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Jay Jones Makes History as Howard University’s First Transgender Student Body President

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May 23, 2024

The votes are in, and The Mecca is a place of acceptance!

Jay Jones, a junior political science major from Fort Worth, Texas, has become Howard University‘s 64th Student Association (HUSA) president, making history as the first transgender person to hold the position.

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A post shared by Jay Jones ❤️❤️ (@jayyy_joness)

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Jones’ journey to leadership began long before her own gender transition. Even as a gay man raised in the South, she felt a calling to advocate for positive change. “Leadership really became my safe haven,” Jones is quoted in a recent Andscape article. “I could prove to people that regardless of who you are, regardless of what you did, you can still succeed.”

Her path to self-discovery and leadership was paved by supportive individuals. At Howard, she found a close friend in Samarion Montgomery, who encouraged her to embrace her true identity. Eshe Ukweli, a Howard alumna, became a mentor who helped Jones navigate her evolving self-image.

“There exists between Black trans women … this just innate sense of, like, sisterhood,” Ukweli said to Andscape, highlighting the importance of community in Jones’ journey.

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Jones’ historic election has been met with overwhelming support from the Howard community. “I feel that Jones’ presidency is definitely significant in Howard’s history,” said Sydney Parrish, a rising sophomore, “but I think her election highlights an interesting debate.” Parrish’s comments reflect the complex conversation surrounding representation and marginalization.

Jones isn’t wasting time getting started. Her goals include creating a welcoming experience for incoming students through a freshman walk or initiation event. She also envisions fostering connections between Howard and local schools by sending student organizations to mentor younger students.

Motivated by a desire to inspire others, Jones shared her core purpose: “I do this for all the little gay boys, all the little gay girls, and all the little trans male and female people down South who haven’t gotten their chance to dance to the sun yet.”

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Jones’ victory marks a significant moment for Howard University and paves the way for a brighter future for LGBTQ+ students on campus.

Cover photo: Jay Jones Makes History as Howard University’s First Transgender Student Body President / Credit: Latrell Caton

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