BI4J Heads West!

BodyImage4Justice is pleased to announce that we are expanding into western Massachusetts! Please join us for dinner and an introductory meeting, where we will brainstorm ideas for local programming and discuss how BI4J can best serve members of the trans community west of Boston and Worcester. We believe that trans communities everywhere deserve the resources and support that they need to stay as healthy as possible, and we especially want to help people who live in areas that lack such resources. Please help us do this work by coming out to meet us and let us know your needs, ideas, and dreams for the kind of community health support you’d like to see!

Date/Time: Tuesday, April 8th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Location: South Congregational Church, 45 Maple Street, Springfield, MA

This event is free, and dinner will be provided. If you live in western MA and are on the transfeminine or transmasculine spectrum, or are outside/beyond the gender binary, you are invited to attend. We look forward to meeting you and sharing food for the body and the mind together!

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Transfeminine Show and Tell a Big Success!

Our organizers, facilitator, and participants at the Transfeminine Show and Tell program

Our organizers, facilitator, and participants at the Transfeminine Show and Tell program

On Saturday, March 22nd, BodyImage4Justice held its first Transfeminine Show and Tell event at Fenway Health. Our wonderful facilitator, Ms. Kim Watson of CKLife in New York City, presented an engaging and informative session. Ms. Kim was joined by Daisey Lopez from Queens and nearly 20 participants. There was a powerful feeling of community in this gathering of trans women that was truly inspiring. We thank Ms. Kim for sharing her empowering and affirming messages, experience, and information with us, and we look forward to having her return to Boston for a future event!

We also thank CKLife, the LifeSkills program at the Fenway Institute, and the Fenway Trans Health Program for partnering with us to make this event possible.

Daisey Lopez and Ms. Kim with a new friend

Daisey Lopez and Mrs. Kim with a new friend.

Ms. Kim and Daisey say goodbye to Boston

Ms. Kim and Daisey say goodbye to Boston… (Photo courtesy of Daisey Lopez)

Love Ourselves, Love Our Bodies: Noori Jerrard

Today’s reflection comes to us from Noori Jerrard.

From a tender age, I knew that I was a boy. I was just as tough, fast and strong as the other boys but for some reason they insisted on calling me a “tomboy” and/or “she”.

I absolutely abhorred their blatant confusion. In my mind I was just developing slower and EVERY night I would pray that I would wake up from some figurative cocoon as the me I intrinsically saw.

Well that never happened.
What did happen was modeling, where my feminine beauty was to be celebrated and athletics, where I felt somewhat duped for having to compete with girls.

During this time my body image was hit like a ton of bricks! I felt lost, scared, angry and it almost felt like some wicked cosmic trick was being played on me and me alone.

Leave it to the Universe to know, because my parents began noticing this “disconnect” too and allowed me to express myself exactly the way I wanted to. They fostered both the feminine and masculine energies in me. I sincerely believe this gave me the courage to grow into and discover who I was and what I was truly about.

When I first decided to begin transitioning, I wanted to just disappear and not let anyone in. I wanted to erase who I was believing that who I was would never be part of who I was becoming.

Something in me told me that wasn’t how it should be and I’m glad my inner voice prevailed because unbeknownst to me, my transition has been a vessel to strengthen others!

Now, here I stand as a transman, who decided to not only shape my body, mind and spirit the way I saw fit, but as a personal trainer, helping others do the very same with their lives. This has led me to creating Triumphant Transition Fitness, my fitness, health and wellness brand. It is my goal to empower others to manifest their dreams and never give up until they do.

To add even more to the equation, I have a plethora of sublime souls as a support system who, like me, are striving to create a space in which we can live free from the misconceptions that come both from the outside world and inside our hearts.

There are still times when I struggle with my body image. I struggle with not being able to do certain things that other men can do, not looking the way I feel I should look, etc.

However, I have learned over the years to be gentle with myself, to love myself more and remind myself that my journey was chosen just for me.

Peace and Blessings
Noori Jerrard
a.k.a
The Chief

Shop to Support TAP

Does your wardrobe need a bit of freshening up for the warmer weather ahead? Here’s an opportunity to get some new Spring apparel and support a wonderful organization at the same time! Artwear on Mass. Ave. in Arlington, MA will give 40% of what you spend to the Livingston Pangburn Transgender Access Partnership (TAP) when you shop there, so that ALL transgender young people can have good access to the services and support that they need. Bring your friends along, and head over to Artwear on March 26th!

TAP is a Greater Boston PFLAG initiative that was created in memory of Livingston Pangburn, a transgender Hampshire College student who was killed in a bicycle accident in 2013. TAP seeks to both increase services available and reach out to underserved, disenfranchised transgender youth and their families.

Love Ourselves, Love Our Bodies: Jennifer Gann

Today’s reflection on body image comes to us from Jennifer Gann, a trans woman, activist, and prisoner in California. Jennifer’s story comes to us thanks to outreach by Black & Pink, “an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and ‘free world’ allies who support each other.” For more information about Black & Pink, please visit their Web site.


My name is Jennifer, I’m a 44 year old pre-op MTF transexual on a regimen of hormone therapy, and I’ve been incarcerated in California state prison for nearly 25 years.

My body image issues started from the day I was born: October 6th, 1969. I was medically sex-assigned as a biological male gender “boy”, but from early childhood through my teenage years and into adulthood, I have instinctively always leaned toward the feminine gender. I was the middle child between two sisters, and raised by a loving mother and an abusive step-father. I’ve always identified with and gravitated toward cisgender females–the “fairer sex”.

As a small framed, feminine-looking kid, I never quite fit in with the other boys. I was “different”, insecure, introverted, and seemed to have a lot of behavioral problems. In the 1980’s southern California punk rock counter-culture, I rebelled against authority, patriarchy and social norms. I wore make up and outrageous clothes, and cut my hair into a mohawk.

My sexuality also developed from a strong preference for women toward bisexuality. This is when body image really began to affect my mental health and well-being. I wanted badly to be a girl–to be beautiful, pretty and sexually desirable. I became severely depressed, suicidal, and began prostituting, that is, having unprotected sex with random men on the streets of L.A. I even took birth control pills!

For the last several years, I have been fully transitioned to the female gender identity, including my appearance, secondary sex characteristics (breast development), name, fashion, styles, etc. For all intents and purposes, I am a woman! I love myself, and love my body a lot more than I did, but I still have body image issues. “My boobs aren’t big enough!”, “I’m too fat!”, “I need a sex-change operation!”…

I love being a woman more than anything. I’ve become a dedicated trans woman prisoner activist, blogger, aspiring artist/poet and Siddha Yoga student. I can identify across racial identities, am more self confident, and more compassionate and connected to people.

You can view my blog and post comments at http://betweenthebars.org/blogs/490/

I hope this contribution is helpful to your campaign to promote discussion of body image and its connection to health and social justice issues. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Gann
members@blackandpink.org