin)

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(image description: a group of transmasculine people pose and smile for a picture. They vary in race, size, ability, and style.)

So up until now, we haven’t really reflected on any of the conversations that come up in Toolbox. This definitively needed a reflection.

**These are personal reflections that only represent how Destin and Jaden feel, respectively. These reflections do not speak to anyone else’s experiences.**

CONTENT WARNING: mentions of genitalia associated with being assigned female at birth aka vaginas


Activity:

Opened with Icebreaker: Name, pronouns, favorite time of day, or season, to have sex?

15 minute free write: write through your process of coming to a name that feels right for you

20 minute art project: draw your friend

10 minute Love letter to your friend. Only write from a place of love.


DestinDestin:

Hi everyone! My name is Destin Fox Cortez and I identify as a trans man (he/him/his).

As an individual who identifies as Male, I am so often faced with dysphoria around having a vagina. I feel this dysphoria can be one not just around gender, but from society’s views and messaging around the vagina. It is too often talked about as a gross or dirty body part, or on the other coin, violently and sexually objectified. Of course, this would contribute to the internalized fear I would have around having one.

This workshop would not be a magical wand that could just make all these things vanish, of course. However, this workshop did help me make tangible steps towards unlearning what I have been taught, and reclaiming some connectedness I can already begin to feel for myself.

The first act of renaming was really a reclaiming of my body.  It felt very freeing and empowering to give a piece of myself a name I had chosen, and not a name that was forced upon me. As a trans-person, the name I choose is part of a process of reclaiming my identity, which is why I really enjoyed this process.

The second act of drawing was very therapeutic for me. Art in general has a way of quieting my mind much like meditation. The act of transferring and manifesting my thoughts about myself onto something physical was not only fun, but spiritual.

The third act of the love letter. I really appreciate the love letter. It was something Jaden has used in our HEART program for folks to utilize as a deep act of self-love. I have written a love letter to myself before but this was definitely the first time I had written it to a focused part of myself.  I cannot explain how much impact this act of love is and I can only encourage for anyone who is reading this, to experience it. There was a lot of peace and acknowledgement made at this point for me.


Jaden:

IMG_20160602_145054Hi, folks! I’m Jaden, a black transboi, and I co-facilitate Toolbox with Destin. My transition began 3 years ago, but I didn’t start hormones until about a year and a half ago. I’m spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to physically transition into black masculinity.

As a transboi, as someone who was assigned female at birth, and as a survivor of childhood sexual trauma, it is very difficult for me to be connected with my body, especially my vagina: the site of so much violence. I knew I needed this workshop for myself and I had a feeling that it would be powerful and healing for other transmasculine folks to go on this journey as well. It so rare, sometimes, that transmasculine folks get to have our own space to unpack to the ideas and values we were given as children.

The first activity felt having a conversation with an old, old friend for the first time in years. It felt like I was a little kid again. The process of (re)naming can be so important in a person’s transition through gender. It felt so powerful to name a part of my body that I was seeing as a friend for the very first time.

The drawing activity felt so playful. Once again, I felt like a little kid, frustrated at my lack of artistic ability, but enthralled by the process. I needed to be able to be playful when thinking about my little friend.

The love letter, though. The love letter is so difficult. It is a writing exercise that I, often, facilitate but it is so difficult to do. This time, though, it felt like a sweet way to end a tender conversation with an old, old friend.

My reminder to myself: You can stand in the cave of my ribs and scream out all your self-hatred. I promise to only ever echo back love.

Catch ya’ll next time!

Jaden and Destin

APAIT’s Trans/GNC/Intersex Movement Space, August 4, 2016

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The HEART Program‘s holistic trans/gnc/intersex movement space led by Jazzmun Crayton, with drumming by Destin Cortez and Jaden Fields.

This is a holistic healing and movement space that honors all bodies and abilities. We incorporate yoga, tai chi, meditation, and african-based movements combined with live drumming. Our mission is create and foster a safe space for freedom of expression; to be in touch with one’s body without policing it. We hope you can join us! 🙂

Accessibility Info –
No stairs. 3 different restrooms to choose from (gender neutral (single stall), women, men).

Contact Jaden Fields if you have questions: toolboxtransla@gmail.com, jadenf@apaitonline.org

SELF DEFENSE WORKSHOP LOS ANGELES ***Self defense for trans* & GNC individuals!***

From Shaan Dasani, member of Toolbox:

Hey all, my friend Kevin and I would like to create a safe space that centers trans* and GNC folks to come learn some basic self defense techniques. I’m a transman who’s been interested in learning self defense in a safe environment. Kevin started his martial arts training at the age of 5, and currently teaches children and adults. He also works as a stunt coordinator and fight choreographer for the movies. This is the first time we’re facilitating this event, but we’d like to host more workshops going forward. Please join us this Saturday in Culver City – details below! For safety reasons, exact location will be provided once you inbox me and we receive your RSVP confirmation, thank you!

Saturday, August 6th, 11:30 a.m. (Approx 1 – 1.5 hours)

LOCATION: Culver City Area (email for details)

SLIDING SCALE FEE: $10 – $20 (please bring cash)

Please bring water to stay hydrated, comfortable clothes, a towel if you like and anything else you need to be comfortable. Any questions, feel free to inbox me.

**Please be mindful that this is a substance free space.

 

Toolbox Sex Talk: Name and Reclaim Your Junk Workshop! Saturday, July 30th

Toolbox Reclaim

Hey peeps! It’s time for another sex talk!

Destin and I have been having conversations around the kinds of violence that is inflicted upon vaginas. That, plus dysphoria, can make it difficult to connect to our bodies, and more specifically our genitals. The challenges (and trauma) of being a masculine person with a vagina (or whatever you call yours) can make it extremely difficult to be present during sex. So let’s name and reclaim!

Instead of just a discussion, we had a workshop idea. Let’s name our junk. Let’s draw our junk in its natural habitat (get creative!). And let’s write a love letter to our junk. Let’s be gentle with this part of our bodies. ♥

Reminder: Toolbox is a closed space for folks who were assigned female at birth and identify as transmasculine.

Accessibility Information
-15 minute walk from Westlake/MacArthur Park Station (Red and Purple Lines)
-Buslines include DASH Pico/Echo Park and Metro 28
-Ample metered parking and some free parking in surrounding neighborhood and garage is accessible as well
-Wheelchair accessible
-Elevator available
-Restrooms: Women’s, Men’s and Single Stall Gender Neutral
-Ample seating and standing room
-Scent free soap will be available and we ask that your bodies come scent free
-Windows cannot be opened, venue has climate controlled ventilation system, air filtration unknown
-Public address system used by all guests and hosts

If you have any questions or concerns, email toolboxtransla@gmail.com
toolboxtransla.wordpress.com

Toolbox Discussion: Thursday, July 28th

toolbox tla

Hey peeps! Time for another discussion!

This week’s topic:
Last time we talk about some of things we had to let go of in order to move toward becoming our authentic selves. Writing exercise: what are things that you are learning about yourself as you become more you? Introduce yourself to the evolving you!

If you can’t make it to the discussion, you can google hangout with us toolboxtransla@gmail.com.

Accessibility Information
-15 minute walk from Westlake/MacArthur Park Station (Red and Purple Lines)
-Buslines include DASH Pico/Echo Park and Metro 28
-Ample metered parking and some free parking in surrounding neighborhood and garage is accessible as well
-Wheelchair accessible
-Elevator available
-Restrooms: Women’s, Men’s and Single Stall Gender Neutral
-Ample seating and standing room
-Scent free soap will be available and we ask that your bodies come scent free
-Windows cannot be opened, venue has climate controlled ventilation system, air filtration unknown
-Public address system used by all guests and hosts