Meet Jaimie Wilson, the trans model proving not all transitions look the same
Exactly one week after launching his Instagram account in 2015, musician and model Jaimie Wilson got his first shot of testosterone.
Since then, Wilson has been been unabashedly honest with his 150,000 followers about what transitioning looked like for him, posting pictures of himself from years ago alongside current images. But what he wants to make sure everyone knows is that no transition looks the same.
"I am posting this picture to show that not everyone has to show 'signs' to be transgender," Wilson wrote. "You don't have to pass a test to prove you're trans ... and you sure as hell don't need anyone's approval but your own. This life is about finding yourself and becoming you. No one's journey is the same ... so stop comparing yourself to others."
This idea that transgender people show "signs" of being trans is something Wilson has personally experienced.
"When I came out, people refused to believe I was a man because of how 'feminine' I presented for 18 years," Wilson said in his Instagram post. "So why am I posting this comparison? Because I want people to see it doesn't matter what some[one] looks like ... if someone has the guts to tell you, 'I'm transgender,' 'I'm gay,' 'I'm bisexual,' anything like that, please believe them and be there for them because stereotypes need to be broken."
"I wanted to make that statement because for a long time when I was transitioning, I thought maybe I wasn't like the other guys," Wilson said in an interview with Mic. "I wanted to break open the stereotypes. You are who you say you are."
As Wilson, 21, mentioned on Instagram, the stereotype that there are "signs" someone is trans is something he experienced when he decided to come out to family and friends years ago.
"I got a lot of negative feedback when I first came out, and everyone was so concerned about why I cut my long pretty hair off," Wilson said. "People were essentially telling me that they cared more about my looks than my happiness."
Why does this stereotype even exist? Wilson thinks it stems from the idea that different people realize their transness at different periods of their life, which affects when some people start experimenting with more feminine, masculine or nonbinary expression.
"I think everyone finds who they really are at a different part in their life," Wilson said. "If I had a family that was more accepting, I would have come out earlier, had my hair shorter earlier and been more comfortable being myself. But I didn't have that, so I was feminine."
With such a massive fanbase and platform, Wilson hopes to continue helping people like him, people who may be struggling to find their way in a world that already has expectations for what their transition should look like. In addition to the stereotype that trans people "show signs," Wilson wants to demystify the idea that every trans person goes through gender confirmation surgery and other transition-related health care, which isn't always true.
"You don't know what someone else is going through," Wilson said. "I had a lot of messages from parents of trans kids, saying, 'I didn't believe my kid was trans and seeing this made me finally believe them.' Those messages really move me."