Love Ourselves, Love Our Bodies: Drake Jones

Today’s reflection on body image and self-care comes to us from Drake Jones.


hello, and may my words find you safe and well! my name is drake, and i’m a biracial, genderqueer trans person in my mid-twenties. i work to support prisoners, and to expand trans* folks’ access to gender affirming health care and legal support. to stay involved in these struggles, i’m learning to take better care of my body and mind.

i’ve learned to seek out opportunities to delight my senses: e.g., stretching, massage, hugs, warm baths, scented candles and oils, tasty foods, soft blankets, good music, riding my bike or tossing a frisbee. activities like this help me feel connected to my body, and remind me that we all deserve to feel good.

i’ve also focused on body image. after my transition, i felt ashamed because society doesn’t seem to value trans* bodies. through reading and discussing other trans folks’ ideas about resisting cis normativity, i started working through that shame. i have a unique body, and nowadays i love that! i like being a hairy person with curvy hips, smile lines, plenty of scars, (often) painted nails and a lovely tattoo. while internalized transphobia still impacts me, day-to-day i keep growing more comfortable with, and excited about, how my body looks.

my next challenge to accept my unique mind. recently, the lack of resources for those who (like myself) struggle with madness (mental health) has caused a lot of stress and instability in my life. i remind myself i am not alone. i find much more strength, resilience, healing, and encouragement when i reach out within my communities to ask for help and support. i think reaching out is key to building a sustainable movement for trans* liberation.

Transmasculine Show and Tell at Fenway Health

BodyImage4Justice and Fenway Health are collaborating to present a two-hour workshop exclusively for people on the transmasculine spectrum. This will be an accountable, non-competitive space where you can share your body challenges and experiences as a transmasculine person, and receive information and resources in a supportive, confidential environment.

Date: Saturday, February 1, 2014
Time: 10:00 am – Noon
Location: Fenway Health, 9th Floor, Meeting Room 1

We wish to thank and acknowledge all of our wonderful partners for this event: The Fenway Instutite, The Fenway Trans Health Program, CKLife, and LifeSkills for Men. Thanks to their support, this will be an event full of useful information and resources for those on the transmasculine spectrum.

Please RSVP at the Facebook Event page or contact us via e-mail at embodyingjustice@gmail.com to reserve your seat, as there is limited space at this event.

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Love Ourselves, Love Our Bodies: Fallon Fox

We are pleased and honored to present today’s reflection on body image and the impact of gender role models by professional martial artist and trans athlete Fallon Fox.


My name is Fallon Fox. I am a professional MMA fighter and trans athlete. As a fighter I have trained heavily in Jiu Jiutsu, Muay Thai, Wrestling, and Mixed Martial Arts for over five years. I’ve competed and medaled at the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation World Championships, the Pan American Jiu Jitsu Chamionships, have multiple North American Grappling Association gold medal wins, and competed in Amateur and Professional Mixed Martial Arts. All of this was years after my physical transition.

Before I transitioned from male to female, I took very good care of my body. A year of high school wrestling, and 4 years of military service in the U.S. Navy taught me methods to keep in shape and gave me confidence in everyday life. I stayed true to the lessons I learned in sport and institution for years after participated in them.

During and after the process of my physical transition, I stopped working out for a matter of years. The role models in the magazines, movies, and TV screens were always very thin, non-athletic looking females. This model of an ultra feminized–one size fits few–woman affected my psyche negatively. It was not just the more socially accepted body style that I felt that I had to fit into, it was also the ultra feminine persona lacking in toughness or assertiveness. It was at this time that I bought into the idea that a woman must be weak and passive in order to be accepted by society. Feeling that in order to survive and be a “passable” trans woman I needed to align myself as close as possible to this model in order to not be “found out” and survive.

But I struggled with this dilemma for a while. For one, I desired to get in shape as years of being lethargic were beginning to add unwanted fat to my body, and I feared the ever looming prospect of becoming overweight. Running was an OK thing to do.

But I feared picking up weights, and I had no idea what that would do to me. I joined a physical fitness gym and noticed what the women were doing around me. The vast majority of them were using smaller weights and doing cardio to burn fat. Only a few were trying to actually gain muscle. It seemed as though most women were scared of breaking past the typical female role also. However, I missed the inner strength I gained when I wrestled in high school, and trained in the military. I missed the assertiveness, and confidence I once had when I knew that I could take care of myself while alone. Walking alone at night became more of a scary thing post transition. I pondered over and over again why I felt this way. It was not that I wanted to be male again. I loved being female and was quite happy with my new sex! But I was feeling restricted within it.

Fortunately, a physical trainer introduced me to a martial arts gym. It was there I began to see new female role models. There were women hitting punching bags, wrestling, sparring each other in boxing, doing hard core Jiu Jitsu, and lifting heavy weights. There I was, face to face with the opposite female role models I was told that I could be. They took me in and helped train me in Martial Arts, and over the years I became who I am today.

I enjoy the idea of this Bodyimage4justice project, and I plan to bring to others the lessons I have learned. I’d like to share that a woman does not have to lose her femininity to be strong or powerful, that toughness does not equate to masculinity, and share ways to empower and take care of oneself as a woman, man, or anything else one may consider themselves.

A Poem

Pinocchio

Much like Pinocchio
I wanted to feel
Flesh on bone
I wanted to jump up and down
Rejoice in my skin
My longing always
“To be a real boy”
Match skin to skin
My soul to soul
Unbearable
Each lie
In the mirror
I see
Right in front of my nose
The lies grew
And my truth became too distant
“A real boy is all I ask”
My strings were pulled
Controlled by
The dichotomy of my life
And who has say
Then my wish became to be free
From the layers
Defined through circles
Representing years
And how they cut right through me
There were no strings
Each year setting myself free
Yet still
I was not free
I wasn’t entirely me
Putting the puzzle together
Piece by piece
Not wanting to imagine
What I will see when complete
Cuz
What it said on the outside didn’t quite match what’s within
And what do you do with all that
Love…
I still
Longed to be
“A real boy”
Can’t you see
How
Much like Pinocchio
I wanted to feel
Flesh on bone
With no strings
And not a clone

– Justice Roe Williams

Happy 2014 from BodyImage4Justice!

All of us at BodyImage4Justice wish you a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Bonne Année et Bonne Santé!

In our first 5 months, we have accomplished a lot with the help of our friends, partners, sponsors, volunteers, and community. We appreciate your ongoing interest in and support of our programs and events, and we look forward to a fantastic year in 2014! We couldn’t do what we do without you! Stay tuned for some exciting announcements and great events for the transgender community in the coming months…

All the best,

Your Friends at BodyImage4Justice

Happy New Year!

Community-Kinship-Life Surgery Scholarship Information for 2014

Community-Kinship-Life is opening their next round of trans surgery scholarship applications on January 1, 2014! If anyone you know might benefit from this scholarship program, please pass on the information. There has been a change in Scholarship fund deadlines, so check out the CK Life Web site for the most up-to-date information.