Group Description
Mission: CommunityCave Chicago (FKA ManCave) is a peer lead group for individuals that were Assigned/Designated Female at Birth (A/DFAB) AND ALSO who identify as trans, or as anything other than cisgender. We seek to provide a safer space for meeting, discussing, learning, collaborating, socializing, mentorship, and the building of community. 

In addition to hosting dedicated safer spaces for our core membership, we are also intentionally inclusive of our larger trans, queer/questioning, and intersex (TQI) communities by holding regular open meetings and attending a wide variety of events.

Group Values: diversity, intersectionality, accessibility, harm reduction, social and economic justice, the abolition of systems of oppression, real gender equity beyond the binary, feminism, reproductive justice, anti-ableism, anti-bigotry, and #BlackLivesMatter

In order to foster this safer space and to protect our members’ privacy, all meetings and events are closed to students and reporters that are attending under those functions. If one would like to attend any of our open events as an ally, they will be asked to please participate, as attending only to observe is not allowed.
Meetings Every Thursday!!!

1st Thursdays: Pop Up Topics!

The first Thursday of every month, and the occasional fifth Thursday, are Pop Up Topics! meetings. We are intentional in holding this space as reserved for trans, intersex, & non-cis folks that were Assigned/Designated Female at Birth, which is a rare and important space, where we can share our particular struggles and help each other to heal.

2nd Thursdays: F#ck Your Feelings 2nd Thursdays: A Rotating Activity Jubilee

On the 2nd Thursday of each month, we hold "F#ck Your Feelings 2nd Thursdays: A Rotating Activity Jubilee." When not adhering to a specific format, such as a panel discussion, casual conversation is the norm. The activity will be announced early in the week, if not sooner, and may range from board games to arts n crafts to workshops on a wide variety of topics. These meetings are occasionally open to family, friends, partners, allies, etc, (but never students or reporters) which will be announced in those meeting topic descriptions!

3rd Thursdays: CommunityCave's TQI Night

On the third Thursday of each month, we hold CommunityCave's TQI Night. This safer space meeting is intentionally inclusive of our larger trans, queer/questioning, and intersex (TQI) communities. We seek to discover points of connection and collaboration between our larger communities through the discussion of topics and issues from our multiple points of view. We also hope to learn from and heal one another through the celebration of our diversities.

4th Thursdays: ComunityCave Plus
On the 4th Thursday of each month, we hold CommunityCave Plus. This is an open meeting, to which our core and TQI members (and potential members) are encouraged to bring family, friends, partners, allies, etc. There is generally a Topic for these meetings, but we also leave room for any impromptu discussions that may organically arise. Before the meeting starts, there will be an opportunity to write down any awkward questions or talking points that you may have, so that they may be drawn and asked anonymously during any lulls in conversation. For those already familiar, appearing randomly and upon request: oh, yeah, Dump Truck of Love!!!

These weekly meetings are hosted at Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL) from 6:30 pm to 8:45 PM. We generally meet in room 201 or 202, but you may also check with the front desk for the exact location.

Activities & Events
CommunityCave Chicago also has many more opportunities for bonding and fun! A few of the events that you may look forward to are: CommunityCave Goes Camping, CommunityCave Goes to the Movies in the Park, CommunityCave Goes to the Beach, CommunityCave Does IML, CommunityCave Potluck, and THE LIST GOES ON AND ON!

Working Agreements

At all meetings and events, everyone should please try to respect our Working Agreements:
  • Step Up, Step Back - Although we seek to foster conversation in our meetings, try not to interrupt when another person is speaking. Also, please try to be conscious of how much space you are taking up, especially if you are aware that others have not had many chances to share. Please also note that no one is required to speak, apart from during the introduction round, and may otherwise "pass" at any time.
  • You Know You, I Know Me - Make no assumptions about others, related to gender or otherwise. When speaking, please try to use "I" statements and avoid making generalizations or applying your own ideals to others.
  • Respect - Please use folk's stated names and pronouns, both inside and outside of the space. This means that if you see someone outside of this space in the future, discreetly check in with them before using a name/pronoun, especially in the presence of others.
  • Vegas Rules - What happens at CommunityCave stays at CommunityCave. Though you are welcome to share your experiences, feelings, etc with others afterwards, please refrain from repeating others' stories, names, likenesses, etc outside of the group.
  • Oops/Ouch - If something offensive, problematic, or hurtful is said or done during group, anyone may say, "ouch." The person that had been speaking should please say, "oops," and then the problematic nature of what was said should be discussed by those persons and/or the group.
  • Ouch, Anon - If any person feels that an "ouch" needs to be said, but is not comfortable saying so at the moment of occurrence, this should please be communicated to our Organizers via the "Ouch, Anon" tab on our website, where one may choose to identify themself, or remain anonymous.
  • Consent Before Touching - Please always ask consent before touching another, and know that CommunityCave Chicago provides a NO JUDGEMENT space for refusing consent. One good practice is to offer alternatives, such as, "Would you like to hug, high five, or greet each other with a cute wave?" Please also note that anyone's preferences may shift by day, or from moment to moment; this means that we should be mindful about re-gaining consent on an ongoing basis, and in occasionally checking in with those for which we have longer term consent agreements.
  • Escape Route - Anyone may enter, leave, or re-enter the meeting at any time, for any reason. Please be mindful to do so with respect for the space and whoever may be speaking.
  • Know & Check Your Privilege - Be conscious that all folks exist at many intersections of both privilege and oppression, and that all of us view life through our own lens. Our goal is not to engage in the “Oppression Olympics” nor to erase the experiences of others with our own, but to learn from each other and celebrate our diverse narratives.

Group Values: diversity, intersectionality, accessibility, harm reduction, social and economic justice, the abolition of systems of oppression, real gender equity beyond the binary, feminism, reproductive justice, anti-ableism, anti-bigotry, and #BlackLivesMatter

***Please note that these are Working Agreements. If there are any additional suggestions or issues with anything listed above on the day of the event, we will work towards some common agreement at that time. You may also contact me ahead of time with any additions, or questions, via the Contact tab.***

Lead Organizer:
Lee Andel Dewey
[email protected]

Organizer/Facilitator Team

Sam Lenser