Clattering bones (AKA Jess Cook) is the Youth Programs Director at Side by Side (formerly ROSMY), an organization serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth. Jess has a BFA in Studio Art from Baylor, an MFA in Photography from North Texas, and a Master of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond.
In their professional life, Jess’s approach to youth programming is pretty straightforward: create a space where young people can safely articulate who they are, give them the opportunity to explore that identity, and celebrate the diversity of personalities that make a community unique. Every day the cinder-block building that houses the organization becomes a sacred space where lives are transformed through conversations that offer the youth something that many of them cannot find anywhere else: the opportunity to belong.
As a queer person currently in the process of ordination in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Jess is drawn to conversations about the gap between the “queer” world and the “church” world (including why that gap exists), and is deeply invested in ways we might create spaces where those worlds overlap. Jess spends much of their time trying to figure out why the gap exists in the first place, and wondering what it would be like if we allowed ourselves to see every person we meet as a child of God, how we might live into the notion that our religious experience can make us more.