Thursday 13 February 2014

Interview with Jade Porchett

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Jade Porchett, a video blogger and pageant queen that documents her transition on YouTube. Hello Jade!
Jade: Hi Monika! Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share my story and thoughts with the world!
Monika: Could you say a few words about yourself?
Jade: I am a pre op transsexual woman currently working as a Showgirl and Visual Merchandiser for Hallmark and Proactiv! I reside in Jonesboro, AR with my two kitties and best friend! I am also a pageant competitor and thriving YouTube blogger as well!
Monika: Why did you decide to share your transition details on YouTube?
Jade: Being a motivation and inspiration to others is very important to me! I felt by documenting my transition, that it would not only help out those individuals struggling with coming to terms with themselves, but it would also better educate those that aren’t familiar with transsexuals, their struggles, and their complete stories! I knew by doing so that I would be able to touch and inspire someone!

Before a show at Spectrum Memphis.

Monika: At which stage of the transition are you right now?
Jade: I’m am still very early in my transition! I began to grow my hair and have facial laser hair removal in September on 2012 after the murder of my mother. I felt life was too short and I needed to make myself happy because we aren‘t promised tomorrow!
I sought out gender therapy in February of 2013 and visited a doctor and started hormone replacement therapy in April of 2013! I have now been on HRT for a little over 9 months! I haven’t had any surgeries yet but boy I do look forward to it! Lol 
Monika: Are you satisfied with the results of the hormone therapy?
Jade:. Hormone therapy has been very beneficial to me and I am very pleased with the results thus far! My body development has happened fairly rapidly! I am about to start a different medication to achieve more drastic results so I am really excited about that!
Monika: Could you describe your childhood? When did you feel for the first time that you should not be a boy or man?
Jade: Growing up was very difficult for me. I come from a broken home and I was raised in poverty by my grandmother from a very young age. It sounds sad, but to me it was actually a blessing in disguise. My grandmother was a lesbian so she was much more supportive of my feminine characteristics than my father would have ever been.
When I was around 3 years of age I knew I was different than my brothers and the other males around me. All of my interests seemed to be female related. I wanted to play with my Barbies, easy bake oven, and put on makeup while my brother was rough housing in the yard and playing football. Of course I was too young to know what was going on with me at that time.
There was a time during my grammar school years that I identified as a girl. My giving name is Tim, but everyone in my neighborhood thought my name was Kim!! My hair was grown out to my shoulders, I wore girl tights, and girl ked shoes! I would play with my ribbon dancer in the front yard and do flips as if I was on the women’s US gymnastics team! All of my friends were female as well! SO, I have ALWAYS known I was different, but I didn’t know what transgender meant until I got older!
Monika: For most of transgender girls, the most traumatic time is the time spent at school, college or university when they had to face lots of discrimination. Was it the same in your case?
Jade: Yes. This was definitely my case. I HATED going to school, having to talk in class, and even recess. I was very feminine and a lot of kids would make fun of the clothing that I wore and even the way that I walked and talked. When I was younger I had a very high pitch female ranged voice. Too bad I didn’t transition then! Lol it would save me a lot of money and I would be able to avoid voice surgery!

With her drag husband at an event at L&G.

Besides having a few girl friends I was very much a loner as a child because of being so different. My family actually relocated cities in my middle school years so I could attend a better school were teasing would be less crucial.
In my middle school years I also made up an excuse and went to a Doctor and told him I had lower back problems so I would receive a Doctor’s note to get out of gym class so I wouldn’t have to embarrass myself in front of my piers with my prissy ways.
I became more comfortable with myself during my high school years and even was the first “male” cheerleader of my high school and featured in American Cheerleader Magazine! High School wasn’t as bad I would say but there were still some issues.
Monika: Are there any transgender role models that you follow?
Jade: My main transgender role model would be the late Erica Andrews, however, that steams mostly from an entertainment background and perspective! I always thought she was the epitome of beauty and professionalism! I also look up to Laverne Cox! I think she is a great representation of the transgender community and very eloquently spoken!!
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Jade: The hardest thing about me coming out would definitely be the fear of loosing my domestic partner of 10 years. When we began dating I became a female impersonator which he wasn’t very pleased with. With that being said I knew by me telling him that I wanted to in fact be female the outcome wouldn’t be good. It was a learning experience for both of us; we love each other very much, and we are more like best friends now. 
Where our relationship is when I am further along in transition is to be determined. It was so difficult because he has been with me through so many of the toughest times of my life including: my grandmother’s death, a four month long bed ridden depression, my mother’s murder, me coming out as transgender, etc. so my best friend isn’t somebody that I wanted to loose. In fact, it was the time I needed him the most.
Monika: What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women in your country?
Jade: Unfortunately the statistics are high in the US as they are all over the world. The biggest concern is that we are so affected by society that 49% of transgender people at one point in their lives attempts suicide and in the US 1 in 12 transgender people is murdered.
That shows that there is still a lot of educating that needs to be done. Above all else, putting gender aside, we are HUMAN BEINGS and that is how we deserve to be treated and viewed as! Fact is majority of society is close minded. If we can remain strong and stick together then we can change the minds of the world! Maybe not EVERYBODY, but SOMEBODY!

With her child Alex.

Monika: We are witnessing more and more transgender ladies coming out. Unlike in the previous years some of them have status of celebrities or are really well-known, just to mention Lana Wachowski in film-directing, Jenna Talackova in modelling, Kate Bornstein in academic life, Laura Jane Grace in music or Candis Cayne in acting. Do you witness the same trend?
Jade: It does seems that the transgender population in the US is becoming stronger and more ladies are coming out! There have been quite a few trans women come out on television in the past few years in the US including: Ari from Project Runway All Stars and Monica Beverly Hills of RuPaul’s Drag Race just to name a few!
Not only are they coming out because of exposure, but I have had quite a few trans women and men come out to me since I began transition! So every trans person is a role model to another going through the struggle whether they know it or not! As long as we have proud trans people in the community that are public, we will have more and more of them accepting themselves , coming out, and living happier lives!!
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Jade: There are two thing I don’t speak about! One is religion! The other is politics! Lol However, EVERYONE has a voice! Whether your voice is heard is up to you! If trans women speak up then there is no way for them not to be heard BUT may be ignored. I do know that the UK has an openly transgender parliamentarian and it’s the ones that are actually on the inside that can probably make the most difference in politics!
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Jade: I LIVE for fashion! My style is very sexy, classy, and trendy! I do like to stand out and my favorite colors are red and black! Trendy dresses and fitted jeans with stilettos are my favorites! I’m not much of a label whore and you don’t need expensive brands to look like a million bucks! I’m living proof!
Monika: What do you think about transgender beauty pageants?
Jade: Transgender beauty pageants are FABULOUS!! I actually hold 3 titles right now myself! Pageants are a way for trans women to showcase their talents and creativity!
They also give us an outlet for self expression! Especially for pre op girls! It is becoming more accepting for the post op girls to participate in “real” beauty pageants these days, but let me say, I think the transgender and drag beauty pageants take ALOTTT more work! Lol

That Lady in Red!

Monika: Are you involved in the life of your local LGBT community?
Jade: I currently reside in Jonesboro, AR but I am involved in the life of the LGBT community in my hometown of Memphis, TN! There I work at one of the largest nightclubs in the city and serve as Miss Heart of Memphis, Miss Lady Memphis, and Miss Spectrum Memphis Emeritus! Also, a former Miss Queen of Memphis! I participate in many benefits that different organizations hold throughout the year in the city! I even held one of my own last year as Miss Heart of Memphis!
Monika: What would you recommend to transgender women that are afraid of early transition, discrimination and hatred?
Jade: My recommendation to trans women on early transition is the earlier the better! The older you get the less effective HRT is! Not only that, but the sooner you transition the happy you will be and the longer you will get to be on this planet more content and in a better state of mind! Also, do it the right way!
I personally do not recommend self medicating, although I know sometimes it is needed out of desperation, and illegal silicone injections. Both are very dangerous and it is important to have your estrogen and testosterone levels monitored by a licensed professional! Seek out therapy! Make sure you are making the right decision!
My recommendation on being afraid of discrimination and hatred is that it simply can’t be avoided. You just have to be strong and know that you will not live up to your true potential in life unless you take the next step and be the TRUE you! Don’t rush it and make sure you have a good support system. If you don’t have anyone personally, there is usually a support group for transgender people at he local LGBT Community Center! Love yourself first, then allow others to love you!! 
Monika: What is your next step in the present time and where do you see yourself within the next 5-7 years?
Jade: Right now I am really concentrating on ME!! I’m trying really hard to not rush my transition, although it really does become your life! I would still like to participate in larger competitions such as Miss Continental, Universal Show Queen, and Miss Entertainer of the Year!
I modeled in my previous life and would like to get back into that as well if I’m not too old after transition! lol Hopefully in the next 5-7 years I will have completed my transition, at least reached half of my goals, and live a normal life as a woman with a normal career and be madly in love with someone that completely accepts me for me!! That would be my ideal!
Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Jade: I think I still have a lot of growing to do both internally and externally! Over all I am much happier knowing that I am taking the correct steps in becoming TRULY content! I know in the end I will flourish and be everything that God set out for me to be! I am happy now, but there are definitely brighter days in my future!!!
Monika: Jade, it was a pleasure to interview you. Thanks a lot!

All the photos: courtesy of Jade Porchett.
© 2014 - Monika Kowalska

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