Jason Cole

Jason Cole

 

Jason Cole is a bisexual, genderqueer mental health advocate, who has been involved in a variety of causes and activism since they were 17. Jason describes themself as a cerebral feminist, agent provocateur and sexual freedom fighter.

A strong proponent of anti-oppression in HIV/AIDS work and health promotion, Jason has been HIV+ for 9 years. They also live with bipolar disorder and PTSD, which has helped them to reaffirm their commitment to self-care and improvement through therapy, meditation, running and other spiritual practices. Jason believes in strengthening the link between the physical, mental and emotional planes of one’s self-care - especially in their experience of living with HIV.

Jason is a lover of graphic novels, landscape photography, 70s punk music on vinyl and classic film.

Twitter: @jrcoleTO

Instagram: jrcoleto

My road map to wellness

published: September, 26, 2017 Written by // Jason Cole Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Mental Health, Health, Living with HIV, Jason Cole

Jason Cole returns to PositiveLite.com with this brief encapsulation of his coming to terms with PTSD, substance use, depression, lonliness, stigma and yes, HIV.

My road map to wellness

Ever since I was a child, I knew I related to the world differently than those around me. I was always the kid on the outside fringes, being bullied and yearning for acceptance from the common crowd. A problem child, as my parents would remark. I remember being full of anger and defiant. I felt as though I had little control over my mood. Self-regulation was something that escaped me. While in school, I went through the process of a psycho-educational assessment with the goal of providing sup

Finding space where I can be me

published: December, 15, 2016 Categories // Social Media, Activism, Gay Men, Mental Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Jason Cole

As a trans woman living with HIV, Maya Cole knows well the value of safe spaces and people she can trust.

Finding space where I can be me

My least favourite time of day is from 6:00 AM to 7:30 AM, on weekdays. That is when I enjoy a cup (or three) of coffee and watch the news on TV but I also feel a growing sense of unease then. This is the time before I have to head out to work. Every time I leave my apartment in the morning, I worry about my personal safety. I am a trans woman with a distinct, somewhat raspy voice. My adam’s apple protrudes. My five o’clock shadow still mildly shows through my makeup. I listen to music an

Being trans and resilient: why I have chosen to be alone

published: November, 09, 2016 Categories // Social Media, Activism, Gay Men, Mental Health, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Jason Cole, Sex and Sexuality

"It is important to differentiate between momentary loneliness and pervasive isolation," says Maya Cole

Being trans and resilient: why I have chosen to be alone

As a child, I did not have many friends. My childhood was very much about survival: both at home and at school. In my current career as a school secretary, I have come to understand school as a place where children need to feel safe and have the space to grow without institutionalized barriers. In practice, I know this to not always be the case - especially in my own history. The power of friendship is incredibly important to breaking down so many of those barriers. The ratio of intense

The importance of self care

published: October, 06, 2016 Categories // Social Media, Yoga, Gay Men, Food, Nutrition and Recipes, General Health, Mental Health, Fitness and Exercise, Health, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Jason Cole

"Now I know the true value of taking care of myself and what that means," says Maya Cole

The importance of self care

As a young child in elementary school, I was a crafty and resourceful young soul. I had to be. Protection was the name of the game and the players were the many bullies that would make school difficult, everyday. My resourcefulness paid off in the way of escapism from my bullies’ relentless attacks. I had mapped out the entire school yard. Everything was colour-coded, even the trees and neighboring houses. Strongly depicted were my ‘safe zones’. They were the places I would run to w

My gender journey

published: August, 15, 2016 Categories // Social Media, Gay Men, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Jason Cole

"As with all things in my life, I had to go at it full force and with intense passion," says Maya Cole of her journey from Jason to Maya.

My gender journey

My youth, like that of so many others, could be told in song. My life’s story would be a mixtape of an array of female singer-songwriters, hip hop artists and pop queens. I believe the most prominent voices would be Sarah McLachlan, Lauryn Hill and Janet Jackson. On screen, I also have had a love affair with films that are led by female actors or dominated by their strong performances in supporting roles. These films include Thelma & Louise, Adventures in Babysitting and Batman Retu

The first Toronto Pride was a riot.

published: July, 11, 2016 Categories // Social Media, Community Events, African, Caribbean and Black, Activism, Pride, Gay Men, Current Affairs, Events, Media, Opinion Pieces, Jason Cole

Jason R. Cole on why the Black Lives Matter sit-in at this year's Pride parade was completely appropriate.

The first Toronto Pride was a riot.

Toronto Pride 2016 photos by Bob Leahy It’s a popular meme that floats around during the month of June annually, as if to remind us all of our roots. The assumption is, of course, that we need reminding. The circumstances of this past week would certainly indicate that some of us do. During the annual Pride Parade in Toronto, the activist group Black Lives Matter staged a sit-­in that lasted 30 minutes. The group chanted ‘pride is political’, refusing to let up until Mathieu Chante

Be proud to be you

published: May, 31, 2016 Categories // Gay Men, Living with HIV, Jason Cole, Sex and Sexuality

"...being pansexual, poz and genderqueer made me feel not only multilayered but also a whole and content individual," says Jason R. Cole

Be proud to be you

Since I was a small child, I have had a deep fascination with superheroes - in particular Batman. I believe what drew me to his character was the dualistic nature of his identity, his perseverance and adaptability. While dualistic in nature, there are many layers to Batman’s identity and characterization that inform his emotional responses to the obstacles he would need to overcome. The same can be said for my coming out process. I had to draw upon on an inherent strength I did not even kno

The Hillary Clinton affair – and what it says about our own country’s neglect of HIV criminalization issues

published: March, 15, 2016 Categories // Activism, Current Affairs, International , Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Jason Cole

Jason R Cole is still offended by the politics of praising the Reagans for their AIDS record, but says we have seen political maneuvering on the AIDS file in our country too.

The Hillary Clinton affair – and what it says about our own country’s neglect of HIV criminalization issues

At Nancy Reagan’s (the former First Lady of the United States) funeral, Democratic Presidential hopeful (and a former First Lady herself) Hillary Clinton made some bizarre remarks about the Reagans’ response to the AIDS crisis, during the Reagan administration.  She said: "It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s. And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan -- in particular Mrs. Reagan -- we started a national

When things get R-rated - long-term commitment.

published: February, 22, 2016 Categories // Dating, Gay Men, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Jason Cole, Sex and Sexuality

Monogamy, open, polyamory, other - there are lots of relationship styles. But Jason R Cole asks “are HIVers afraid of being in a committed, long-term relationship? If so, why?”

When things get R-rated - long-term commitment.

"Long term commitment." It is a frightening phrase for many queers. I count myself as one of them, once upon a time.  Years ago, I was afraid of what commitment symbolized: being bound to someone else, with little or no escape. You see, back in my early 20s I was an expert escape artist when it came to relationships - although, I did end up dragging my lovers down with a whole lot of drama and self-destructive behaviour. I didn’t know better at the time.  In my mid-20s, I was married to

Floating above water

published: January, 27, 2016 Categories // Gay Men, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific , Jason Cole

Jason R Cole says “It’s no secret that internalized stigma can surprise you” and make you the “sick person”, once again. How do you combat that? Read on.

Floating above water

One of the first things I am often lauded with is how open I am about my HIV status. I am open about my status for three distinct reasons: I believe my sexual partners have a right to make an informed decision regarding their sexual health, by knowing all the facts; because I believe the best way to educate others is through open and compassionate dialogue; and because I know that the law is not necessarily on our side. By our side, I mean us HIVers.  That last reason is crucial, because it

Two dots

published: January, 11, 2016 Categories // Gay Men, Newly Diagnosed, Mental Health, Health, Living with HIV, Population Specific , Jason Cole

New writer Jason R Cole answers the question “What happens when the complexities of sorting out your new identity as a poz individual are layered with mental illness as well?. . .So what is a poz, bipolar, socially anxious genderqueer person to do?"

Two dots

“I see two dots, Mr. Cole. I am so sorry.”  That phrase literally changed my life. A rush of endorphins came to my head and I passed out. When I came to, I knew my life was forever changed. There were so many questions - all centred around how I would live my life and if I would be happy. How would I tell my husband? That was the most pressing question on my mind, really. What I did not know was there was another sleeping giant in the room, waiting for me to break. My moods fluctuated