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

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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

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[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

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