2016 Grant Recipient Bayne

I wish I could say I always knew I was a boy or at least point to a moment of epiphany when it all made sense, but it wasn't like that for me. I just always knew I was "wrong" in some very deep but inconceivable way. I started down a path of slow self-destruction around age 10. I cut, burned, starved, refused to speak, punched walls, pushed people away, drank, etc. I finally sorted it out in my mid to late 20s. That was over a decade ago. Being … [Read more...]

2016 Grant Recipient Katrina Dawn Stewart

Since 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 … [Read more...]

2016 Grant Recipient Jonni Caldwell

My name is Jonni Caldwell, I'm 23 years old and I live in Seattle Washington. Since my earliest memory I have always known that I was different. At pre-school age I can recall asking my mom to wear her night gowns and high heels. Not wanting to upset my dad we would always wait until he left for work. Growing up my best friend was also my neighbor, her name was Emily, I would spend most of my days at her house playing dolls, dress up and my … [Read more...]

2015 Grant Recipient Alexandria Fresh

My first step in self acknowledgement was in 8th grade when I came out to my mother, telling her that I was attracted to men but did not like being called gay. My attraction was like any other girl my age. Later on, I met my first transwoman at the age of 14. She was a pageant girl from Atlanta, and she was absolutely beautiful. I was fascinated with how she became who she was, and the more she and I developed a relationship, the more I knew that … [Read more...]

2015 Grant Recipient Alexander

At 34 years old, I have lived a few lifetimes of pain and what seems to be bad luck. To the point where I just begin laughing about it, it was like a routine. It took me years to finally realize that by surviving, I had become a stronger person with enough compassion to want to make a difference in the lives of others. When I got the call about being one of the grantees of the Jim Collins Foundation, it seemed unreal. So few dreams come true … [Read more...]

2015 Grant Recipient Rose Groeschel

At first, I didn't think there was anything wrong me. I knew I was a girl, until my preschool teacher told me I couldn't play with the kitchen set at playtime. I cried and told her, "I have the same one at home. Why can't I play with this one?" Her answer was the beginning of a journey down a dark lonely road. "It's for girls," she said, "You're not a girl, you're a boy. Boys play with boys' toys; go play with the Lincoln Logs or trucks!" From … [Read more...]

2014 JCF Grantee PoetHeather

As a 45-year-old, married, disabled veteran who is unable to work, I thought I had perhaps gone as far as I could in my transition until I won the lotto or managed to sell a book or something. I did what I could, helping with the Transgender American Veterans Association, as well as my local support group. I also went to a few conferences and talked about writing as well as TAVA. I tried to get involved. When my health started declining I … [Read more...]

2014 Jim Collins Grantee Cassie LeGrave

Every day prior to my surgery was like a living nightmare.  Most of my earliest memories include asking my mother when I was going to be 'fixed' so I would be like the other girls.  She would always reply in the same way, "You're not a girl."  I couldn't have the things I really wanted, I could never wear the things I wanted to wear, and I thought I was never going to be the person I knew I was inside. As I got older, I went into acting and … [Read more...]