Last night the sixth edition of the GenderFreeZone took place at the COC Leiden. (If you want to know more about the COC and what I'm doing there, check this blog: It's official. ) It was the first one that took place under my supervision and I am proud to tell you it was a great success. We had asked someone to do a workshop on self-confidence and assertiveness. Rusz had done a workshop at the GFZ before but that was before my time. I had heard people really liked it so we had decided to invite her again. It turned out to be a good idea indeed. We had about a dozen people coming in which was a nice crowd. There was enough time for everyone to tell their stories and get some personal attention from Rusz. Actually the workshop ended about half an hour late because everyone was enjoying it so much. It felt like we could have continued talking for the rest of the night.
One of the things we all noticed was how much we all have in common. We had people in who were still exploring and were unsure of where they wanted to go, all the way up to people who had completed their transition from one gender to the other and pretty much everything in between. But we all had felt the isolation, the alienation, the struggles, the search, the long road of finding yourself. And we had all felt like freaks at some point and probably sometimes still do. But not that night. We were among equals, even though they were strangers mostly, and we knew we were safe. I was truly amazed at how open and forthcoming everyone was, how positive and supportive towards each other. You could sense people feeling stronger and stronger during the evening. It made me feel all warm inside, knowing I had helped to make that possible. I really can't wait until the next GFZ evening.
At the end of the evening I handed out feedback forms. I had only printed out 10 because I hadn't expected more people. I got back 8 so that's a pretty good score. The general consensus was that they were all very content and had enjoyed the evening. And also, that they wanted more. Once every 3 months doesn't cut it for them. I already knew that but having it in writing means I can go to the chief and tell him I need more time. I'm seeing him next week on a different matter but I can bring it up and see what happens. It would be great if we could get a GFZ café every month or even every 2 weeks or so. Which reminds me, I need to ask about the dates for the movies that will be playing. There should be a couple with a T theme in there so us T people can get together then too. All in all, there is work to be done and I am 100% confident that it will pay off. Let's get crackin'!
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