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About Jodie Patterson
I’m a mother of five and an active LGBTQI advocate who has been recognized for my activism by Hillary Clinton, GLAAD, Family Circle magazine, Cosmopolitan magazine, Yahoo, Refinery29, and numerous other outlets. I’m a regular participant and speaker at transgender and LGBTQI conferences nation wide. In 2017 I gave a TEDx Talk in Germany entitled, Gender is Obsolete.
I work closely with the Human Rights Campaign, and their Parents for Transgender Equality Council. I also sit on the Advisory Board of the Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project, where I advise on strategic partnerships and overall goals for the organization. As well, I sit on the board of Community of Unity, a not-for-profit that provides Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs for underserved kids in NYC public schools. Under my leadership, over the past 15 years the organization has successfully graduated at-risk teens from some of New York’s most poorly performing high schools and has a 95 percent success rate with students.
Professionally, I’m a recognized entrepreneur and distinctive voice within the beauty industry, having co-founded two companies, Doobop—an online beauty marketplace catered to women of color—and Georgia by Jodie Patterson—an all-natural line of skin care. Both brands have garnered wide media attention over the years. “I’m just crazy about this new website,” said Oprah Winfrey when Doobop launched in 2014. My brands have appeared in almost every major mainstream publication, including the New York Times, Glamour, Vogue, Japanese Vogue, Teen Vogue, More, Essence, Ebony, Uptown, and Domino. In 2014, Cosmopolitan awarded me Beauty Skin Expert of the Year.
Before entering the beauty industry, I served as Director of PR for fashion designer Zac Posen, where I oversaw press outreach, public appearances, speech writing, and Fashion Week management for the designer. For a number of years, I ran my own boutique PR agency, working closely with formidable brands like Nike, Virgin Records, Sean John, and Lincoln Center. I’m also the co-owner of the acclaimed Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater and helped develop the marketing and promotion strategy for its groundbreaking launch.
In 2017 I was appointed by the United Nations as a Champion of Change for my advocacy. In 2012, I was honored to be chosen as one of Dell Computers’ “Dell Inspire 100”—a select group of world changers in the fields of entrepreneurship, philanthropy, education and media. Also on my resume: I’m a former circus acrobat who performed with the Big Apple Circus. I live in Brooklyn, New York, where I raise my children with love, education, and family solidarity.
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Books By Jodie Patterson
“A courageous and poetic testimony on family and the self, and the learning and unlearning we must do for those we love.”—Janet Mock
As an African American growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the 1970s, when neighborhoods defined people, Jodie Patterson learned early on to engage with her community for strength and comfort. But then in 2009 this mother of five had her world turned upside down. Realizing that her definition of community wasn’t wide enough for her own child’s needs, Patterson forced the world wide open.
In The Bold World, we witness a mother reshaping her attitudes and beliefs, as well as those of her community, to meet the needs of her transgender son, Penelope— and opening the minds of everyone in her family who absolutely, unequivocally refused to conform.
As we walk alongside Patterson on her journey, we meet the Southern women who came before her—the mother, grandmothers, and aunts who raised and fortified her, all the while challenging cultural norms and gender expectations. She shares her family’s history—particularly incidents within the Black community around sexism, racism, and civil rights. We learn about her children, who act as a vehicle for Jodie Patterson’s own growth and acceptance of her diverse family, and her experiences as a wife, mother, and, eventually, activist. The result is an intimate portrait and an exquisite study in identity, courage, and love. Patterson’s relentless drive to change the world will resonate with and inspire us all, reflecting our own individual strength and tenacity, our very real fears, and, most of all, our singular ability to transform despite the odds.
Advance praise for The Bold World
“In The Bold World, Jodie Patterson makes a case for respecting everyone’s gender identity by way of showing how she came to accept her son, Penelope. In tying that struggle to the struggle for race rights in this country during her own childhood, she paints a vivid picture of the permanent work of social justice.”—Andrew Solomon, bestselling author of The Noonday Demon and Far from the Tree
“Patterson leaves no emotional stone unturned in her powerful chronicle. . . . [This] raw tour de force illustrates the strength of a loving and determined mother.”—Publishers Weekly}]
Penelope knows that he's a boy. (And a ninja.) The problem is getting everyone else to realize it.
In this exuberant companion to Jodie Patterson's adult memoir, The Bold World, Patterson shares her son Penelope's frustrations and triumphs on his journey to share himself with the world. Penelope's experiences show children that it always makes you stronger when you are true to yourself and who you really are.