TransLash Guide to ‘Trans Bodies, Trans Choices’ feat. Jack Qu’emi

In Trans Bodies, Trans Choices, the third and final short film in TransLash Media’s Trans Bodies, Trans Voices series, Jack Qu’emi (they/them) tells their story. After an unplanned pregnancy and unsuccessful Plan B contraceptive, Jack sought abortion access in central Florida. Already an experience that brought on strong feelings of gender dysphoria, Jack’s abortion was made worse by dealing with transphobic health professionals. Now, they advocate for trans inclusion and diversity training for abortion providers. Their story highlights the need for care providers to include transgender and gender non-conforming patients in their understanding of reproductive access.

Explore this guide to access the film’s resource links, transcript, and more information about the Trans Bodies, Trans Voices series. Thank you for reading! Be sure to include the #TransBodiesTransVoices hashtag in any signal boost posts on social media. We appreciate you, TransLash family!

‘Trans Bodies, Trans Choices’: Resources

On a blue background, illustrated people pose. Text at the top says "TRANS BODIES, TRANS CHOICES" and 'Trans Bodies, Trans Choices' RESOURCE GUIDE

Trans Bodies, Trans Choices Films

Getting an Abortion

  • Under 18 and need an abortion + free legal representation for judicial bypass? Call or text Jane’s Due Process: 1-866-999-5263
  • The National Network of Abortion Funds connects abortion seekers with grassroots organizations that can support financial and logistical needs here
  • Tips on how to choose a good abortion provider and questions to ask a clinic
  • The Brigid Alliance arranges and funds travel, along with related needs, to support individuals across the country who are forced to travel for later abortion care. 

For Clinicians and Providers 

Calls to Action

  • Sign on and Demand #AbortionWithinReach: Abortion funds have come together to deliver an unprecedented bold statement, explicitly identifying what it means for abortion to be truly accessible for our callers. As we shine a light on these demands, we also want to spotlight independent clinics, who are our partners on the front lines giving support and care to abortion seekers. Independent clinics perform the majority of abortions in the U.S., and show up big as plaintiffs in the monumental cases of the past few years. 
  • Expand the Supreme Court & Save Abortion Rights. Sign the petition here.
  • Urge federal elected officials to end the Hyde Amendment, the Global Gag Rule, and the Helms Amendment. Learn more and take action to expressly urge support for the EACH Actthe Global Health, Empowerment, & Rights Act, and the Abortion is Healthcare Everywhere Act
  • Invest in abortion clinics, especially community-led health care facilities. 
  • Talk about abortion! Change culture and shift stigma through powerful, values-based conversations. We believe dialogue, storytelling, and intentional conversations are powerful tools to organize and strengthen our movement. This guide for heart-to-heart abortion conversations from NNAF   and this toolkit from Chicago Abortion Fund will support you to hold a small group gathering, house party, or action space where you can invite your friends, family, and acquaintances into meaningful conversations about abortion, issues that relate to abortion, and why you support abortion funds.
  • Support the Black reproductive justice policy agenda, which outlines proactive policy solutions to address issues at the intersections of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity within the situational impacts of economics, politics and culture that make up the lived experiences of Black women, femmes, girls and gender-expansive individuals in the United States.
  • Invest in long-term sustainable models of care that supplement existing structures of support and center the expertise of those who have been laying this groundwork for years so that communities have reliable support systems that contribute to one’s current and future ability to thrive. 
  • We urge all individuals knowledgeable about a person’s reproductive choices to make a commitment to not – under any circumstances – punish, criminalize or report any person for any pregnancy decision or seeking medical assistance for a decision. This includes abortion funders, public health authorities, clinicians, law enforcement, prosecutors, and community members.

Resources on Pregnancy as a Transgender Person

‘Trans Bodies, Trans Choices’ Press

‘I Didn’t Think I’d Make It’ Transcript

Jack Qu’emi Gutiérrez (they/them) is a California-based, self described “gender gremlin”. They’ve spent the better part of the last decade advocating for trans inclusivity in reproductive health spaces and are a proponent of sexual wellness. When they’re not getting weird on the Internet, Jack enjoys wonderfully mundane activities like incense shopping and the company of their cats.

I want you to be able to access abortion for any reason on demand. There is no right way to look at that. There is no wrong way to look at that. There’s no good story and there’s no better situation or worse situation. You can get an abortion for whatever reason, as long as you want it. That’s it. 

My name is Jack Qu’emi, my pronouns are they/them. I grew up in Miami. We were military families, so we moved around a little bit. Watching TV, looking at magazines, I definitely had impressions about what I was lacking and what I was supposed to present as and how I was supposed to – I was going to grow into these ideas of what womenhood looked like specifically. And that did not happen. I felt like for a long time that it was something that was eventually going to happen. I was going to grow up and I was going to be a woman and be like, yes, that’s what it is. It never happened. And at some point you’re 20 and you’re like, oh, no, still, don’t identify with that. Oh, I’m not a girl. That’s a thing. 

I was seeing my high school sweetheart, we both went to the same college. We were very on and off. The condom broke. I realized that the condom broke. I immediately was like, “We need to grab a Plan B.” We go buy a Plan B and I take it within an hour of realizing the condom broke. Didn’t matter! When my birthday was coming up, I was going to turn 20. It was a whole thing, you know… no period. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I felt incredibly nauseous. I don’t like the fact that I have a uterus. It’s something that I would prefer not to have. 

A lot of my dysphoria comes from having a uterus. The closest thing we could find was Planned Parenthood. We called, we made an appointment, but I was so nervous… it took a week to even get one. Florida had just passed a bill as well, where you had to have a transvaginal ultrasound before and after your abortion. I was an anxious mess. I didn’t want people in my business. I chose a medication abortion versus a surgical one. It was about $100 cheaper and I did not have money. It was five hundred dollars. That is nothing to sneeze at. That was rent. 

When I went to the clinic and this is in what, 2011? There wasn’t a time or space on your paperwork to put your pronouns, your preferred name, none of that was there. Nobody thought about those things. These clinicians and nurses and staff that wants to help me, but they can’t get pronouns right. It’s weird and uncomfortable because I wasn’t there to give a lecture or a lesson on, you know, diversity and inclusivity. 

I was there to get an abortion. So they give you a bag of pills, you immediately feel nauseous. You immediately start clotting. I was in pain and I was kind of stuck in bed, rocking around for at least a week. I ended up quitting my part time job because I couldn’t make it to work. If I couldn’t access an abortion and had to carry that to term, I would not be alive. Period. I absolutely would have found a way to kill myself. There’s there’s absolutely no way that I would have been a pregnant person. 

And I had a fellowship, a six month fellowship with Planned Parenthood after having an abortion because I remembered how significant of an experience I had. And I thought that I could elevate them a bit by coming in there as a transgender person, as a non-binary person and saying you need to clear your accessibility a little bit more, know you need to have pronoun options into her preferred name options. I definitely helped a couple of clinics come out with better paperwork. I did a couple of trainings and it was really nice to see how well received that information was. I want us to be able to have open conversations like this about abortion. You know, I want us to say I’m trans. I had an abortion. This is what it looked like. I felt these ways, and this is how I came out of that. 

I don’t feel like there’s enough conversation around trans and gender nonconforming people and reproductive health, even sexuality. I feel like we’re often desexed. We are not allowed to talk about our bodies, and a lot of the times a lot of us feel like we can’t talk about our own bodies, like we’re having really complicated relationships with the bodies that we’re in and we may choose to change them. 

For a living, I full time run an erotic boutique in Hollywood. It is a really rewarding experience. I get to work with my community and get to help people out. I get to erase the shame around sexual wellness and identities as if sex the only purpose of sex is to procreate.. No. As someone who does not want kids, I feel like we really needed to have a conversation about what pleasure looks like. It’s hard enough to talk about gay sex, but also talking about trans sex and trans bodies and what that might look like. But there are a bunch of different kinds of forms, and there are different ways to navigate that. 

Hey, what are you interested in doing? Hey, what are your hard nos? What are your hard yeses? What do you want me to call your body parts? What do you not like? How do you like to be touched? Show me how you like to be touched. I want everybody to have that experience. Everybody deserves to have good sex like that if they want to have sex, but everybody deserves to have that kind of intimacy. I find that incredible. I’m hoping more that my story is for other trans and gender nonconforming folks, I want to facilitate that for my community. 

I don’t tell my abortion story for cis people, I tell my story for transgender and gender nonconforming people. I tell that story for my own so that way we can see that there are examples of folks going through, navigating the same difficult journeys that they are and that it’s OK. 

About ‘Trans Bodies, Trans Choices’

As abortion rights hang in the balance, TransLash will spotlight the reproductive justice needs of transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people through a video series which gives voice to those often left out and left behind in the current conversation.  Reproductive justice has been critical, even life saving for our community.  That’s why we will focus on these trans stories throughout this Trans Month of Visibility to center trans people and bring our community out of the shadows on this important topic.

Three powerful stories will be told through the anchor, short-film series, Trans Bodies, Trans Choices. Watch on all @translashmedia social channels, YouTube, and at translash.org/watch. Subscribe for alerts sent straight to your inbox: translash.org/connect

“My Abortion Saved My Life” (March 14)

Cazembe Murphy Jackson (he/him), a Black trans activist living in Atlanta, Georgia, shares why his access to abortion was vital to his life. After developing severe depression following a sexual assault, and quickly learning he was pregnant, Cazembe’s abortion saved him from suicide. In the first short of Trans Bodies, Trans Choices, Cazembe’s story demonstrates the life-saving urgency of abortion access. 

“I Didn’t Think I’d Make It” (March 21)

After an accident with a partner, Stann (hey/hem/hez) tells the story of seeking an abortion in southern New Mexico. After receiving an abortion, Stann used that experience to argue the case for a hysterectomy as part of hez quest for trans-affirming care.

St(ephanie)Ann, hey/hem/hez, was born in Connecticut on Leap Day. Hey is a disabled multi-instrumentalist musician, poet, performer, athlete and healer. Hey is the proud owner of Prism Wellness Works LLC, a holistic health initiative based in the desert Southwest. Stann is a Reiki Master and Theta Healing ® practitioner working to return autonomy to the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Find hem on Facebook and Instagram at @prismwellnessworks.

“Trans Bodies, Trans Choices” (March 31)

After an unplanned pregnancy and unsuccessful Plan B contraceptive, Jack Qu’emi (they/them) sought abortion access in southern Florida. Already an experience that brought on strong feelings of gender dysphoria, Jack’s abortion was made worse by dealing with transphobic health professionals. Now, they advocate for trans inclusion and diversity training for abortion providers. Their story highlights the need for care providers to include transgender and gender non-conforming patients in their understanding of reproductive access. 

The release of each film will be followed by weekly activations online, including TransLash Podcast, Instagram Live, and Twitter Spaces conversations. The series will culminate in a virtual Trans Bodies, Trans Choices town hall co-hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force on March 23rd.  The Trans Bodies, Trans Choices campaign will conclude on March 31st, Trans Day of Visibility. Be sure to follow our partners: @birthequity @thetaskforce @womensmarch @abortionfunds.

CREDITS:

Imara Jones, Creator and Executive Producer

Ruby Rose Collins, Director & Producer

Tiler Wilson, Director & Producer

Jahmia Phillips, Director of Photography 

Nathan DuConge, Assistant Camera / Camera Operator (Ep2)

Harper Harris, Sound Operator (Ep2)

Rajee Samarasinghe, Editor

Jakob Sweet, Sound Mixer

Kalyn Jacobs, Assistant Camera / Camera Operator (Ep3)

Flora Kamimoto, Sound Operator (Ep3)

Daniela Capistrano, Digital Strategy & Social Media Lead


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