Justus Eisfeld

Community building

Building transgender communities is not a simple task. In a lot of (western European) countries there are many scattered groups who more often than not fight each other in stead of prejudices in society. Most of the time there is a group here and a group there, in the larger cities a lot of the groups are splinter groups of each other. In other countries (especially a lot of eastern European countries) there are hardly any transgender groups at all, let alone a community or political activism. There are hardly any national structures and cooperation between groups can be though. However a new generation well-educated activists are growing up, and can build on the foundation of our elders. This gives us the unique chance of uniting the different groups and become more powerful as a social movement. With this workshop I would like to give the participants tools to build stronger communities. With the help of a role playing exercise the participants will tackle some of the most common problems that arise when transgender people try to build up groups and networks. I will give some input on conflict management and resolution to help with the prevention of some of the problems that may arise. In the second part of the programme the participants are encouraged to build up on that experience and make a personal action plan of steps they would like to carry out 'at home' in order to strengthen their transgender community. The focus in this workshop is on working with common interest and mutual acceptance rather than focus on differences and things that divide us. It is important that the participants are active in transgender groups or want to start transgender groups of their own in the near future.