NO! Giving and Receiving No with Comfort, Grace, and Glee

For many of us, especially women, femmes, and AFABs, saying “no” can be a challenge—we’ve been taught that our social acceptance and even our safety depends on our compliance and malleability. Many of us also struggle with feelings of rejection when we are given “no,” and read it as a personal failure rather than another’s expression of self. In order to practice good consent, we need to be able to check in with and respect our own boundaries, and not just the boundaries of our partners, friends, etc, and to recognize that giving “no” is a vulnerable giving of oneself that we should receive as a gift. This workshop will be a collaborative effort to discuss, define, and practice “no,” not only to prevent unwanted experiences, but also so that we can feel empowered to say “yes.”

Julia Amanita is a survivor of sexual assault who is passionate about consent. They are also a mushroom hunter, fire spinner, embroidery artist and self-identified nature queer.

Angels of the Get-Through: Queerness in Apocalyptic Times

During this emergent session, participants will reflect deeply on what it means to be queer in these apocalyptic times. Participants will be invited to share experiences regarding the unique skills, resources, and strengths queer and trans people possess. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to conduct a self-assessment of their current skills as well as their desired areas of growth. Facilitator Yarrow Koning will draw from several methodologies, including group divination, social artistry, reflective writing, and meditative readings. Participants will also share resources for continued reflection on apocalyptic times. Note: This session will hold space for difficult emotions related to apocalyptic themes. The facilitator will do their best to practice continued group consent in the space; participants are also encouraged to pay attention to their personal needs throughout the session.

Yarrow Koning is a queer, nonbinary facilitator and educator currently deepening their roots in the Southeast. Yarrow is a co-founder of the Apocalypse Training Collective, a group organizing skillshares for queer and trans folks in Atlanta. Yarrow is passionate about wildlife, herbal medicine, anti-oppressive facilitation, transformative community spaces, and liberation for all beings.

Know Your Rights! in Education, Employment & Voting

Learn more about students’ rights, framed in the context of the ACLU of Virginia’s case, Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board. This session will also include information regarding employment protections and voting rights.

Jennifer Safstrom joined the ACLU of Virginia in September 2018 as the Tony Dunn Legal Fellow. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in May 2018, where she served as Editor in Chief of the Georgetown Journal of Law & Modern Critical Race Perspectives, Employer Outreach Chair for the Latin American Law Student Association, and member of the Appellate Litigation Clinic. She earned her B.A. in International Studies from the University of Miami in 2011.

Polyamory – Deconstructing ‘Traditional’ Relating

Polyamory is more than just the opposite of monogamy. It’s an entirely different approach to relating with the people we love. In this workshop, we’ll explore the ways that the cultural script of monogamy may still influence us in alternative relationships. This means we’ll be talking about privilege, jealousy, boundaries, ultimatums and more. All are welcome, but this workshop will be best suited to people already in/comfortable with/exploring polyamory (and other styles of non-monogamy).

Annie Frazier lives in Asheville, North Carolina. She has a forge-your-own-path spirit, and is passionate about alternative relationship styles. Everyone has a story worth telling, and Annie loves hearing each of them.

Queer in Community

An open discussion (lightly facilitated) about the experience of being queer in intentional communities, and how that can be similar or different from life in the mainstream.

Roja Harmony Oakleaf was spawned in Arizona and has drifted around the country until stopping hopefully-permanently at Twin Oaks. They are a techie type who likes fast internet and hates streaming videos! You’ll find them hula hooping, dancing, and playing board games at the gathering.

Coping with Stress and Anxiety Skillshare- Building our Toolkits

This skillshare is for those of us who experience problematic levels of stress and anxiety. We’ll come together and share with one another the things that have best helped us to get by. As queer folks, we often have some extra stress in our lives and don’t always have access to the best resources, so sharing what we know with each other can be a vital and empowering aspect of our mental health care. If you don’t feel like speaking in this workshop, listening is welcome. This workshop will be a conversation among peers and is not a substitute for professional guidance. No late admittance-please arrive on time.

Ari lives at Twin Oaks and is happy to be helping with the Queer Gathering for the third year in a row. At the queer gathering you can often find them at the crafts table. On a regular day at Twin Oaks you can often find them in the garden or indexing books. They like comics, letter writing, fiber arts, traveling, stories in all media (especially when there are queer characters!) and friendly cats.

Queer Parenting

Parenting outside the constraints of the heteronormative nuclear family is a beautiful and rewarding experience! However, it is not without specific challenges directly connected to parenting within a larger society that is dominated by straight, cisgender norms and expectations. This workshop is a positive space for facilitated discussion, problem-solving, brainstorming and reflection on the challenges unique to queer parenting. We will share stories, advice and lessons learned. The intended participants are adults who are involved in the daily parenting of at least one child as well as adults who plan to become a parent. The participants are also expected to identify in someway with a sexual or gender minority identity or experience.

Warren Kunce is a transgender activist and experienced adult educator in Sweden and the first birth parent to be legally recognized as a father in the European Union. Warren grew up in Missouri and emigrated to Sweden in 2009. Fascinated by the FEC and communities movement, he is looking forward to learning more about the experiences of being queer in community.

Intro to Tool Basics

Have you always wanted to take on DIY handy projects, but never got taught how to drive a nail, cut a board, or use a tape measure properly? Here’s your chance to learn some of the basics, in a safe and chill environment! Nina will go over the fundamentals of measuring, marking, cutting, fastening and safety, with lots of tools you can play with. If time and energy permit, interested participants can put together a simple project over the course of the weekend. All necessary accoutrements provided.

Nina is a Twin Oaks member and longtime communard who currently co-manages building maintenance at the community. She loves to share construction skills, especially with FAAB folks and others who don’t typically get encouraged to learn them while growing up.

Getting Real Game

The Getting Real card game is for two to fourteen players, ages ten and up. The idea behind the Getting Real Game is that it’s more fun to tell the truth than it is to lie, pretend, and conform to others’ expectations. As you play, you’ll be developing the ten essential truth skills described in the book Getting Real. Learning these truth skills allows you to communicate your truth responsibly and compassionately. During the game, you will be asked to share your self-talk, create your own “wild cards,” and communicate with the intent to relate, not to control.  The results are often profound, always provocative, sometimes disturbing, but mostly hilarious.  

Born and raised in Canada, Valerie has lived over half her life at Twin Oaks. The lifework that nourishes her most is being a Yoga Instructor (current favourite pose: Half-Bow / Ardha Dhanurasana). Being a Virgo, she can’t help organizing things, and in addition to helping create the Queer Gathering, she manages Twin Oaks’ firewood-splitting crew and hammock pillow-making workshop. One of her Ease Mantras: “How can I be with the experience that is happening right now with kindness and acceptance towards myself?”

The Ways We Are Stronger

The Ways We Are Stronger workshop is for people in recovery  from  mental health challenges. This interactive workshop offers an opportunity to appreciate the gifts, strengths, and uniqueness  recovery  gives us. Through prompts and group work we will hold space to explore and claim our narratives and celebrate the ways we are stronger by asking, “who are you today that you wouldn’t have known yourself to be if you hadn’t walked your exact history? ”

Malaina Poore Malaina Poore has worked in peer-led mental  health  education and advocacy for 8 years. She’s led workshops, readings and public speaking events from graduate psychology classrooms at James Madison University to Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco. Malaina is also a trained Trauma Informed Care facilitator through SAMHSA.

Megan Sharkey Megan was raised in coastal New Jersey and attended undergraduate university in Pennsylvania. Since settling in Richmond, she has worked to complete her Master of Social Work, with a concentration in Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice, from Virginia Commonwealth University. Megan’s interests include participating in social justice efforts to dismantle institutionalized oppression, getting engulfed in other worlds through books, listening to public radio, and spending quality time with loved ones.

Storytelling

My intention is to get people speaking up on their emotional story regarding the LGBTQ experience. I want equal parts the awkwardness & the glory. Less wild night club tales & more deep coming out sagas, yet less group therapy & more connection to one’s selfhood. Participants will create their tale using The Heroine’s Journey, a chart based on Joseph Campbell’s popularized map of an individual’s cycle of adventure, and be invited to share with the group as they wish.

Jade is a new member this year at Twin Oaks. She once was on a Greyhound bus during New Years Eve that traveled across time zones so it was midnight twice. Her fears include corruption in political media and fear itself, and exclude death. Her interests are tarot, poetry, pastels, and athletics. She is a writer, fraternal twin, ecstatic dancer, and occasional stand-up comic. You can find her at the Queer Gathering running the storytelling workshop, crafting collages, taking photographs, mingling around a campfire, and eating the berries sowed all over our beautiful woods abyss.

Fungi & Friends—Intro to Mushroom Identification

If you’ve always wanted to learn about mushrooms but didn’t know where to start, this is your opportunity! In this workshop, we’ll explore the vocabulary of fungi, learn how to use a field guide to identify species, and discuss foraging safety and ethics, all while wandering through the beautiful woods of Twin Oaks!

Julia is completely obsessed with mushrooms. In their 2 years as a fungi fanatic, they’ve eaten over 50 species of wild mushrooms. They are also a fire spinner, embroidery artist, and self-described nature queer. They live at Twin Oaks and are an organizer of the Queer Gathering.