By Liana Jacob
MEET THE inspiring transgender woman who as a child would pray to wake up with female genitalia and who as an adult met her very own Prince Charming who whisked her off her feet by accepting her for who she is.
Assistant manager, Jessie Adelynn Strickland (24), from North Carolina, USA, always felt that she was in the wrong body from a young age, then called Jonathan Curtis Adams, and would pray she would wake up with female genitalia but didn’t act on her feelings until she was 22-years-old, when she began hormone treatments.
Despite having always identified as a female, Jessie didn’t know what ‘transgender’ meant until she began researching terms on Google.
Jessie was upfront with her now husband, Antonio, when they first met and began dating in June 2016 and he supported her throughout her journey of self-acceptance, despite previously dating women in the past.
While she was accepted by her friends, mother and niece, the rest of Jessie’s extended family didn’t take her news as well as they have cut her out of their lives.
This hasn’t stopped Jessie from embracing her brave journey and she has never felt as happy as she is now that she knows who she is.
“I had a really difficult time finding a relationship before I transitioned and never thought I would find love, so I thought it would be even harder after transition,” Jessie said.
“But I was actually proven completely wrong when I met Antonio and I completely love what we have.
“Before I transitioned, I knew there was more to how I felt, but I didn’t know what or how to figure it out. I wanted to know who I was fully without limitations.
“I didn’t realise what ‘transgender’ meant and that I was a transgender until I was twenty-two-years-old. I did hide it for a little while and I hated it.
“I knew I couldn’t hide long so I actually forced myself to come out about needing to transition. I came out to my mother and my niece plus most of my close friends between September 2016 and going into 2017.
“I received mostly all support from that part. However, when I came out on Facebook in 2017 going into the new year, my other family members had seen it and almost all of them except one of my aunts chose to have nothing to do with me, as they disagreed with my transition.
“It hurt a lot at first and I cried for a few hours, but then I realised it was their loss, not mine. I was always the odd ball out of the family anyway. Now I’ve gained a new family that accept me.
“My first signs that made me realise that I was transgender was I started Googling phrases like ‘I’m a boy but I feel like a girl’ or ‘I’m a boy but I like super girly things’.
“I started coming up with results about transgender people. So, I decided to go on YouTube where I spent hours and hours looking up everything I could about what ‘transgender’ was, signs, watching other people’s stories, etc.
“Everything I found fit me and triggered something in me that made me need to know who I was. It also made me realise that looking back into my childhood there were signs since I was as little as five-years-old, but I didn’t understand it at the time.
“It was shrugged off by others that I was just being a child or that I may just grow up to be gay. When I was a child I used to go to sleep every night praying I would wake up with ‘female genitalia’.
“When I would take a bath, I would cover what I had wishing it wasn’t there. I loved barbies, purses, heels, makeup. I was always wishing I could be a female.”
Since her realisation, she has undergone hormone replacement therapy and has since developed breasts, feminine facial features and a feminine body.
Since her transition, she has met her then-boyfriend, Antonio, who has fully supported her transition and they have since got married in February 2018.
“My husband has supported me throughout my entire transition, we met when I was three-months into taking the hormones,” Jessie said.
“He had to completely adjust because I was the first person he had ever dated who was not born a physical woman.
“He has stuck by me through my hormonal changes, while I was growing as a person and a woman and he goes to every appointment I have with my endocrinologist.
“When we first started talking I told him upfront that I was transgender, so he would know everything in the early stages of our relationship.
“He was okay with that and I told him I was on hormones to physically transition which he was okay with. He loved watching me transition and seeing the changes within me. He has been very supportive the entire way.
“All of my friends and family say how much happier I look and how beautifully I’ve transitioned. Before, they used to see someone who was faking their happiness but now they can see in my eyes that I’m truly happy with life now.”
Jessie now plans to have surgery for a full transition such as a breast augmentation, facial feminisation surgery and is considering sex reassignment surgery (SRS).
She explains the toughest part of her journey.
“The hardest thing about this process has been between waiting for changes to happen because you naturally want it all to happen overnight, but it just doesn’t work that way and it takes months before you start to notice major changes,” Jessie said.
“The other hardest part has been just finding out more about myself, new things I like and new ways of getting to live my present self and living as a female full time now.
“I really just wish people would see transgender people as human beings like anyone else. We were born differently, but not in a bad way. We just want to live our lives as normal as any other person.”