2016 Grant Recipient Katrina Dawn Stewart

NOINewYork2013Since I transitioned in 2001, I have given back to the GLBT community at the local, state, and national level through leadership, advocacy and education. This work was in response to my own need to build the safety nets of support I needed as I began living authentically. That work developed into a passion to both make the road of transition easier socially for others and to break through to create understanding in the communities I touched so as to be the change I wanted to see in the world.

While at times frustrating and challenging, this has given me joy and has satisfied my heart. At 44, I have seen my body blossom into the woman I know I am. I am quite pleased with the effects of hormones, own myself as a woman, and am quite healthy in those regards. However, I do still struggle with the fact that I have not had lower surgery. I have worked hard in saving what little I have to set aside for going those final steps towards feeling physically complete. This has been a long journey towards physical completion, and there are times I get discouraged that there is little light, because the dark tunnel has seemed so very long.

This grant from the Jim Collins foundation does so much for me. It helps me see the end of that tunnel and the fruition of my struggles. But it goes further than that. There is that idea that you are currently where you should be. This is sometimes an uncomfortable truth as we see others in our lives go elsewhere and report back of their great successes – it sometimes causes dissonance as we know what we are doing locally is important and vital, but we want greener pastures.

We don’t give enough importance to where we are, what we are doing, how we are making an impact with every breath. We become blinded by looking so much elsewhere that we don’t see the fertile opportunity where we are.

This is where help from the Jim Collins Foundation helps. By lifting me up they help me to see the possibilities of what can still be done. By helping me become whole, they allow me to re-dedicate my energies to change where I am, where change is most needed.

Thank you to the Jim Collins Foundation for bringing me solace so as to help me do more.