February is an excellent time for self-reflection and community connection. With the worst of winter in the rear-view, it's not too soon to look ahead to the brighter, warmer days of spring and contemplate your place in this great big, multifaceted world. This list includes activities and events to help nourish your mind and soul. Get out into the community in intentional, meaningful ways, whether that’s joining a new trans-masc support group, seeking out opportunities to create art or honoring Black History Month.
1. Join a New Trans-Masc Support Group
A new support group for trans-masculine identified young adults will meet at Affirmations in Ferndale on the first and third Thursday of every month, starting Feb. 16. “When you don't know anybody like you, it's easy to feel misunderstood and alone in the world. That, on top of struggling with the unique challenges that come along with being transgender, can make it hard to find adequate support,” said support group co-facilitator Finn L. “The Trans Male support group strives to fill in those gaps in the form of connection. Creating a space exclusively for trans men gives our community the ability to confide in and support each other in ways that nobody else is able.” The group is offered through Stand with Trans in partnership with Affirmations LGBTQ+ community center.
First and third Thursdays at 6 p.m. at Affirmations (290 W. 9 Mile Road, Ferndale). Learn more at standwithtrans.org/support-groups.
2. Make a Cultural Connection in Reflection of Black History Month
The “Detroit Renaissance” program at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) on Feb. 26 is your chance to soak up some culture across several disciplines. The event features music, poetry and art, all with a Detroit focus. In addition to a performance by Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, local harpist Maurice Draughn will perform original work alongside other Detroit musicians and premiere the song “African Violet,” composed by local musician Jeff Scott.
The free-with-admission event (admission is free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County residents), which also includes a poetry reading by Detroit poet Kalimah Johnson, will be held in the DIA African American art exhibit space.
Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. at the Detroit Institute of Arts (5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit).
3. Link up and Explore at a Queer Writing Workshop
Get in touch with yourself through the act of writing in a safe, affirming space at the Writing From Our Queer Bodies workshop on Feb. 26. at Room Project in Detroit. The body-based writing workshop, led by E Simon Wolff, focuses on a gentle, accessible, trauma-aware, body-based approach that explores themes including grief, joy, pleasure, belonging and more. Participants can share their work, but it isn’t required — this is fantastic opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and lean into your queerness.
Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. at Room Project (6513 Woodward Ave., Detroit). No prior experience with body-based writing required and open to anyone who identifies as queer.
4. Sketch Nude Models with Other Queers
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Whether you’re a pro or it’s been a minute since you’ve picked up a sketch pad (or even if you never have), the Detroit Queer Sketch Series is a welcoming, inclusive space for you to explore your artistic side while getting to know other local queer artists. Each second Thursday of the month, James Staycation and Chris Gorski of Detroit GT host a lively, encouraging sketching session with a live nude model. Supplies are available or feel free to bring your own sketch pad, pencils, charcoals, paints, tablet or other medium. Learn more at instagram.com/detroit_queer_sketch_series
Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Detroit GT Studio (2301 Wolcott St., Ferndale). Bring your own alcoholic beverage (non-alcoholic refreshments snacks are available).
5. Bring Your Best Dish to an LGBTQ Shabbat Potluck
Wondering where your fellow queer Jewish community members are hanging out on the third Friday of each month? Well, starting Feb. 17, you might just find them at Temple Beth Emeth’s LGBTQ Shabbat Potluck, an event hosted by the temple’s new queer affinity group. Coordinator Ariane Smith says the event “is a way for queer Jews in our area to build community and increase connection to both their queerness and Jewishness. We can engage in Jewish tradition in a group that affirms our identities as whole individuals, and meet more people like us. Many queer people of faith want a connection to their heritage without going to services, and we hope to give them an avenue to participate and make friends in an ongoing, monthly dinner.”