Watermark’s Most Eligible – Tampa Bay: Jason Lee

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
Comments: 3

Age: 23

Hometown: Troy, Missouri

How you identify: Heterosexual, Transgender Man

What’s your sign: Gemini-Cancer Cusp

Jason Lee would rather be naked. It’s his mantra and passion.

Jason is the founder and owner of I’d Rather Be Naked, a multimedia production company and clothing brand dedicated to “raising awareness for transgender mental health and protection through compassion conversation and community outreach.”

The brand “first started before I had gotten my top surgery,” Jason says, when he wanted to attend a poolside event in Orlando. “I didn’t really feel comfortable yet and I still had to cover up… I came up with a shirt that said ‘I’d rather be naked.’”

“It just took off from there,” he recalls. “I brought thirty shirts with me, and I sold all of them. It paid for my weekend.” Jason says that his idea soon evolved as he threw more of himself into his work.

“I was working through my own transition and my own mental health issues, so I just fully and completely lived by ‘I’d rather be naked,’ that statement,” he says. “As I’ve grown, the company has grown.”

So too has his activism. Jason’s willingness to give back led to his co-founding of a not-for-profit in Sarasota called Trans Act, which organizes “peaceful protest through public service.” The group works to preserve area beaches and nature preserves, to help the homeless and assist “all parts of the local community.”

“The biggest opportunity that I get is that it’s a way to reach out to more transgender people who don’t necessarily have anyone they can talk to,” he says, “because I am always open to talk.”

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