In 2002, Jack started “Free2Be” in Charleston, SC. The organization’s aim was to fight violence and hate crime through education and awareness. During that time, he partnered with existing LGBT organizations to bring awareness to the social and political injustices that the community was facing in the state.
Within just 3 short months, Jack was able to attract over 140 members in 3 different locations, statewide. The group worked relentlessly to fight against anti-LGBT legislation in the house including the outdated sodomy laws.
His efforts were rewarded with recognition from the Southern Poverty Law Center & Rosa Parks. His deadname was then added to the “Wall of Tolerance” as a recognized leader in the new age of civil rights.
In 2012, Jack moved to Knoxville, TN to begin a new life as his authentic self. Unexpectedly, he found himself nestled in Knoxville, TN. While he was quickly able to find acceptance amongst new friends, he found it near impossible to find any actual resources to help further his transition.
He even lost his job once he started transitioning.
With no insurance, and what seemed to be an endless sea of closed doors, Jack stumbled onto the website for a nearby Planned Parenthood that was offering trans care to anyone in the South East.The bond was made and Jack began his quest to help others learn about the kindness and care that he had received.
A mayoral bid
Shortly after losing his job as a web producer, Jack found himself experiencing more closed doors as he navigated transphobia in employment spaces. During this time, marriage equality passed in the U.S. and in celebration Jack attended an equality rally, where he had the chance to meet then mayor of Knoxville, Madeline Rogero.
This encounter, was not a positive one for Jack, who once again felt dismissed and ignored. Jack decided enough was enough and later threw his hat into the ring to create a platform for trans issues in East, TN; becoming the 1st transgender man to run for political office in the Southern, United States.
While unsuccessful at winning the local seat, Jack claimed victory by getting folks in the area to discuss trans matters.
In late 2016, with the election behind him, Jack once again felt compelled to get involved in educating others on the social and political injustices that were happening around him. This time for the Trans community.
Jack rounded up a small group of friends for help and put together what would be the organization’s first event. It was a clothing swap. At the end of which, the group was able to donate a pick-up truck’s worth of clothing to help with disabled veterans in Knoxville.
Within a year, the group was thriving more than ever and were able to secure their status as a 501(c)(3) as recognized by the IRS.
The organization started out with a focus to improve the amount and quality of resources that were available for the Trans community, in Knoxville, with a long-term goal of becoming a national resource.
In June of 2017, Jack launched a project within the organization to help with homeless Trans youth and young adults in response to a foster situation, involving the care of a 17yr old Trans boy, which was mishandled. The program is called inTRANSition, and has been the driving force behind the rapid growth of Trans Empowerment Project . By March of 2018, Jack was able to forge partnerships with organizations such as Trans Life Line, Covenant House, & Addiction Campuses, all of which helped catapult TEP to become a national resource.
Jack currently volunteers as an advocate on behalf of progressive organizations nationwide.Follow Me on Social: