Mental health matters with Kenny Ethan Jones
Model, activist, and entrepreneur, Kenny Ethan Jones is making history as the first trans man to front a period campaign. Here he shares his insight on how we can all be better trans allies
Mental health matters to me because… it’s a universal experience. It’s one of the few things that we can all understand, relate to, and empathise with.
There’s a massive difference in my belief system, characteristics, and personality depending on whether I’m experiencing good or bad mental health. In the good times, I find it easy to bring my A-game, overcome challenges, and believe in my future. In the not-so-good times, I feel as if I’m in survival mode, passively going through life.
The moment I felt most proud of myself was… the day I started living my truth.
I would say to anyone struggling with their mental health that… you’re stronger than you think. You’ve survived every-single-one of your bad days. There is no good without bad, better days are ahead – if you believe there are. I know you are doing the best you can, and I believe in you.
When I’m lacking motivation I… remember that motivation is what gets you started, but passion is what helps you see it through. So I remind myself of why I wanted to do it in the first place.
The best lesson I’ve learned in life is… not to take things so personally. I spent the majority of my life being angry at people, because I believed they consciously choose to discriminate against me for being transgender, and/or a person of colour, when the reality was a lot of it was unintentional ignorance. Fortunately, we live in a time where people are holding themselves more accountable for their bias, but we all need to hold space for the fact that people are still unlearning.
For anyone struggling with their gender identity, I’d say… identity is complex, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I’m still finding myself, where my masculinity/femininity sits, and how much surgery I want to undergo.
My best advice is this: if it’s making you happy, keep going, and anything else, push away.
It’s important to understand what’s actually you versus what society expects from you. Ask yourself: if nobody was watching or judging, what would my identity look like?
It’s so important to make menstrual healthcare inclusive because… the bottom line is: this is a health matter. Every person deserves to be informed on their health in a way that aligns with their gender identity. For me, I felt alienated, like periods shouldn’t be a part of my lived experience, which made me avoid learning about them. This meant I wasn’t equipped to take care of my health, and reinforced that the subject was taboo.
My advice on how to be a strong trans ally is… to share our content, enforce asking for pronouns, be aware of your privilege, and help uplift our voices, check-in and offer your support, and educate yourself on our experiences.
Follow Kenny on Instagram @kennyethanjones