This interview starts off a little more casual than the others. We Are You first met Jacky at CIP (the College Internship Program) a few weeks before we interviewed him. We led a discussion with the students, and he was one of the participants. When We Are You showed up to do the one-on-one interviews he met me at the door with a hug and a fist bump.
Interviewer: Jenn Harmless, Assistant: Matt Koch
Photographer: Reiner Riantan
So first, do you want to tell me just a little bit about yourself?
Jacky, I’m 24 years old, I’m graduating Ivy Tech in 2 weeks. And I’m transgender.
Congrats on graduating! What are you studying?
And you also, you work at the skate shop, right?
So you answered a little bit of this, but are there any other ways that you self-identify?
Mostly trans, gay, and I’m autistic.
So have you been going to CIP the whole time?
Since 2012. This is my last year.
Yeah, are you more excited about leaving or…?
I’m sad. I’m gonna miss this place. Because I’ve been going to this place since, my Mom and I have been here, been going here since 2008 because my sister was in CIP. So I got to know everyone, even before I came here.
Yeah, so this is like home.
Yeah, yeah. Because my sister came here.
How would you like to be seen by society?
Just a normal, a trans person who just leads a normal life. Nothing bad. Nothing like, “I’m not going to creep on your kids in the bathroom,” that’s been an issue lately. The only thing I’m a threat to is videogame characters.
(Lots of laughing)
Me too. What kind of videogames do you play?
Skate 3, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, Madden 16, and Kingdom Hearts. Those are all the games I have.
I haven’t played Kingdom Hearts in forever!
I have Kingdom Hearts ReMIX on PS3.
Oooh I’ve seen that one, but I don’t have a PS3.
I love my PS3. It’s pretty fun, I love it. I use it to watch Netflix and I use it to watch movies. Because I don’t have cable, so doing Netflix on my PS3 or my laptop is pretty useful.
We have a smart TV at my parents’ house, so I’ll show my Mom how to do Netflix when she comes down for graduation. Because two weeks from today I’m graduating Ivy Tech.
That is so exciting!
And my family and a bunch of CIP people are going to BuffaLouie’s, so we can have lunch before we go. I LOVE BuffaLouie’s!
That sounds good, you’re doing it right!
When my sister graduated we went to Bdubs, and I’m like, “what’s another really good wing place here in town? Oh yeah! BuffaLouie’s.” Bdubs is dank, it’s so good.
So, how do you think you’re seen by society?
Probably just a kid that likes to have fun. And I’m really active in the community. I don’t usually sit in my apartment a lot, I usually hang out. I’m down here (a social room at CIP) a lot.
I’m in my apartment a lot…
I like going to my apartment, if I have a full day then I go up to my apartment after I’ve done everything just to relax. I turn on Netflix and just chill out. And I only have three more days of classes. I have two this week and one next. And the next week my day that I have class is Monday, so I’ll get it all done on Monday. And then I can do whatever I want the rest of the week, up until graduation. I can do whatever I want to do, because I don’t have class.
Have your actions or words ever been misinterpreted by people?
Would you like to talk about that?
Sure. One time I was in high school band and this kid that didn’t like me that much, well we used to be friends when we were little, but I have trouble with processing things. So I’ll look at people for a long time. And he was like “you got a problem?” And I was like “screw off.”
But you guys were friends before that?
Well, in sixth grade he became a real jerk. So we never talked, and then he joined band. And he got the senior plaque, even though it was his first year. I thought that was stupid. He joined when he was a senior. It’s like, “you barely have done anything with this band; you don’t deserve that plaque.”
Yeah, no doubt.
So many kids become jerks in middle school…
What instrument did you play?
Percussion, look what it did to me. (Shows scar on arm.) I snapped a tendon.
Basically what happened was my tendon sheath was completely gone. And it kept hitting my bone, so my bone would move out of its place. So you can tell I have a little pin holding the tendon. It keeps it in place.
So do you still play percussion?
I play drums. I have a drum set, but I can’t play cymbals anymore because that’s what mainly made my tendon tear.
Gotcha. Marching band is rough!
Yeah, I was bullied in marching band so I hated it. I had this band director that did literally nothing to help me. And my Mom saw my old band director from 7th and 8th grade, and he knew how hard my other band director was, and how mean he was, and he said “I hope he didn’t kill his love for music.” I loved band in 7th and 8th grade, I hated it in high school.
Yeah. Well I’m glad you’re still playing drums now.
Yeah, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to still play guitar, because I thought after surgery I wouldn’t be able to. Right after surgery I had guitar lessons and it hurt my wrist, so we had to give it away. We sold my guitars and my drum set. One of the things I remember about 8th grade was my band teacher hid a drum set in the music storage room for three and a half months before Christmas. My Mom had him help her order the drum set, because he know which one to get, so they hid it in the music storage room. And then I got it during Christmas break and I got it set up and I just loved it.
That’s awesome! Were you surprised?
I was. I was not expecting to get a freaking drum set for Christmas. It was so much fun to play.
Yes! No doubt!
How do you want to improve your community?
I want to help get more adult trans resources, because this town only caters… there’s no safe space for LGBT people here. Like, we have the Backdoor, but there are people that are on the Autism spectrum who are LGBT, and they can’t handle the noise. I usually can’t go in there. I don’t really go there at all, I only go when they have “Drink and Draw” because they don’t have music going. It’s just quiet and I can color. And we have PRISM for the youth, but all we have is the gay bar for the adults. We used to have Rachael’s Café, which was nice. I’m really hoping one day we can, I would want to get just a building to have a safe space for trans people.
Yeah, that would be really cool. A place that’s quiet…
It’s sensory sensitive, you know what I mean.
Yeah. So how do you feel about the future?
Because you’re graduating?
Yeah, I have no idea what I’m doing next. I’m hopeful. I’m excited, because I’ll get to hang out with my Mom a whole month after I’m done. Because I won’t have to come back for school.
So one more question, based on what we’ve talked about, if you had one message you could share with the world, what would that be?