We are a family at BodyZone Apparel. We believe that everyone should feel loved, seen, heard, and most importantly - feel empowered. We're so lucky that our family offers a safe space for people to be who they truly are. However, not everyone in the U.S. has the same perspective. We've got a long way to go and a lot more love to share.
Transgender Awareness week just passed. It is a week that is annually observed as a time to educate and shed light on what it means to be a transgender person, the challenges they face, and to remember all of those who lost their lives from anti-transgender violence.
According to the Human Right's Campaign , in 2021 "at least 47 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. We say at least because too often these stories go unreported — or misreported. In previous years, the majority of these people were Black and Latinx transgender women."
AT LEAST 47 people. That is a record high number of people who died because they were true to themselves. It's unimaginable and unacceptable. We need to do better.
Being true to yourself is one of the highest forms of self love. That is something we fully stand for.
Here at BodyZone we are proud to celebrate the transgender community. So now we want to highlight someone from the community who we know and love.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as a trans person?
My trans journey has been a whirlwind to say the least starting from when I was 14 and diving into this new world step-by-step. Considering every trans journey is different, I will not dive into the technical step but rather highly the part of my journey that is most valuable to me. The majority of my life has been ridden with a hunger to understand myself and the world around me better. However when I was growing into my best trans self there was not a lot of resources so I found myself in a lot of self doubt as I paved my way, but thats what helped me develop a different type of strength. Being trans, for me, was not something I found myself identifying as until recently. My thought process was "I am a woman" and thats what it is. For a long time I lived stealth, submitting to the constructs that are a man-made womanhood; to be frank that box was dark. The real transition for me was owning my trans-ness and living my truth. While I am not the "loud and proud" person I no longer feel shame in walking with my head held high recognizing that there is so much power in being trans. Being trans has taught me more about myself, the people around me, the world we live in than I could have ever learned if I had not stepped into my authenticity. Most people will never know their true selves, because they live in fear in meeting themselves that deeply...but my journey, being trans, is monumental.
What are the top three things you want people to educate themselves on when it comes to transgender awareness?
First and foremost I feel there needs to be most education focused on trans youth. Education and acceptance starts at the home and I feel if people had valuable resources and tools we could prevent lots of trans youth from being displaced and ending up a statistic. The trans community as a whole, has one of the highest death rates/percentages, be it by murder, suicide, or homelessness, within a marginalized group. A lot of these numbers starting with the youth. Secondly, I feel like when it comes to trans awareness there needs to be a basic understanding of gender and that it does not fit into a box. As we grow as a society there is far more self expression and fluidity within the construct that is gender. Lastly, I feel like there absolutely needs to be more discourse on transmen. While transwomen seem to be a consistent hot topic, I do feel education on transmen gets lost in the mix. This is something that needs to be addressed on an intracommunal level just as much as on a societal level.
Any special words you'd like to say on behalf of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence?
..the hard part is I am at a loss for words when thinking about this. I am absolutely flabbergasted that people could be so hateful and derogatory towards any human that results in a lives lost. However in 2021, trans related deaths are at an all time high. So on behalf of the lost trans angels I would like to say... It is extremely disheartening, terrifying, and infuriating that lives have been lost at the hand of society's fragility, closed mindedness, prejudice, and repugnance for the trans community. However while these lives are lost - they are not forgotten. These wonderful souls will always be remembered as a representation of authenticity which is the highest form of self love, for being warriors going against the grain and against all odds, and ultimately for being free in a world where people could not even fathom feeling and being exactly that: human. I know in my heart that the lost lives of of my fellow trans angels have found peace, acceptance, and love after being in a world so cold. One day in the far future I hope to join them, on the ultimate dance floor of liberation. Until then I will continue to survive for them, advocate on behalf of them, and educate in remembrance of them.
How can people be better/ reliable allies? Any specific organizations you'd like to direct people toward?
Allies in a lot of ways are the bridge we need in order to unify and merry our community with the greater collective. While we do not need anyone to stand for us, we need allies to stand just as strong with us. People can be better allies by educating themselves, others, and actually staying true to their alliance with the community. By educating themselves allies can minimize ignorance and understand general trans boundaries such as not misgendering, for example, or knowing its disrespectful to ask intrusive questions. An ally's journey can vary however there are websites that can provide resourceful tools for anyone wishing to broaden their knowledge bank such as: www.glaad.org or www.straightforequality.org.
You can find Jade on instagram @JADEXNATHALIA
Phoenix locals! One of our favorite LGBTQIA+ organizations that supports our transgender community is One N Ten. We have partnered with this amazing organization in the past. They continue to offer incredible services for our transgender youth like binding safety classes, gender- affirming clothing (at no cost), and educational classes for parents and gaudiness wanting to better support their child.
We love you all.