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.

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