We have a chat with Ashley. Jamaican. Transgender woman. Fashionista
Hi Ashley can you tell us a little about yourself?
Here are 5 words that best describe who I am: Brave. Positive. Fashionista. Fun. Loving
How did you identify in your childhood/teenage years and what were some of the challenges you faced with your gender identity throughout your youth?
As a child growing up I always felt like a girl. I was always uncomfortable to do boy stuff but as I grow older I realize I am definitely a girl on the inside. Everything I do is natural. I was born this way.
How has your identity, sexual orientation and gender expression changed or progressed through your adult-life?
Nothing much has changed as it relates to my gender identity and sexual orientation. I am more confident within myself and the decisions I made are truly how I feel in my heart.
What is it like to identify as a transgender woman, living and working in Jamaica? What are some of the challenges you face?
It’s very difficult because contrary to popular belief, trans women are not sex objects and prostitutes. This is not true. The opportunities are very limited. This is my life and I’m 100% responsible for every decision I make so I have to do whatever it takes to survive without selling my body. No judgment to those who choose that path though.
Tell us about your blog and your professional journey? (Check out her blog here)
I’ve always loveeeeeed fashion and dressing up growing up and because I never got to graduate from high school to become an accountant as planned. My love for fashion never dies so I decided to start a fashion blog in late 2011. With me being consistent with my blog it has given me alottt of opportunities some of which I capitalize from. I just want to keep on striving and dream big no matter what challenges or obstacles I may face ahead in life.
Do you have a support network? What are some of the resources that help you navigate life in Jamaica as a transgender woman?
My ONLY support is me, myself and God. No one gives me anything. Everything I achieve thus far is me believing in myself and go out there and making a way.
What are some of the changes you wish to see regarding the accessibility to healthcare for transgender men and women in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean?
One of the most important changes is I would love to see is for trans women to be able to get hormone treatment here because as it is right now I don’t know of anyone or doctor that does that kind a treatments in Jamaica.
Do you face any other challenges you wish to discuss further?
I don’t really face any other challenges and I’m thankful. I get criticism everyday when I’m going about my daily business. It’s my normal now because I’m grown and I have a strong unaffected spirit.
What advice would you give to transgender men and women living Jamaica and the wider Caribbean?
Stay in school. Get an education. Believe in yourself. Don’t worry too much over people’s words. It’s powerless and does not matter.