For the past few days, I’ve thought a lot about how the actor, Geoffrey Owens has been in the limelight after a shopper at Trader Joe’s snapped photos of Owens working the cash register wearing his name tag. The lady then went on to submit the pictures to various celebrity websites, apparently with the hopes of stirring something up.
I have fond memories of watching Geoffrey when he appeared as Elvin Tibideaux on the Cosby Show all those years ago. Although I have to confess, I had to Google his characters last name for this article; I could only remember, “Elvin.”
When I watched several interviews, I was impressed by the honesty and sincerity with which Mr. Owens spoke. Below is one such interview:
I know where Mr. Owens is coming from; I have been in the entertainment business for more than thirty years as an actor, comedian, writer, and magician. To support my family and me, I have worked temp jobs, sold advertising, sold copiers and computers, so many other jobs I can’t even recall. In the nineties, after reaching a level of success to which I didn’t expect to have to go back to a “real” job, I found myself cleaning carpets for Stanley Steemer Carpet Cleaning Company.
It was a humbling experience for me, and I’ve had nowhere near the level of success Geoffrey Owens has and most likely never will. Showbusiness is fickle, and no one should enter into it if they are driven purely for money. It is not a 9-5, weekly paycheck business. Good for Geoffrey for taking an honest job to support his family between gigs and not being ashamed when attention was brought to it.
The irony of the situation is that the very people attempting to job-shame Geoffrey has boosted his status back into the celebrity realm. He will no doubt, be again working as an actor very soon and we will all be the better for it.
About a year ago, our oldest daughter, Jessa, helped a transgender teen with their ill-fitting clothing dilemma. By altering this kids clothing to fit better, the result was that this child felt better about himself, felt comfortable and felt less scrutinized.
There aren’t ANY stores for people transitioning. This sparked an idea; by having Every Body available for these kids, they will feel better about themselves, less judged and more love while shopping. Plus, they will feel more comfortable in what they look like day-to-day.
The following is the transcribed Facebook message by Jessa, detailing how it all started:
Hey Rachel! I’m sure you’ve seen me blasting my company’s campaign all over. Thanks for liking the Page! A few people have told me that I should share the whole story of Every Body and my part in it. My best friend Alicia’s stepson, Aaron, came out as transgender about two years ago when he was 15 while spiraling into deep depression. He was afraid his family wouldn’t love him anymore, grades completely dropped, slept all of the time.. not good times. The summer before he came out I bought a sewing machine and fell in love with making clothes. I wasn’t really good at it but I was going to be. Through learning what Aaron’s needs were for transitioning, one of this biggest struggles was finding clothes that fit the way that he wanted them to fit. Chest binding, hiding feminine features and expressing himself as male. Aaron and his dad, my friend, Hector, would go shopping for hours and come home empty-handed. Not only were there no options for his body type but he was extremely uncomfortable shopping because of the dirty looks and snide comments.
Hector was researching online stores for trans folk and found nothing. I had just taken a business class for sewing and how to start a company but none of it applied to what I had been working on (Babes of Space). My heart wasn’t in that venture enough to apply ALL of the immense info I had just taken in. Alicia and I worked at a cafe together and in passing she said that Hector couldn’t find any stores for transgender teens anywhere. Everything I had learned in my business class applied!! I FREAKED. I was like “I KNOW HOW TO DO THIS” and I love Aaron.
So, here we are! A year and a half later and I couldn’t be happier. I love these kids. I’m extremely connected to them mostly on Instagram and they really need us. They are alone and overlooked. They can’t find clothes that fit them and they are literally scared to go shopping. I’m writing this in hopes that you will at least share our campaign and if you can donate. No amount is too small.
Mitzi and I are so proud of Jessa and her passion for helping others. We stand by her and support her, just as she supports the trans and non-binary community. All people deserve to be loved. Please follow this link and donate and share. If you are unable to donate, still share. Help us get the word out. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.