Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: Josie_Landry

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Josie, aka @josie_landry is a self-described “unapologetic activist and ally for body positivity, intersectional feminism, LGBTQ rights, & black lives matter.” She has gained a following of over 2,000 in her short time online.

Just last week, marked Josie’s one year anniversary since starting her transition. It’s been a year since she began living her authentic life. “Transitioning was literally a matter of life or death.  I have always known since I was very little that something wasn’t correct.  As this was quite a long time ago and transgender wasn’t really a well-known topic at the time I struggled a lot to figure myself out.  After years of depression, to the point that I was starting to go on disability from work for months at a time, I was at a rapid decline in mental health.  After many long hours of discussion with my wife, we decided that it was time to go forward with it.

When I was trying to identify myself, the majority of information that I was able to find was from other Trans folks who shared their stories; so I wanted to share mine to both help others and also as kind of a visual diary. Starting my transition last year was a momentous step in my life and it was something that I wanted to document. Somehow along the way it became about body positivity, which is interesting seeing as how the whole idea behind transitioning is to completely transform my body. Somehow along the way I learned to love my body and as it is transforming into the correct body I am learning to love it even more.”
As Josie said, Transgender was not a word I had heard often before Laverne Cox or Caitlyn Jenner became "mainstream". I will admit, I was woefully uneducated. So before we go any further I’d like to provide some education for y’all. 
Transgender people are people who have a gender identity, or gender expression, that differs from their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is also an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex, it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (people who are genderqueer, e.g. bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender). 
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID) is the dysphoria (distress) a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. Treatment for a person diagnosed with GID may include psychotherapy or to support the individual's preferred gender through hormone therapy, gender expression and role, or surgery. Though, not all individuals chose to undergo any type of “treatment” or physical change at all.
Being transgender is independent of sexual orientation: transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, etc., or may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable. The term transgender can also be distinguished from intersex, a term that describes people born with physical sex characteristics "that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies." 
Now, back to our bopo babe.

Working at an advertising firm, she noticed stark differences during her transition into her true self. “Some of the biggest changes came from losing my male privilege.  Suddenly I was being talked over in meetings, excluded from various conversations with any of my male colleagues; however, the doors were open to the office sisterhood as well. Shopping for clothing was a bit scary at first, but I live in a very LGBTQ+ diverse city, so a lot of shops were very accommodating.”

The internet can be such a wonderful place to find birds of a feather. Instagram has proven to be an important part of her self love journey. “The sheer number of messages I receive from people telling me how inspiring it is. How they come by my page when they're feeling down. And I've been told how people appreciate how I 'keep it real' as they put it. So yeah, it's incredibly important to me. I try to live my life as authentically as I can and try to promote that in those around me.

Lyndsay Marie @mslyndsaym is who really got me going with everything and gave me guidance. By utilizing the internet I feel you can improve body positivity by being aware of your own appearance. Acknowledging what you feel are flaws and finding a way to appreciate them. I find by cultivating a group of like minded individuals helps as when you start to support others in loving their 'flaws' you start to not see them as such and start to realize that what you thought were flaws in yourself are in fact not flaws at all.”

Josie’s body positivity now that’s she able to be herself she says has sky rocketed. “I was always attractive in my past life so I hid behind vanity to overcome my dysphoria.  Gender dysphoria is brutal and savage, because it’s not so much seeing a few extra pounds that aren’t there, rather an entirely different person that shouldn’t be.  I would try to hyper masculine myself; keep a trimmed beard, very short haircut, always in suits.  It would help for a brief period, but then it would crash again.  Now the dysphoria only surfaces on the rarest of occasions.”

Even though she strives to be a source of positivity, not everyone responds in kind. Self care is always a go to for her – whether it be playing with makeup, mani/pedis, or a nice cup of tea. “It (receiving hateful comments) is painful. Especially when they attack me for being trans. Depending on what they say it can either just be upsetting, make me feel as though my transition is pointless, and other times it can make me incredibly angry. It's always hurtful and at times I rise above it and others I can be reduced to tears. I used to respond to it but now I usually just block the user and delete the comment.

My father in law referred to me as a “thing” and an “it”.  My mother in law is making a halfhearted attempt at support after a long period of disapproval.  My mother wanted to know why I didn’t tell her in my teens so that she could have helped me to transition at that time, however she seems to forget that my father wouldn’t let me get my license until I was 17 because I pierced my ear.  My father to this day mourns the death of his son and refuses to accept me. Sadly, as it happens all too often a parent mourns the loss of one child while forgetting the existence of the other. His daughter though is living a happy and fulfilling life full of love and compassion. One day hopefully he will realize that he has a beautiful daughter.”

She says that anger is an emotion she actively tries to stay away from. “Anger is in my opinion the most pure and raw emotion we have.  And because of that it can lead even the kindest person to actions they would regret.  Keeping an eye on my emotions has been interesting lately as now that I am on estrogen and testosterone blockers my emotions are a lot more complex.  I feel things on a much deeper level now; both good and bad.

I try to stay positive by acknowledging my feelings now.  Before when I would bottle everything up, it would be like a pressure cooker that would eventually explode.  By reinforcing others positive opinions of themselves and helping others to feel good about themselves, that’s how I stay positive.  By building each other up, we in turn build up ourselves. By not letting the surface wrapping be the determining factor of what you think or feel about an individual.  Race, gender, size; none of these should matter in our everyday dealings with one another and the bopo movement can help us get there. I believe that body positivity can change the world.”

Lightning Round
Favorite Happy Song?
  • Currently it is Secrets by Mary Lambert.
What’s a movie that never gets old?
  • Lol the movie adaptation of Stardust or Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
What’s a book you could read repeatedly?
  • Neil Gaiman's Stardust.
Favorite ice cream?
  • Vanilla. You may think that's boring, but with vanilla you can do anything you want with it. Plain or add every other flavour you can think of. I love the versatility of it.
Favorite brick and mortar store?
  • Probably Urban Planet. It's where 90% of my wardrobe comes from.
Favorite online store?
  • Adore Me. They have the cutest lingerie and really good pricing. Not to mention they're clever enough to automatically include matching panties with your bra purchase.
Favorite drink?
  • Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
Do you have any hobbies?

  • I fancy myself a bit of an artist. I'm currently trying to find the time to complete the comic that I have been writing.

Check out the rest of the series HERE.

Until Next Time,
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