Brown Boi Project - a life and world changing organization that works to empower masculine of center womyn, trans men, and men of color.
I first heard about The Brown Boi Project from a femme-identified friend in 2009 (Gina, thank you so much). At the time, I was volunteering with a few Social Justice organizations in the Minneapolis area and facilitating a support group once a week for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people. They told me they heard about it from some folks out in the Brooklyn area, and that I should check it out. After doing some research, I applied for the leadership retreat later in the year.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to meet quite a few Brown Bois from my community in Minneapolis and through my first trip to the Philly Trans Health Conference. This group of folks not only welcomed me into their communities that span the nation, but treated me like family. I was able to have conversations about race, gender, sexuality and the intersections of my identity that I hadn't had a space for before. My experience and the opportunity of meeting these wonderful people solidified my desire to get involved with BBP.
I was offered a spot in October 2012's cohort and immediately accepted. In between applying and getting accepted, I started getting involved with performance art and opened a new shelter for homeless youth with friend and fellow Brown Boi, Enzi Tanner. I was able to hone skills, reflect, and develop a hunger for more skills in a way that needed a support system larger than what was available to a queer, transmasculine person of color in Minneapolis. I was also not practicing the best self-care in all of the work that I was doing and was facing burnout. My experience at the 5 day long leadership retreat provided me with skills that I not only can use in my work, but in my personal well being. I returned home feeling re-energized and ready to take on shelter system culture, wrote a new performance show, and skills to improve different aspects of my life. I also gained another family - not just the family that I spent 5 days with, but Brown Bois and Brown Boi allies across the nation.
My work with the Brown Boi Project and the work that Brown Boi does for me doesn't stop now that the retreat is over. I have access to a great deal of resources - I have access to a life coach for three months, and I also have access to fundraising, grant writiing, and facilitation workshops and trainings. All of the work that Brown Boi is doing for masculine of center womyn, trans masculine, and queer and straight men of color can not be done without the leadership retreats, and those leadership retreats cannot happen without the generous donations from allies, supporters, and those close to the Brown Boi family. To put it into perspective, it takes approximately $4,000 to cover the costs for one Brown Boi to attend the leadership retreat and have access to follow-up support. There were 14 Brown Boi's in my cohort.
The Brown Boi Project is a community of masculine of center womyn, men, two-spirit people, transmen, and our allies committed to transforming our privilege of masculinity, gender, and race into tools for achieving Racial and Gender Justice. The work BBP does is important to me, and it's important to all of our communities in being able to sustain itself. I have never felt so valued and supported by an organization. I'm asking folks to join Brown Boi Project in this work by donating $10, $15, $20, or more to support BBP today! If you join as a monthly donor of $25 or more you will join our inner circle with tons of ways to get involved and stay in the loop on the change as we create it.