“JAC is a charming hurricane of glitter and big ideas, so cute you can’t help listen to the smart things he says (and so smart that you can’t help think about them). A brilliantly accessorized example of how flexible the ways of gender can be, and how tender.” -S. Bear Bergman
JAC Stringer (JamesAlice Catherine Stringer) is a trans-genderqueer femme, disabled, Cherokee two spirit, radical activist and performance artist. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, JAC strives to create visibility and resources for Midwestern trans communities with the heart of his work surrounding trans youth and young adults. JAC is most well-known for his role as an early genderqueer activist, particularly as a genderqueer femme where his fight for visibility lead him to be coined, “the original genderfucked femme boy.” He is highly recognized for his experience building trans community resources from the ground up and his multidimensional workshops on socially just trans activism, femme identities, accessibility, two spiritedness, and trans/queer artistry. His analyzation of the unique needs of trans Midwesterners and his ongoing dedication to trans youth has lead him to be considered an expert in fields of human service. He has trained healthcare professionals, educators, and a range of service providers around the country. JAC draws strength from his love of his community and defines himself as a rabble-rouser working through activism, art, and many other forms of revolution.
JAC is a clinical social worker in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His academic background is in Psychology and Gender and Sexuality Studies centering on issues of sexuality and sexual trauma. He later obtained his Master’s in Social Work with a focus counseling and group work. Today, in addition to his activist work for the greater trans community JAC is a mental health counselor and case manager for at-risk trans youth and young adults with histories of trauma. In addition to his expertise in gender identity and sexuality, JAC specializes in bipolar, dissociation, multiples/alters/pluralism, trauma (including familial abuse, sexual assault, stalking, intimate partner violence, religious trauma, online sexual exploitation, trafficking), self-harm, suicidality, and negotiating disability/chronic pain. He is a trauma-informed feminist, sex and kink-positive, and poly inclusive. His practice is centered on compassion, transparency, and recognizing the intersection of cultural oppressions including racism, sexism, cisgenderism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, sizeism, classism, ethnocentrism, religious imperialism, colonization, and medical gatekeeping. He’s committed to servant leadership and has a strong passion for building spaces for LGBTQPIATS+ community to come together. He knows that trans and queer people are strongest when they are together, being there for each other in ways no one else can. Whatever a person’s reasons for wanting or needing support, JAC strives to foster a safer space where they feel validated. JAC also strives to support his trans colleagues in human services and education. In 2017 JAC founded Trans Identified Providers Support (TIPS), a group for processing and addressing the retraumatization trans people experience working within fields designed to erase and oppress them.
JAC learned most of what he knows from first-hand experience. Born and living in socially conservative Cincinnati, Ohio, his first experiences as a trans person were that of painful and extreme isolation, desperately lacking resources and a place to belong. He turned to activism as a means of finding community and addressing trans oppression. His role in the early trans anti-pathologization movement furthered is isolation at home and nationally, which lead him to finding community through national activist initiatives. He he played key leadership roles in The Femme Conference, The International Drag King Community Extravaganza, The LGBTQ Task Force Leadership Summits, and The Philadelphia Trans Health Conference. Navigating life-long physical and mental chronic illnesses within abusive healthcare systems led him to his work as healthcare activist. Soon after he became one of the early group of LGBTQPIATS+ activists addressing disability and accessibility’s impact on the community and how to build better resources. His own mental health conditions drive how he runs his therapy practice addressing trans pathologization and disassembling the unethical foundations of mental health diagnoses and stigma.
JAC describes his early years’ of activism as “Learning how to swim while trying not to drown. Then you realize everyone around you is drowning too” carving out small pockets in the community while he was struggling to survive too, and unsure of how to make it better. He started with one trans person at a time which grew into small support groups run out of his living room. He soon after began teaching trans 101 workshops any place that would have him and lobbying local gay community organizations to welcome trans members. In 2006 he founded Southern Ohio’s first transgender student organization, GenderBLOC at the University of Cincinnati where he successfully fought for trans related resources and policy change. This expanded into building city, state, and then regional resources around trans community building, discrimination, and anti-pathologizing trans healthcare. In 2008, he founded the country’s only regional trans health advocacy organization Heartland Trans Wellness Group where he served as director for seven years, six of which he was the only full time organizer. His strong passion for creating community spaces brought him to design a model for trans group programs which has been used in multiple Midwestern cities by non-profit organizations and community lead initiatives. It’s success is best seen in JAC’s first group program, Cincinnati Trans Community Group which continues to be one of the largest and most active trans support groups in the country.
As a performer, JAC has done genderfucking dance, poetry, prose, music, and drag everywhere from grand scale theaters to dive bar floors. Primarily self-taught, he combines a speckled arts education of living room dance lessons, classical training, and a love of old movies. His unique style and storytelling abilities around bodies, history and, androgyny led to his being internationally known as an genderqueer performer in a variety of styles. JAC is lovingly devoted to the drag king community, being the first place he found queer family. Drag was JAC’s initial avenue for performing around the country and with that he found means for both self-expression and activism. He co-managed his drag troupe in Cincinnati, The Black Mondays leading the troupe to become nationally known. He has also been a longstanding member of the oldest professional drag king troupe in the world, The Royal Renegades of Columbus, Ohio. Soon after finding community in drag, JAC began combining performance and activism. His first fight for a stage started in 2007; over a year-long push for Cincinnati’s first college campus drag show, which still runs at the University of Cincinnati twice a year. JAC collaborated with the small collection of genderqueer performers in the US and Canada to build productions that welcomed genderqueer and otherwise non-binary performances, the most notable being JAC’s “Gender Queeries” tour which took place in 2011. These collaborations lead JAC to produce more queer performance showcases centered on social justice from local shows to ones of international draw including Fabulously Fluid!, Philadelphia Trans Health Conference’s Blender!, and Mind the Gap. JAC’s love of performance is rooted in his experiences of being “the only one,” whether it is from his being trans, genderqueer, femme, Native, disabled… They all have created moments in need of being expressed. JAC’s considers all of his artistic work to be a means of self-care as well as community activism; creating empowering messages of visibility, creativity, and a sense of belonging.
JAC currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he works as a social worker and counselor for trans youth as well as being a freelance trans educator and an artist.