7 Questions – Jayne
Jayne has asked us not to link to her personal social media. Like so many others, she simply doesn’t feel safe. All the more reason to appreciate that she nonetheless chose to share some of her story here. Welcome Jayne, and thank you!
What’s your name? Chosen or otherwise?
Since April 15th 2011, my legal name has been Jayne. It’s actually evolved from my former male name, which, oddly enough also started with the letter J. As I was starting to come out as trans online in early 2008, and I really had no idea where I was headed (I sure as hell didn’t expect to transition!), someone suggested that I become known as Jay. For a time it worked as a gender neutral name while I started figuring out who I actually was. Some time later, maybe a year or so, I adopted the more feminine spelling, thus becoming Jaye. Fast forward another year or so, and I was advised during a speech therapy session that I should pick a name that was exclusively female. The N was added and it has stuck ever since.
During my time online, some people knew me as Jayne, and to others as Jayney, so my user name for a number of sites, including Twitter, became Jayne Jayney, prompting questions about my musical taste. And no, I’m not a particularly big Bowie fan!
Who has been most supportive of your transition?
It’s impossible to name one person! With the exception of my ex wife, and that’s understandable really, all of my family and work colleagues have been 100% accepting. I didn’t really have any close friends before transition, so I was at least spared the pain of losing any.
If you were to ask me who most surprised me by their support, I can probably whittle it down to three. Firstly, my dad – I had no idea how he would react, but it really didn’t faze him at all. And then, two of the guys at work. The two I was most worried about turned out to be among the most supportive.
What do most enjoy about your life since beginning transition? That is, what are some of the things you love doing now, that you couldn’t do before?
There is obviously the freedom that comes with not having to hide, but you’ve heard that one so many times already….
One really good part is seeing the jigsaw puzzle that is my life, slowly falling into place. Until about 5 years ago, I could only see the edges, but since then the picture is becoming clearer and clearer and a lot of things now make sense. Just a few pieces left now – surgery, and (I hope) finding someone to share my life with.
Who are your trans role models?
Not really sure I have any to be honest. Being a micro electronics engineer, if I had to name someone, I suppose it would be Lynn Conway. For anyone that doesn’t know, she transitioned in the late 60’s having been a key member in the development of superscalar technology at IBM, and was fired for transitioning. After that, she developed VLSI technology – that’s the method used to put billions of transistors onto a chip. So without her, computers, and technology in general, could still be stuck in the 70’s or 80’s. And I suspect trans awareness would be too, simply because so many of us find our way using the internet.
One other name springs to mind. Nikki Williams, who was involved with the Gender Trust charity a few years ago. Probably the reason I’m still here.
What change(s) would you most like to see in the world?
I’d like to see acceptance and full equality, not just for trans people, but for anyone that doesn’t fit the norm. The freedom for everyone to live their lives without prejudice, discrimination or fear of attack. World peace too.
What am you doing to make those changes happen?
For trans awareness, I believe it’s important to be visible in society. I may not go shouting about being trans, but it’s no secret either. I’m openly trans, so if someone asks questions, I’ll answer them provided they aren’t too personal. That way, people can see that I actually live a fairly normal life, and maybe they will realize the difficulties that trans people face. For many people, I’m the first trans person they’ve knowingly had contact with, and I’ve heard many say that I’ve changed their perception of trans people. I also try to help other trans whenever I can, sometimes that’s online – twitter for example, or meeting up with someone that isn’t quite out yet, and proving that it is possible to simply blend in to the crowd.
World peace might be a bit more difficult. Can I sort the discrimination thing first please?
Tell us something unique or special about you?
I’m just me! Not sure there’s anything particularly unique. My career has consisted of working with electronics and hydraulics/pneumatics. I rarely, if ever, encounter anyone, male or female, that has expertise in both of those fields.