Queer body love retreat Testimonials


“I will slow down, speak up, and take up space, unapologetically.”

During the QBL retreat I realized how powerful it is to intentionally step away / out of my home habitat and to lean on strangers who become friends who then become an essential support system. I also realized I can be with all my emotions instead of stuffing them down.

I will slow down, speak up, and take up space, unapologetically.

Elizabeth’s leadership felt very supportive. She has a way of being present with each individual while encouraging a brave space for participants to lean on each other as well.

— JE, VT Retreat Participant 2018

“It's rare to be in a space where honesty is not only allowed, but invited.”

It's always nice to spend time in the woods, and it's always nice to spend time with other queer folks, and it's especially nice to spend time in the woods with other queer folks. Another way to say that, I guess, is that it feels great to take a break from a world where straight cisgender people make all the rules. I felt sure that there was safety to be vulnerable, or not, without judgment, and that I would be listened to with gentleness and compassion if I chose to take risks with my words or actions. Perhaps my favorite part of the retreat was witnessing other people reveal their struggles, and hopes, and joys; seeing other people rest in the mess of their humanity gives everyone around permission to do the same. It's rare to be in a space where honesty is not only allowed, but invited.

— D, a retreat participant from 2018


“I felt more seen than ever before.”

I decided to take the leap and do the Queer Body Love retreat because I felt like I owed it to myself and my soul.  Despite not knowing anyone prior to the retreat, I bared and shared my soul to the most kind and loving group of queer folks I had ever met. I felt more seen than ever before. I allowed myself to feel wholly and purely, rage, tears, and all. I loved starting off the weekend with gentle movement and a release of pain and tension. I allowed myself to be as free as possible and to really connect deep down with others. I loved tender moments together. Forever a work in progress, I took with me a better outlook to be gentle with my body, my heart, and my mind. I would recommend this retreat to any of fellow queer friends who are able to spend a weekend in nature, reconnecting to their soul and who are open to experiencing some new challenges to grow.

— Allison Reidy, CA Retreat Participant 2017

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“This is one of the few places you can feel supported as a queer person in your personal development.”

It was difficult at times, don’t expect a spa weekend… but, worthwhile and uniquely validating. You can be yourself and be seen here, even if that is a rare experience for you in your day to day life.

— Anonymous, VT Retreat Participant 2018

“There’s nothing more valuable than taking time for yourself to be held and listened to. It is invaluable.”

— Sophie Ehrlich, VT Retreat Participant 2018

“I now feel comfortable asking for support and being visible in my body within different spaces.”

I came to this retreat knowing it was out of character for me. I didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of sessions provided. Elizabeth is well versed as a coach and its clear working with her during the QBL retreat that there is genuine and authentic compassion and care put into creating a healing and learning space. I realized many different ways I’ve internalized and have been impacted by societal norms from many sides. I am now equipped and feel comfortable asking for support and being visible in my body within different spaces.

— Leslee Peterson, VT Retreat Participant 2018

Profile of Ms. Jason Hogle

Right After The Retreat:

“Nothing in my life… compares with the experience I had this weekend.”

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I am so grateful for this experience. Nothing in my life, including my awakening through my experiences with The Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia band, and Phish, and my years of studying and performing and teaching jazz and blues and classical and folk and rock 'n' roll and pop and Motown R&B as a guitarist and now as a ukulele player, compares with the experience I had this weekend, being embraced in my vulnerability while allowing myself to share my strengths, make mistakes, and learning the fine line of consent.

One Year Later:

“The QBL retreat altered the trajectory of my life.”

The QBL retreat altered the trajectory of my life. For the first time I felt truly visible.  I was invited to be honest with myself and others about my gender identity.  I needed this permission. I needed to know that whatever I felt was ok. I was invited to go deeper.  This required exquisite gentleness. There was no more room for self-loathing.  I left knowing that I am worthy, and that everything I need to know this to be true I already have.  

Now, I am happy. I could not say that without a caveat before the retreat.

“For the first time I felt like I could be honest about my gender identity without the threat of ridicule and humiliation.”

At the QBL retreat I was asked what pronouns I use. After 47 years of using he/him pronouns, I was uncertain how to answer this question.  This was ok. I was encouraged to ask for what I honestly wanted. I asked to use female pronouns and my female name.  This felt wonderful. I felt seen. I felt visible. For the first time I felt like I could be honest about my gender identity without the threat of ridicule and humiliation.  Coming home after this retreat I was able to find my queer community at home. This has been invaluable to my healing process. This continues as I explore what it means to ME to be transgender.   In order for me to accept being trans, I had to let go of self loathing altogether. There was no way for me to honor myself and allow room for it whatsoever at the same time. This has required exquisite gentleness.  This has allowed me trust that I am worthy of being myself, no matter how I identify.

“I have hope every day for the first time since I was a young child.”

I have hope every day for the first time since I was a young child. I no longer look back and regret the past, nor do I fear the future. Self-loathing has all but disappeared. In my teaching practice I have made it a practice to help my students learn self-love, and exquisite gentleness. Every step is my practice. What I must do lays before me. My connection with everyone in my life is nothing but authentic. Even in the most challenging moments, even when I make mistakes, (even when I am putting up appearances ) I don't look back, but get up, brush off my knees and show up once again.

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Interview Questions

What made you decide to do the Queer Body Love retreat?

Upon the recognition of being transgender, I realized I had to educate myself, and I had no choice but to do so.  It was literally a matter of survival for me. I had discover the Queer Body Love group on Facebook after seeing a video of Elizabeth speaking about something that resonated with me.  I had been able to connect with a lot of like minded people in this group, and felt like it was a safe container for me to begin unveiling myself. When I found out there was to be a QBL retreat, there was no doubt in my mind that this was something I could not miss!

What did you learn? Any “aha moments” or realizations?

I learned that in order to honor myself completely, I had to let go of self-loathing.  The two are mutually exclusive. Loathing myself into becoming the person I “want to be” was not working.  In order to become the person I want to be, I have to see the person I am, unequivocally. This required the tool of exquisite gentleness, and lots of patience.  Being diligent in not allowing space for self-loathing was and remains the most important act of courage I have ever made.

I learned that consent is the most important aspect of any relationship.  I often took for granted other people’s need for consent. This is a direct result of my physical and emotional boundaries being violated, and of being ridiculed for even expressing the word “stop” as a child.  Until I could see how much having my physical and emotional boundaries respected as a child could have spared me years of grief and trauma, I would never have understood that intentions do not justify actions which betray anyone else’s sense of safety, no matter how good.