*photo from www.alljackedup.com
When we started this series about misconceptions, our mission was to give many different people from all walks of life a platform to talk, vent and share their experiences and points of views. There’ so much writing out there from the general heterosexual, cisgendered perspective but we’re looking to change that. That’s why I’m so excited that Jack Jackson from Alljackedup took the time to chat with us to share their perspective on love, from a transgender perspective.
Jack identifies as gender non-binary and uses the pronoun ‘they’. Originally from Guernsey (the small island in the English Channel), they relocated to Toronto in 2011, quickly immersing themselves in the transgender community. Jack’s love of fashion and freedom of expression truly shone once they came to our fair city, where they tossed the shackles of heteronormative binary dress codes for a style that truly expressed who they are. There was only one problem; most of the clothing out there is made for cisgender men. Turning a problem into a challenge, Jack bought a sewing machine, and according to their bio “started a passionate love affair with fashion, on Jack’s terms.” That was the birth of their company Alljackedup, an accessories line for gender nonconformist individuals (and their pets!) As well, Jack also started the #TiestoLove (formerly Bow tie Fridays) campaign. From their website:”The Ties to Love™ Campaign (formally Bowtie Fridays) is an international movement of solidarity, love and support for the gender non-conforming and trans community. It’s aim is to raise awareness around trans issues and to give back to queer and trans youth all whilst creating community ties.” #TiestoLove has been a resounding success, receiving accolades from Pride Toronto and collaborating with amazing role models in the transgender community. To mark Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015 (Nov.20), Jack designed a special, one-off commemorative bow tie celebrating the achievements of activists, pioneers and heroes of the transgender, gender variant and gender non-conforming communities. The bow tie features the names of current transgender role models like actress Laverne Cox, adult film producer and performer Buck Angel, musicians Rae Spoon and Lucas Silveira and model Andreja Pejic, along with historic pioneers such as activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.
Through Jack’s work, transgender individuals of all ages and backgrounds have found not only fashion choices, but support and a safe space for expression of their true selves.
Take a read below and enjoy the awesome that is Jack Jackson.
What would you say has been the biggest misconception you have faced, as a transgender person, in general?
Living in such a progressive city as Toronto, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to get on with my life without encountering much discrimination or misconceptions. The issues I face are similar to those I’ve experienced throughout my life – I just don’t fit into society’s gender binary, and nor do I want to. Having a somewhat androgynous / masculine appearance and gender expression, people don’t always know what gender I am, which can cause some awkwardness. Misconceptions are not the real concern for me. Navigating washrooms, changing rooms, filling out forms and using ID are more problematic. Before moving to Toronto, I had been living in a very small and somewhat conservative island and I would say that the healthcare system was where I faced the most ignorance.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about transgender individuals when it comes to romance and sexuality?
People simply don’t understand that gender and sexuality are completely separate and distinct parts of our overall identities. This kind of education needs to start in schools, and indeed, certainly within Toronto, this was recently introduced a few months ago.
What are some of the strangest assumptions people have made about you when it comes to romance?
I’ve simply not had any issues. There may be an assumption that if people transition or move towards a more authentic gender for themselves, or alter their bodies to become comfortable in them, they won’t find love or a partner. This is a non-issue for me, but I am fully aware that as a trans masculine white, able-bodied person I face far less discrimination and barriers than others – particularly trans women of colour.
Have you personally encountered any challenges in your dating life, that may relate back to your transition?
The only issue I had was with my ex wife’s family, and to some extent my ex wife. She was the first person I met whilst taking hormone therapy and with hindsight, I had some fear around being rejected because of that. Three years of living in Toronto however has completely empowered me and ultimately I’m relieved to be away from what was ultimately a very conservative and religious family. I’m proud of who I am today and the changes I’ve made in my life since moving to Toronto. My current girlfriend and her family and friends have been completely welcoming – gender simply isn’t an issue with my circle of friends and networks, and I will never allow it to become so again.
If you could give one piece of romantic advice to other transgender people out there, what would it be?
Please don’t put yourself in any situation or surround yourself with people who do not fully accept, support and have your best interests at heart. You are beautiful.