Jack Ori is a speaker, writer and communications coach serving teenagers and their families, with a special emphasis on those who have learning differences such as Aspergers syndrome and those who are members of the transgender community. He has a Masters in creative writing from the University of Southern California and a Bachelors in psychology from Pitzer College, both of which he uses in his quest to help teens feel more connected to their families and communities.
Jack’s passion for ending the isolation and depression that often contribute to teen suicide rates comes out of his personal struggle with depression, anger and pain prior to his transition. Although he was aware on some level as a child that he was different, he didn’t know how to express his gender identity to his family or community as a child, and as a result grew up feeling invisible and angry without knowing exactly why he felt that way. As he grew older, his emotional distress turned into depression and he continued to struggle with anger issues. It wasn’t until he was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome at the age of 31 that he began to understand himself and seek answers to his emotional problems.
Shortly after his diagnosis, Jack became involved with the LGBT community after a roommate came out to him. Through his involvement, he not only became interested in suicide prevention in this community, but also began to explore his gender identity. He began working with a life coach and a therapist in 2011 and his maleness slowly emerged. This seemed to be the missing piece of the identity puzzle he needed to be able to work through his childhood feelings and regain mental health. In 2012, he came out to his family and began rebuilding a more honest and intimate relationship with them as well as beginning the process of gender transition.
Today, Jack’s understanding of his childhood experiences fuels his intense desire to pave an easier path for transgender children and children with Aspergers. He travels around the United States and Europe to give lectures and workshops to parents, teachers and other adults who want to learn how to better support their children as well as writing articles and young adult novels for these groups of teenagers. He also works one-one-one with parents and teenagers to help them embrace one another and their own identities.
Jack now lives a happy, well-adjusted life filled with love. His life mission is to bring peace and happiness to those who are struggling because of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or learning differences. He welcomes letters from parents and children and is often touched by how much of a difference he’s able to make in their lives.