Queering Compassion, one conversation at a time

Ever feel like your inner queen is too haughty?

Wonder what might happen if you could say what you really mean, get heard, and drop the blaming? Wish you could use your truest voice to tell others what you feel and need simply and clearly?

This April 25-28, a Northeastern social-justice retreat and camp, Rowe Center is creating a place for those in the LGBTQ community who practice transforming their relationships these ways in and out of queer community with the communication skills of Compassionate, Nonviolent Communication [CC/NVC].

Working for LGBTQ equality requires building trusting community – but to actually interact in ways that apply to community-building, transformative social change and the work for equality is no small feat. Most of us have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand, and diagnose — to think and communicate in terms of what is “right“ and “wrong“ with others and ourselves. Many LGBTQ folks have experienced that kind of knee-jerk judgment. Compassionate Communication is a way of interacting that’s based in curiosity and connection instead of judgment and domination.

CC/NVC is a listening and talking toolkit that makes interacting with each other—and with non-queer folks—about our many paths to equality easier. Instead of struggling to understand our own or others motivations in the moment, or feeling unable to effectively ask for what we want without using unhealthy demands, threats, or coercion, this gathering is a place to practice empathizing with others and ourselves, circumvent judgments, and get to the heart of conflict, creating authentic connection. And it’s a practice that’s been used for over 35 years by activists, therapists, mediators, and more.

Queer Talk, Caring Talk event co-organizer and longtime LGBTQ rights activist Dian Killian says, “In this space, empowered by the skills of CC/NVC, we’ll have the opportunity to get clear about what matters to us as women, men and trans people. We’ll explore our differences as well as our connections in queer community, share our experiences from varied backgrounds, and discover ways to live fully in the world at a time when gay culture is becoming more visible and accepted in the mainstream, yet heterosexism and homophobia still persist.”

The diverse training team members are Certified NVC Trainers Dian Killian [NYC], Jerry Koch-Gonzales [New England NVC], and Kristin Masters [Santa Cruz NVC], and assistant trainers Joe Brummer and Phoenix Soleil; each of whom are skilled in creating spaces that are charged with authenticity and vulnerability: where we can have queer talk that’s caring – real talk.

At the last one a participant said, “There is something so healing about being with your own kind and not feeling different or having to explain or wonder if you will be judged…It is events like these that help to save lives, and indeed help to change the world.”

Full details on the retreat are here: www.collaborative-communication.org/html/QueerTalk2013.htm

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