Here’s the Blitz
In 2007 – at the age of 22 – upon graduating college in Philadelphia, I moved to Jersey City, N.J., to begin my career as an artist. While learning the ropes of a new city and trying desperately to find a job in New York City, I slowly discovered how LGBT friendly Jersey City was. I grabbed a job as a bartender and quickly made many new friends. These friends introduced me to a center called Hudson Pride, which brought me on as a volunteer graphic designer and treated me as a part of their family.
One night the center was showing a documentary one of the youth [members] had put together, so I stayed to watch. It blew me away. For 22 years I identified as a lesbian. Though I always felt somewhat different, I never explored the world of trans because before then I never had the resources, nor had I known anyone who was transgender. Everything this kid said in the documentary all made sense – everything I’d been feeling. I remember leaving there with a grin on my face, butterflies, I wanted to scream out to the world!
So in the next few weeks I began researching, learning, talking, and visiting FTM (female-to-male) groups in New York City. Then it dawned on me. Why doesn’t Hudson Pride have an FTM group?
I spoke with the director and got an immediate yes as they already had GLITZ (girls living in the trans zone). So we went with BLITZ (boys living in the trans zone). By this time I had changed my name from Jessica to Jaden and began to use male pronouns. After a year I started T (testosterone), came out to my family, and finally got a sweet design job in New York.
Our group started off small, but slowly grew and continued for about two years. It was a great resource and I learned so much. I even met my best friend. But I decided to move back to Philadelphia and BLITZ slowly faded away.
But here I am in 2012, three years on T and four years living as Jaden.
It took me some time but I’m finally established and I want to bring back BLITZ in Philly. I miss helping and informing – and the website provides many resources to people under the trans umbrella everywhere.
Jaden Rogers is the creator of BLITZ, an online forum and social group for transgender people and anyone exploring gender identity.