(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
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.
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.
Hi, 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