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Last Saturday was the 1st Trans March in Philadelphia. To be clear, it was not the first time trans folks and their allies have come together to be visible, to stand up for their own, and to gather in the streets of Philadelphia. As a co-facilitator of a group for trans teens, a therapist for trans adults, a sexuality educator, and an organizer involved with the Philadelphia Trans-health Conference I have had the opportunity to see the trans community from several perspectives. Since I moved to Philly 6 years ago I’ve schooled myself in the history of racism and how it intersects with feminism, the LGBT movement, and the transgender movement. Every time I sit in a room with trans people I feel like I learn more and more about our community and about myself. As a white genderqueer transman from a middle class background I work hard to remain aware of my own biases, weaknesses, and prejudices and to find ways to provide inclusive services. I’m incredibly grateful to the numerous people who have had hard conversations with me, suggested books I should read, and continue to hash it out together. Last Saturday all of this filled my head and my heart as I participated in the Philadelphia Trans March and watched the intersections with Occupy Philly, anarchist politics, anti-racist activism, and trans rights activism collide on Broad Street amid chanting, laughing, and a sharing of experiences and communities. It felt magical.
It is in this spirit that I want to share Michelle O’Brien’s piece “Stayin’ Alive: Trans Survival and Struggle on the Streets of Philadelphia” from That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation. Michelle shares some of the history of the transgender rights movement in Philadelphia. The 1st Philadelphia Trans March didn’t spring from one moment or idea, but is built on years and years of activist organizing on multiple levels and in many transgender communities. It also rests on a foundation that recognizes that the struggles in Philadelphia are the struggles that are directly connected to organizing against capitalism, racism, classism, and sexism. O’Brien writes,”By linking these issues in our analyses and work, we can all begin to do what mainstream gay movements won’t: build movements committed to justice for all people, movements committed to challenging capitalism and white supremacy, alongside fighting homophobia. The survival of trans-people, poor queers, and many others across the globe urgently depends on these movements. (p. 311)”
Read Michelle O’Brien’s piece here: Stayin’ Alive: Trans Survival and Struggle on the Streets of Philadelphia
The World Professional Association of Transgender Health has issues a new version of their Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People.
You can download your own copy here: http://www.wpath.org/documents/Standards%20of%20Care%20V7%20-%202011%20WPATH.pdf
A nice article about it can be found here : http://transgenderequality.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/the-top-10-things-trans-people-should-know-about-the-new-standards-of-care/
Queer & Trans Yoga with Jacoby Ballard
Saturday, January 15
10:45 am – 12:15 pm
Queer and Trans Yoga is a class specifically for the LGBT community that recognizes and adores the many ways of expressing gender and loving others. Jacoby Ballard incorporates partner yoga poses, restorative poses, vinyasa flow, and anything else that you suggest. Whether you’re new to yoga or have years of experience, this class if for you, with you!
ABOUT THE TEACHER: Jacoby Balard has taught yoga for 10 years with certifications from Kashi Ashram and Kripalu Yoga Center’s Advanced Teacher Training. Jacoby worked in spaces non-traditional to yoga—art studios, conference centers, homeless shelters—until co-founding Third Root, a community health center that specializes in yoga and acupuncture in Brooklyn. Jacoby came out as trans through his own practice of yoga and remains committed to transgender health. He works with dozens of trans and gender non-conforming clients and teaches many workshops on the topic, including three weekly Queer and Trans Yoga classes in New York City. Jacoby’s passion for working with students of all bodies, genders and experiences is combined with precise alignment, adapting yogic scriptures to life in the West, and offering physical challenges that honor where the body is at right now. He is in love with the study and practice of yoga and has helped to create a socially-just minded atmosphere for its study at Third Root.
Expecting Unexpected Bodies: Teaching Yoga to Queer, Trans, and Dis/abled Communities
Workshop with Jacoby Ballard and Lezlie Frye
Saturday, January 15th
12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Tuition: $20 before January 10th, $25 thereafter
This workshop is for yoga teachers who seek to honor and include a wide range of bodies, backgrounds, and experiences in their classrooms. What kinds of bodies do we expect as teachers? Who do we leave out? How do we understand our own bodies as we practice in community? Together we will explore and sit with our assumptions about trans, queer, and dis/abled people as well as the ways that we reflect those ideas in our instructions, adjustments, and language. Angel Kyodo Williams says that “consciousness frustrates oppression.” Becoming present to who is in the room and adapting how and what we teach is part of our own practice and holds the possibility of radically “frustrating” the assumptions and habits that constrain us as teachers and practitioners.
We will also examine yoga lineage, text, and tradition that either makes room for varied bodies or that explicitly excludes certain experiences. Jacoby Ballard and Lezlie Frye offer alternative approaches to teaching and practice that expect and invite dis/abled, queer and trans communities. As we welcome more people into our studios and community spaces, how must our hearts expand?
ABOUT THE TEACHERS:
Jacoby Ballard and Lezlie Frye are committed to slowing down, making room, and holding space for all of the communities and movements they hold dear. Their work merges social justice and embodied spiritual practice, joy and struggle, work and play. Their partnership has been essential both for their individual practice and in the yoga of relationship. In their alliance to one another around dis/ability and gender identity, they continue to find connections and build their capacity to love.
Jacoby Ballard is a yoga teacher, herbalist, organizer, and co-founder of Third Root Community Health Center in Brooklyn, NY. Jacoby has practiced yoga for 12 years and has taught for 10 years. He received his 200-hour certification from Kashi Ashram in Atlanta, and his 500-hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training at Kripalu Yoga Center. Until teaching at Third Root, Jacoby only taught in non-traditional spaces for yoga: art studios, non-profit offices, homeless shelters, and at conferences out of his commitment to the communities that don’t show up at or are not invited into yoga studios. Jacoby loves working with students of all bodies, genders, and experiences, and offers his students precise alignment, the lessons of yogic scriptures suited to daily life in the West, and physical challenge in an atmosphere of love and compassion for where the body is at right now. He is in love with the study and practice of yoga and has helped to create a socially-just minded atmosphere for the study of yoga at Third Root.
Lezlie Frye is a yogi, activist, performance artist, poet and scholar based in Brooklyn, NY. She was a company member of GIMP, a NY-based interdisciplinary dance project and a former member of SINS Invalid, San Francisco–based artist’s collective exploring dis/abled sexuality. In conjunction with yoga, movement work and performance, she leads workshops and teach-ins around the country. Frye is currently a doctoral student in the American Studies Program, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, at New York University. Her work explores embodiment and citizenship, with a critical focus on race, dis/ability, gender, and social justice.