“I began to identify as trans last year. I’m still not super public [in asserting my trans identification], but that was when I began simultaneously calling myself trans and an artist. I’m still struggling with the turmoil of my gender.
I minored in LGBT studies and I’m a feminist. I was terrified for so long to call myself trans because I didn’t want to be an affront to women. I didn’t want to pollute feminism. I’m never mistaken as a woman, so I feel like I didn’t have the right to call myself trans.
A lot of my sexuality lies in seeing myself as a woman and I experience gender dysphoria really acutely in that realm. I often picture myself as the misogynistic image of an “ideal” woman. For me it’s about being treated like a sissy. It’s strange for me to be so wholeheartedly against sexism and be such a proud feminist, and still be exploring my sexuality and gender in this way- because for me, it can be very misogynistic and masochistic.
I’m not transsexual in the way that I’ve had any sort of ‘intervention’. I may start taking a testosterone blocker in a few weeks- but I honestly don’t know. I have the most body dysphoria with my chest hair and my neck hair and when I’m in the mental space where I want to be sissified, I have a strong feeling for breasts; it’s almost like a phantom feeling. I’m really hesitant to take hormones. I’ve heard the testosterone blocker could help with my hair growth, but I want to see how I feel first. I know people who have started with blockers and they experience a calmness and that’s how you would know to proceed. I know I have to do it slowly; I want to explore many options before moving forward.
[since this interview, Jo has begun taking Spironolactone, which has antiandrogen and weak progestogen properties]
When I say I’m trans, it’s important to know I’m not saying I’m speaking from an experience as a woman. I’m really invested in the space within ‘trans’- where you are neither male nor female, not needing to present something to the public, not making it simple. I don’t feel like I need to represent a certain gender with my clothing- I actually feel most trans when I’m nude.
A few years ago I would say I was brimming with queer rage. Everything was terrible, I felt so angry and wanted to destroy everything, I wanted to kill myself. Then I said to myself, I need some love. So, I started researching gay identity and there were tones of love and communion there. I got a lot of healing through that. My queer rage isn’t as prominent now and I work through it with my art. For me, being trans is intertwined with art and spirituality. I’m hoping something will click soon. I’m 23. I just want to be in my early thirties and feel settled somehow.”