Transgender Awareness Week 2015(Nov.14th-20th)+Interview With Jack Jackson

To mark Transgender Awareness Week 2015 (Nov.14 – 20), Jack Jackson of “Alljackedup” has 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.

Available for a limited time, 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.

“These names are some of mine, but others may have different personal heroes,” says Jackson, who founded Alljackedup for the queer, androgynous and transmasculine fashion conscious in 2014. “The important thing is that we start a conversation.”

According to research by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 41 per cent of trans people living in the U.S. have attempted or considered suicide, compared to 1.6 per cent of the general population.

“It’s not that trans people hate themselves. It’s that society makes it so difficult,” Jackson says. “The Ties to Love campaign is my way of encouraging people to wear a symbol showing their support and solidarity.”

Fifty per cent of the proceeds from the sale of the bow tie and all other Alljackedup products purchased during Transgender Awareness Week will go to Supporting Our Youth (SOY), a Toronto-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and intersex youth.

For those whose personal style doesn’t include bow ties, Alljackedup offers a tie shaped lapel pin so everyone can take part.

The following highlights some parts of the short interview with Jack.

Q-You chose Ties as a symbol or was that intentional or a coincidence for your campaign? Symbolic for “Tying and binding ” to bring awareness to the Cause?
A-It was coincidental that ties were used. Friends and I had conversation and we decided on using bow ties for the campaign.

Q-Caitlin Jenner and Rupaul are high profile people in the media and spotlight, how is their spotlight supporting the cause and making the understanding better in the non-comformist lifestyle?
A-First of all it’s not a lifestyle! Sometimes people can’t help themselves in their decision to be as a transgender. With Jenner there has been a massive awareness of the stigma attached in the areas of employment, poverty, discrimination, barriers,bullying and ignorance of the Transgender Community.

Q-With public figures who influence the world such as Malcolm X, Rosa Park, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Gloria Steinem. Who has influenced you?The bow ties have some traditional and some edge in the style. Who has influenced you in the world of style and fashion?

A-It wasn’t really a fashion designer or designers. It was more of the culture and the surroundings. Toronto is a great city and I was influenced by it and what is in Toronto and my surroundings. Such as Queen St scene, the people and everything around me.

Q-What do you want to get out of this campaign?Also the SOY program?
A-Awareness and attention towards bullying to be addressed. When I came to Canada four years ago I felt that there was some bullying. I would like the youth to be able to do the regular things without feeling uncomfortable out in the general public. So the SOY program is for the youth and is dedicated to improving the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and intersex youth.

Q-What do you want to say to people and how they can make a difference?
A-Be understanding, tolerant and accepting. We live in Toronto and it’s a great city. I hope this campaign takes ignorance, misunderstanding and fear away from the general public. My hope is that some of my symbols such as the Maple Leaf, the Toronto influence, and the use of the Graffiti style will catch the eye of people and that will assist in having the negative stereotyped thinking will lessen.

To keep the conversation going, Jackson encourages transgender people and allies alike to post a photos of themselves wearing their own bow ties during Transgender Awareness Week with the hashtag #TiesToLove.

About Ties to Love™

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 aims to raise awareness of trans issues and to give back to queer and trans youth while encouraging community ties. The campaign runs regular competitions via the Facebook group, offering prizes donated by Alljackedup Inc., Toronto, and other community supporters. #TiesToLove

About Supporting Our Youth (SOY)

 SOY is a community development program designed to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender youth in Toronto, Canada. SOY creates healthy arts, culture and recreational spaces for young people; provides supportive housing and employment opportunities; and increases youth access to adult mentoring and support.

 Website: alljackedup.caTwitter: @alljackedupTO