Social media has plenty of pros and cons, but we love when it’s used to spread positivity. It’s an undeniably powerful tool, and one transgender man is using Instagram to document his transition in revealing before-and-after images. These aren’t your average selfies, and we are so here for the message behind these photos.
Jaimie Wilson, a 21-year-old aspiring musician from Florida, is sharing the photos to show others that no transition is the same. Jaimie told Cosmopolitan.com about what he has gone through for much of his life, and it’s both heartbreaking and inspiring.
Jaimie says, “I knew from an early age that I felt ‘different’ but growing up in a religious household I was sheltered — I didn’t really know anything about being transgender. I just remember being as young as 5 and thinking I was going to grow up to be a guy.” He knew that he was male by the time he was 15, but his mom was only supportive of his sexual orientation.
“My mom actually said to me ‘I don’t care if you like girls but why do you have to dress like a man?’ It really wasn’t about my sexual orientation…rather the way I wanted to present myself.”
When he went on to cut his hair short in high school, his family were not welcoming of the change, and he moved in with an LGBT friend. Jaimie also faced outsider opinions in the town where he lived, telling Cosmo, “Everyone in my town knew me as this beautiful country girl. When I started transitioning people couldn’t believe it…they thought I was having a mental breakdown or something. People thought I was a freak.”
In 2015, he began transitioning, and found support through LGBT friends and online communities, like Instagram, saying that online photos “gave me hope that I could physically change my features, and [an understanding of] how much testosterone can change someone.”
Although he generally receives positive support from the trans community, some have left comments telling him they think he’s trying to be “too masculine” or “binary,” but he’s trying to send the message that no two transitions look the same.
“People need to stop comparing results. I’m not trying to act like anything I’m not. This is just me…I want people to see it doesn’t matter what someone looks like. If someone has the guts to tell you ‘I’m transgender’ [or] ‘I’m gay’ [or] ‘I’m bisexual,’ anything like that, please believe them and be there for them because stereotypes need to be broken.”
We applaud Jaimie for sharing his story with the world, and we’re confident it will help so many others who may be struggling.