Saturday, July 30, 2011

Don’t Miss A-Little-Off-the-Top TODAY!

Hey all!

Can’t wait to see you tonight for an amazing event to celebrate and help me raise money for top surgery! If you can't make it, but you want to support the cause, you can donate online at 

The event is going to be amazing! I’ll be getting my hair cut and getting a massage at the salon from 5-8pm.

I can’t wait to see Miss Barbie Q perform around 10pm! Not to mention live singing from Lindsey Renee Bever and Shawn Moore, sassy dancing and singing from the Fancy Brute, fire dancing out back and great dancalicious beats from DJ Tranity, DJ Fancy Brute and DJ Nova Jade.

We’ve got a packed night full of entertainment, prizes, cocktails, delicious foods, haircuts, massages, live art, and amazing, unforgettable community!

For those of you who are coming, you’ll find all the important logistics below.  If you can’t make it, you can always donate online at 

Love you all!

Location Logistics:

966 Arapahoe Street
Los Angeles, CA 90006
- Nearest major cross-streets: Hoover & Olympic
- The Arapahoe House is a cooperative that’s a safe and welcoming space for Queer and Trans people of color and they’re generously opening up their space for the event. The house is a shoeless household, so wear your slip-ons and cute socks. 

Parking:  This event has street parking only.  Parking can be tricky to find in this neighborhood, but the earlier you arrive the better.  If you don’t find a spot on Arapahoe, try Olympic or Hoover.  I also encourage carpooling with your friends!

Public Transit:
- 28 bus goes East / West on Olympic
- Nearest Metro stations:
  • Westlake / Macarthur Park which is a 1 mile walk OR you can walk to 7th and Alvarado and take the 603 bus to Hoover and Olympic OR you can take the 200 bus to Alvarado and Olympic, which is about a 10 minute walk from the house. 
  • Vermont / Wilshire, also about a 1 mile walk OR you can take the 754 bus south on Vermont to Olympic and walk from there. 

Since it’s not at a club, and it is a fundraiser, don’t forget to bring your check-books and plenty of cash.  Here are the nearest banks:
- Bank of America & Wells Fargo ATM - 1625 West Olympic Blvd @ Beacon, Los Angeles
- Chase Bank - 3183 Wilshire Blvd @ Vermont, Los Angeles

Door: $5 - $20 Sliding Scale (pays for a raffle ticket and live entertainment)

Like a carnival, we’ve got a ticket booth. It’s call the ALOTT bank!  1 bank ticket is $5.  Buy plenty and use them for the salon, food and drinks. 

- Food:  1 bank ticket = 2 pupusas or 2 tamales + beans and rice
- Bar: 1 bank ticket = 1 cocktail or 1 beer. 2 bank tickets = unlimited beer
- Salon: 3 bank tickets = 15 minutes of chair massage. 3 bank tickets = buzz cut (just clippers). 6 bank tickets = hair cut

Raffle tickets will be for sale at $5 for 1 raffle ticket and $20 for 5 tickets. 

The raffle is full of amazing prizes!  And there will also be a silent auction with a few great items in it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

One Week Until A Little Off the Top Event!

The event is right around the corner and we're finalizing all the details. Already, we've raised $4,500 toward my top surgery, which is so exciting! We might reach the goal by the end of the summer! 

If you're attending the event, stay in touch with updates on facebook. Sign-in to facebook and then go here to RSVP and receive updates. 

Can't wat to see you all there next Saturday!


Monday, June 13, 2011

My Experience As a Trans Person, Interview on "LGBT POV"

Syd Peterson put together a story about my experiences as a trans person and what has led me to top surgery.  I've included some exerpts below, but check out the full story on the LGBT POV blog here.

For each section of the article there is a corresponding video. All videos are on the side-bar on the right.

Part 1: Origins
I talk about my early childhood and the first time I realized there was something different about me at the age of 5.

Part 2: Choosing a Name
Here, I talk about the process of changing names, from Jessica to Jess to Jay to Jackson, which I'm sticking with now.

Part 3: Talking to Family
I talk about the experience of talking to my parents and my sister and what it was like for them to experience a big shift along with me.  Below is straight from Syd's story on LGBT POV:

Jackson’s experience telling his family about his transgender identity and his plans to transition went relatively smoothly. “I was lucky because all the people who really care about me never stopped caring about me when they heard I’m transgender. They didn’t treat me differently or cast me out. They embraced me and asked me questions and hopped on board to take the journey with me.” Jackson was pleasantly surprised by the strong support he received from his grandparents: “They’ve all been really amazing. And actually, my grandfather in Maryland just did a bunch of volunteering for their marriage equality and gender inclusive non-discrimination campaigns.”

“Transitioning is way more than taking hormones and surgery,” he says. “It involves all the people in your life who’ve spent so much time getting to know you. One of the most prevalent feelings that those close to me experienced was grief or loss. People in my life had become used to me a certain way. They came to love those parts of me and now I’m changing. I mean, my parents had a daughter. My sister had a sister. Now I’m not the same thing. I’m still their child. I’m still her sibling. But it’s loss for them, and it has taken time to process and accept that. Initially, I was hurt by this concept, but then I realized I was actually grieving too. I feel loss around the changes, but I also feel loss in that I didn’t get to grow up as a boy.”

“I think, at first, my family was worried they’d have to pretend that Jessica never existed or that somehow I’d been their little boy all along,” says Jackson. “But that would be inauthentic for them and I’d be erasing parts of our history. It’s really helped to acknowledge that things are the way they are and they were the way they were. It wouldn’t be helpful to pretend Jessica never existed. She’s part of me. That’s how I grew up and I’m grateful for what I’ve had in my life. We still have pictures up of me as a little girl and that’s fine with me.”

Part 4: On Taking Hormones
In this video I talk a bit about my experiences getting started with hormones, how it was like a second puberty and what it was like to re-learn how to process emotions.  

Part 5: The Next Milestone
Here I talk about my next step to get chest surgery, also a bit about the process of binding.
My Top Surgery is scheduled for November 22nd, 2011 with Dr. Brownstein in San Francisco.

Part 6: The Cost of Top Surgery
Here I talk about the actual costs of my surgery ($8,560) and other insurance-related issues.

Part 7: Community Insurance
Here, I talk about my funrdaising process and the concept of Community Insurance.  “When things like [top surgery] aren’t covered [by insurance], and when there’s this important milestone that I want to hit in my life, I don’t necessarily have to go it alone. I have this community that I’ve developed and grown close with throughout my life. We all have opportunities to help each other, and right now, I’m allowing myself to ask for help from my community.”

Part 8: A Little Off the Top
The event!  It'll be held on July 30th with Haircuts and Happy Hour from 5pm-8pm, then DJs, raffle prizes and live performances from 8am to 1am.  It'll be at 966 Arapahoe Street in Los Angeles (Korea Town).  To schedule a haircut appointment, email me.

You can also donate online by clicking here or mail a check.  Email me for the address.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Met the Surgeon & Set a Date

Exciting update:

Last week I met with Dr. Brownstein when I was in San Francisco. I liked him and I'm feeling good about having surgery with him. I found out it'll be more expensive than expected, but I think it'll be worth it to go to such an experienced surgeon close to family. The total cost is $8,600 with a $500 scheduling fee due now that goes toward the total.

I've set the date for November 22nd, right before Thanksgiving. Thanks to those who've already donated, I've already got enough to cover the scheduling fee.

Thanks for all the love and generosity!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's this "A Little Off the Top" all about?

You might be wondering what “A Little Off the Top” is all about.  The short answer is it’s a fundraising campaign to help me have Top Surgery this year.  But there’s more to it than the short answer.

First off, I want to thank my friends and family for all the love and support they’ve given me throughout my life and throughout my transition from female to male.  I’m very fortunate to have such an open and caring community around me. 

When people close to me heard that the person they knew as Jessica or Jess was becoming Jay (and then Jackson) some were a bit confused, or sad, or feeling things they couldn’t quite explain.  Some were happy for me. And some had a combination of all of that.  But the thing I know from all the people who really care about me, is that they didn’t stop caring about me when they heard I’m transgender.  They didn’t treat me differently or cast me out.  They embraced me and asked me questions and hopped on board to take the journey with me.  That’s what family is about. That’s what it means to be a real friend. 

This transition hasn’t been simple or easy for me, but it’s been a lot better knowing I’ve got people who love me no matter how my voice sounds or how much I weigh or what I look like.  That’s been a blessing because, believe me, it is pretty awkward taking hormones and going through puberty all over again in your mid-twenties.  But through all the awkward feelings and unfortunate acne and interactions with confused grocery store clerks, I’m becoming the man I want to be.  I’ve finally given myself permission to do the things I most feared all in the name of becoming my full and true self. 

For a long time I was terrified of losing my family and friends, the life I knew, the security of what was familiar, and the privileges of being (somewhat) normal.  It was this fear of being different that kept me from being honest with myself for years.  My first memories of wishing I was a boy start around age 5 and continue on from there.  I wasn’t an unhappy kid because I learned pretty quickly how to tuck away my feelings of wishing I was a boy.  I learned that I wasn’t supposed to think that, so I put those thoughts away.  As many of us learn when we grow older, the thoughts and experiences we tuck away from childhood don’t usually magically disappear.  Such was the case for me, so when those feelings were re-emerging for me as an adult, and I began processing them, I realized they weren’t just old fantasies of a little kid.  This was a core part of me refusing to hide any longer. 

When who you are becomes so big and full of life you can’t escape it, no amount of fear can keep you from it.  The beauty of all of this was that most of the things I feared turned out ok.  And ultimately, I overcame my biggest fear that I would never get to fully be myself.  Here I am, being myself as fully, openly and often as I can. 

The next step for me in my transition is having surgery to remove my breasts and have a flat chest.  Some people call it Top Surgery.  Not every transgender man chooses to have this surgery since all transgender people have their own feelings about their bodies and their transitions and some don’t do it because they can’t afford it.  In my case, it’s an important part of integrating my body with my heart and my mind.  It will make a huge difference in my every day experience of life and will give me a new sense of freedom around my body. 

Much of a transition is mental and emotional, but this is one physical aspect that’s pretty important to me.  This piece is also particularly expensive (up to $8,000) and it’s not covered by most insurance companies, specifically not my insurance company.  So I’m saving money and involving the people I love in what I’m calling “community insurance.”  If the people in my life who care about me can spare some money to donate to my surgery, then it’ll all add up and I’ll be able to have surgery within the year.

So this is the part where I ask for your help.  Some of you reading this website don’t even know me personally, or not too well.  And there are some of you who do I know who haven’t talked openly about this part of me yet, so I hope this will be an opening for us to talk.  Many of you reading this know me quite well.  Whoever you are, you’ve got an opportunity to make a big difference in a big life change for me.  I know it’s a hard time for a lot of people financially, but donating to help me get surgery will be an investment in a lifelong positive impact for me.  And the beauty of doing this as a community is that it’s not on one or two people to fund the whole thing.  If we come together, then smaller amounts will add up.

So if you can donate anything, please do, by clicking here. If you’d rather mail a check, please email me at for details on where to mail it and what name to make it out to. 

Thanks for your love, support, curiosity, acceptance and community!