'The Lovers & Fighters of America' is a weekly column here at Ravishly featuring behind-the-scenes stories of inspirational people taking a stance against hate.
This week, we’re featuring Jaxon — a 26-year-old, Criminal Justice graduate from Massachusetts. Jaxon’s is a story of self-discovery and strength, a bright light at a time when the oppressive stance of the far-right looms — like an ominous dark cloud — over the trans community.
The implications of bills like HB2 (the "Bathroom Bill”) and the recent reinterpretation of Title IX have heightened concerns and fears over the rights and well-being of trans people in the U.S. But despite the darkness, beautiful, empowering, life-changing moments are happening every day. These milestones, grounded in authenticity and truth, deserve to be brought to the forefront.
After all, for a trans person it takes bravery and strength to be true to who you are.
For Jaxon, this past year has been one of his best yet. A year ago, he began transitioning from female to male. The timing for his transition coincided with Trump’s election campaign and, later, his presidential win.
And, though the reality of Trump’s America weighs heavily, Jaxon can’t help but feel rightfully proud of his personal triumphs. He said: “As much as this election has gotten me down, as much as recent events terrify me, this past year is when I started living life to its fullest.”
Jaxon recognized that he was transgender late into his teen years when he got to know a trans man. He explained: “When I was young, I didn't know what transgender was. I didn't know that there was any other way than who you were born as. It wasn't until I was 18 and met a trans man that I realized it was possible to identify as something other than the identity you were born into. I slowly realized that what my friend felt was what I felt.”
“I got to vote in my first presidential election, and it was as Jaxon, not some name that didn't fit me. Depression and anxiety, something I struggled with since realizing I'm trans, are almost nonexistent.”
Though Jaxon was certain of his identity, he didn’t feel ready to face it. So, he focused on his studies and pushed his transition further into the future, after graduation. He explained: “I wasn't ready to transition. I had had a rough childhood. For a good amount of my adolescence, I had the emotional and social capacity of someone much younger. By the time I was 18 and 19, I had just finished 'repairing' myself. I didn't want to be different. I didn't want to be a 'freak.' So I hid it for a few years until I realized that I had to be who I was.”
And becoming his true self is what Jaxon set out to do, making this past year an empowering and productive one. He has been taking inward and outward steps towards living life as his authentic self. He shared some of his recent accomplishments with us: “I got to vote in my first presidential election, and it was as Jaxon, not some name that didn't fit me. Depression and anxiety, something I struggled with since realizing I'm trans, are almost nonexistent.”
He has been going to therapy sessions and now presents as his authentic self at work. He legally changed his name and had the gender marker corrected on his driver’s license. He started testosterone and, in a few months, he plans to undergo top surgery and to officially change his birth certificate.
Jaxon is moving forward and staying positive and true to his personal journey. His self-love and bravery are admirable, and we at Ravishly are grateful that he’s shared some advice for our transgender readers who have not yet “come out.”
Jaxon’s Top 3 Pieces of Advice:
- My first piece of advice is that there is no right or wrong way to be trans. There will be a lot of people who will come to you and say, "Well, I don't think you're trans because of this:_______." And at the end of the day, the person who will know you the best is yourself. As long as you're happy and you're authentic, that is the best thing you can be. It doesn't matter if you decide to come out or don't, if you decide to transition or don't. What matters is knowing yourself and being content with that knowledge.
- I think the second thing, and the most important thing to remember is to be patient. Especially with young kids transitioning these days, there's a rush to get ahead, to transition, to do everything at once. Sometimes I wonder if I should have transitioned when I was younger. I wonder if I missed something by transitioning later, but I also transitioned at a time where I knew I could handle it, emotionally. I think that's something that isn't discussed as much. Transitioning can take a huge mental toll. There are bad days and there are good days, and you need to be ready to keep pushing through even when it gets bad.
- The last thing is, like I mentioned, life is a mixed bag. There are going to be bad days. Some of these are going to be really bad. Some of these are going to make you think you can't do it anymore. But there are also really good days. Life isn't always easy and transitioning less so. Especially when you're young, you're making a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life. Just remember that you need to get through the bad to get to the good.
By sharing a glimpse into his own transition, Jaxon hopes to be a voice of positivity for younger trans people, who may be feeling uncertain and scared right now. And we at Ravishly feel honored to share some of Jaxon’s story and inspiring words!
Thanks for your bravery, Jaxon! Your story will give hope and light to others.
Information for parents of transgender kids can be found at Lambda Legal.
Trans readers who'd like to get in touch with Jaxon, can do so via Shannon Day.
If you know an inspirational Lover & Fighter whom you’d like to see featured on Ravishly, send a message to Shannon Day, via Facebook.
Lovers & Fighters say "hell no" to racism, sexism, bigotry, and xenophobia. These men, women, and children are saying "heck yes" to equality, human decency, and love. From bold acts of advocacy to simple moments of goodness, these everyday people remind us of what it truly means to be American.
These lovers and fighters are resistant in the face of intolerance. They are bold in the presence of judgment. They are determined to join forces (or to stand proudly alone) to ensure their message is heard: #LoveTrumpsHate