It’s been just over a year since 20-year-old singer songwriter Jaimie Wilson from Ann Arbor, Michigan, cut his hair and came out as transgender.
Jaimie has been transitioning from female to male (F2M) and sadly his parents have not been supportive at all. “My dad would constantly make fun of the way I would dress and ridicule me, and my mom was always crying. They were shocked,” Jaimie told me. “In the end things got so bad that I had to move out, and I moved in with my girlfriend Cassy who I’ve been with for about 2 years.” Cassy was with me pre-transition and has been my number one support system through all of this. I couldn’t have done this without her.”
Jaimie and his mom tried counseling but she insisted they went to a biblical-based counselor. “I don’t think I need to elaborate on how that went,” he said. “So basically we don’t talk anymore. I didn’t see my family for Christmas or my birthday in December, and I wasn’t even invited to thanksgiving.”
In spite of the hardships, Jaimie’s love for music (and Cassy!) has kept him going. Music had always played a large part in Jaimie’s life and he taught himself to play the guitar when he was fifteen. Jaimie began composing and writing his own material and wrote this song “If I Could Go Back” before he started to transition.
But with the process of transitioning and taking testosterone also comes vocal changes, and with the deepening of his voice, Jaimie has had to learn not just to accept, but embrace the changes in the sound of his singing.
“I had read online that sometimes trans guys can never sing well again after taking testosterone and it really scared me,” said Jaimie. “But I felt I needed to be myself so badly that I was willing to take the risk. At one point, I thought I’d lost my singing voice – all my notes were cracking, my throat was constantly sore, and my vocals would cut out completely on higher notes. I was devastated. I thought I’d never be able to sing again. I was so upset!”
However, Jamie was determined not to give up and remained positive. “You have to keep singing, you have to keep practicing in order to retrain your new voice. I’m so glad I didn’t give up, because I wouldn’t be where I am now. I just recorded my newest album down in Nashville and I have several Gigs booked for the next year!”
Jaimie’s cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”
Jaimie has recorded and released several songs (some pre-transition, and two new original songs from his new album post testosterone/voice change) which are available here on iTunes. Check them out!
Meanwhile, Jaimie has been documenting his female to male transition and the changes in his voice on his Instagram, where he has amassed over 14,500 followers.
Having garnered such a large following, Jaimie and Cassy are now using Jaimie’s popularity to give back to the community and have started a foundation called “Trans Exchange”. Trans Exchange is a clothing swap and donation program for members of the transgender, non binary, and gender fluid communities, where 100% of all sales go towards the Trans Exchange Fund which will help transgender individuals with hormone therapy, top surgery, bottom surgery, breast augmentation and other sex reassignment surgeries, as well as name/gender change costs.
“Our goal at Trans Exchange is to provide affordable clothing to those in the community,” said Jaimie. “It can be intimidating and costly to shop for gender specific clothing in public stores. Our foundation offers a safe place to browse & shop without judgement. The inventory we supply is based on new or gently used donations. The donations consist of pre-transition clothing from fellow brothers and sisters. So, whether you are purchasing or donating, your contribution is going towards helping the transgender family.”
Jaimie is now 8 months on T and says he couldn’t be happier. “I can’t believe how fast time flies, and although coming out for me was and still is a huge struggle with my family and friends etc. it’s more than worth every single second to be able to live my life as ME!”