TransFolke Group in Folkestone

More and more towns and cities are throwing Prides, drag nights, and LGBTQIA+ club events.

 

But if you’re introverted, neurodivergent, or a young person, it’s not always easy to find a queer event that’s right for you. TransFolke is a new crafting group based in Folkestone, perfect for people who want to socialise and find community in a sober, quieter space. We spoke to Ray from the group to find out more.

 

Who are these sessions for?

We say that we’re a trans-centred group. That means that we’re a space primarily for people who identify as transgender, non-binary, gender queer, or gender diverse, or anyone who is questioning or exploring their gender identity. We’re also open to cis allies who would like to attend, especially if it would make it easier for a trans or nonbinary person to attend. We ask that our allies donate a little more to support the space if they’re able to, but we don’t turn anyone away unless their behaviour is hateful, discriminatory, abusive, or intentionally unpleasant.

 

What happens at the meet-ups, what kinds of activity do you do?

Sometimes people bring their ongoing projects, and some people start something new each session or prefer to doodle or just chat. It’ll be all sorts of stuff – drawing, writing, painting, paper-cutting, wig de-tangling, collage, beat making, crochet, and knitting. Sometimes we’ll have group activities, workshops, or discussions – for example, we’ve had a picnic, a board game session, and group writing exercises, and a few group discussions about disability, trans experiences, and our upcoming exhibition. People bring their own materials but some are provided as well.

 

What has the response been like?

The response has been really good, really supportive – from cis people and trans people. When we started, we got a lot of attention on Instagram. Some people who have attended the group have told me it’s made a difference to their confidence and social life, which warms my heart a lot. We’re a pretty nervous bunch in general, so sometimes people find anxiety a big hurdle. It’s not going to be for everyone and transphobia is everywhere, especially now, but we haven’t really had any trouble from people who could be opposed to us. That’s been such a relief.

 

What do you hope TransFolke will offer the local community?

For me, the most important thing is that we (trans, nonbinary, gender diverse, and questioning folks) have a place to support each other, build community, grow together, and have fun. I want it to be a place where we don’t have to explain ourselves, educate people, hide or make compromises about who we are to be safe. I think people who live outside of cities don’t get that very often, and lots of us will be the only trans person that our colleagues, friends and families know. I hope this group will help us all to feel more like we belong here. If it helps other (cis) people be more open to us, learn more about us, have solidarity with us, or see that we’re just normal people, then that’s great too!

 

What should someone do if they’re interested in attending?

If you’re interested in attending TransFolke… just turn up! We meet twice a month on Sundays at DIY4Folke, 62 Tontine Street, Folkestone CT20 1JP. We ask that people bring a donation if they can afford to, to help us pay for the space. If you want to find out more, let us know you’re coming, if you feel nervous or unsure about attending the group or if there’s something that makes it difficult to attend, then please get in touch! Email us at [email protected] or DM us on Instagram @transfolke. We’re also thinking about starting to have online meetups for people who find it hard to travel or leave the house.

 

by Alice Smales

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