Love it or hate it, February is the month of love. The flowers, chocolates, and mushy stuff can be nice when shared with someone special, but what Valentine’s Day really has to offer is the opportunity to reflect on relationships. It’s about more than just romantic love. It’s about love of family, love of friends, and love of self. It’s about grappling to understand that one-of-a-kind emotion, exploring the ways it influences our lives, feeding it, and reaping its blessings.
By single and partnered people alike, Valentine’s Day can be tough. It’s certainly not without demands and expectations. Getting through the month of love can be a challenge. I won’t deny that. I say let’s take Valentine’s Day as a challenge to love deeper.
Christian Jackson is a writer, poet, and youth advocate based in Cincinnati, OH – and she’s one of the True Colors Fund’s 2016 40 of the Forty honorees. Her blog, The Cis Jungle, chronicles Christian’s life and experiences as a transgender woman of color navigating a world built for cisgender (or non-transgender) identities. Christian’s been talking about love on her blog for a while now. So we asked her to share her thoughts on Valentine’s Day and the month of love:
Christian has been involved with the work of Safe & Supported, the plan to address LGBTQ youth homelessness in Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The local efforts, led by a coalition of community leaders including Lighthouse Youth Services, is a part of the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative, a federal program of which the True Colors Fund is a partner. We asked Christian to tell us a bit more about her role:
In June of 2014, I joined the Lighthouse Advisory Council which was one of my first contact points with Lighthouse. Six months later, I was asked to join the Safe & Supported schools and community spaces sub-committee. Since 2014, I have participated in various partnerships with Lighthouse, including various panels at conferences, attending steering committee meetings and speaking at the 2015 Annual Beacon of Lighthouse Donors Gala. Lighthouse has always been an invaluable resource for me, but I really wanted a platform I felt completely in control of – where I could tell my story in the way I wanted and did not have to wait for the opportunities to arise. So I created The Cis Jungle in March of 2015 to tell the story of my life and the reality of many transgender people. The blog served as a relatable source for other transgender people and insight for people of cisgender identities. Every step of the way, Lighthouse and specifically Safe & Supported have been extremely supportive in promoting and endorsing The Cis Jungle.