Project Description

Jo Ivester spent two years of her childhood living in a trailer in Mound Bayou, where she was the only white student at her junior high. She finished high school in Florida before attending Reed, MIT, and Stanford in preparation for a career in transportation and manufacturing. Following the birth of her fourth child, she became a teacher. She and her husband teach each January at MIT and travel extensively, splitting their time between Texas, Colorado, and Singapore.

about ONCE A GIRL, ALWAYS A BOY

Jeremy Ivester is a transgender man. Thirty years ago, his parents welcomed him into the world as what they thought was their daughter. As a child, he preferred the toys and games our society views as masculine. He kept his hair short and wore boys’ clothing. They called him a tomboy. That’s what he called himself.

By high school, when he showed no interest in flirting, his parents thought he might be lesbian. At twenty, he wondered if he was asexual. At twenty-three, he surgically removed his breasts. A year later, he began taking the hormones that would lower his voice and give him a beard—and he announced his new name and pronouns.

Once a Girl, Always a Boy is Jeremy’s journey from childhood through coming out as transgender and eventually emerging as an advocate for the transgender community. This is not only Jeremy’s story but also that of his family, told from multiple perspectives—those of the siblings who struggled to understand the brother they once saw as a sister, and of the parents who ultimately joined him in the battle against discrimination. This is a story of acceptance in a world not quite ready to accept.

about THE OUTSKIRTS OF HOPE

In 1967, when Jo Ivester was ten years old, her father transplanted his young family from a suburb of Boston to a small town in the heart of the Mississippi cotton fields, where he became the medical director of a clinic that served the poor population for miles around. But ultimately it was not Ivester’s father but her mother—a stay-at-home mother of three who became a high school English teacher when the family moved to the South—who made the most enduring mark on the town.

In The Outskirts of Hope, Ivester uses journals left by her mother, as well as writings of her own, to paint a vivid, moving, and inspiring portrait of her family’s experiences living and working in an all-black town during the heights of the civil rights movement.