Transgender teen Jamie Raines has become a YouTube star after he documented his transition from a girl to a man.
Jamie, who stars in LifeStyle YOU's new documentary Born in the Wrong Body: Girls to Men, airing November 26 at 8:30pm, has captured his transition by taking a selfie every day for three years.
The 21-year-old was just 18 when he decided to start his transition by taking the hormone testosterone to start changing his appearance.
While the physical changes were subtle at first, Jamie soon started to see his face and physical features change.
Here, Jamie talks about documenting his transition on TV and how the experience changed him.
Q: Describe the reaction to your video being released. Were you surprised?
It’s been overwhelmingly positive (ignoring some YouTube comments, haha). I’ve seen countless lovely comments where it’s been published and have received positive messages myself.
I was very surprised! I had no idea it would get the amount of attention it did, and the week after it first went out was very strange and overwhelming (but in a good way).
Q: Why was it so important to you to document your life and changes?
Personally, I wanted to keep a record for myself. I had heard a few people who didn’t keep track saying that they didn’t think hormones had done anything for them (e.g. they felt their voice was the same or their face hadn’t changed).
I put it online because YouTube and Tumblr helped me so much at the start of my transition, I wanted to help others in the same way. I also felt there was a lack (at the time) of guys from the UK, so I wanted to discuss transitioning from that perspective too.
Q: How has life been since taking part in the program?
Subtly different. There’s been an increase in messages I receive, and I’ve had the chance to take part in some awesome things, including things with my University and studies too.
Q: How did you first come to the decision to begin testosterone?
It wasn’t really a decision, I knew who I was, and when I found out what I could do about it, I knew it was right for me to start Testosterone.
Q: What has been the most difficult part of transitioning?
Accepting it. Not just accepting that I was transgender, but also accepting that transitioning could only do so much.
Q: Who has been the most inspirational person in your life throughout transition?
It’s a tie between my family and my girlfriend, just cause of how supportive they have all been. Seeing the way they’ve dealt with my transition and how much easier their support has made it, has been amazing.
Q: How would you suggest others in a similar situation to you deal with negative comments and bullying?
If it’s online, ignore it. They’re not worth your time and replying will only encourage them. In real life, try not to associate with people who don’t accept you (although I know this is easier said than done, as sometimes this comes from family), and surround yourself with a support network. Support is so crucial, whether it be from friends, family, people online, support groups etc. I always remind myself that people will find negative and nasty things to say about anyone and anything, and if they’re being negative towards you because you are transgender, they either don’t understand, or would be negative towards a paper bag if they could.
If negative comments are coming from people you feel need support from such as family, it may be a lack of understanding that’s causing this, not just spite. Time can be the greatest healer, and even those who seem the most unaccepting can come around eventually, as long as they’re open to learning.
Q: What advice would you give to a teenager watching the programme who thinks they might be transgender?
That it’s okay, and first figuring it out/first questioning things can be a very difficult and confusing time, but it won’t be like that forever. I would recommend talking to people about it, either online or in real life, and doing some research on other people’s experiences, what it all means, and what the next steps are for how they’re feeling. People transition differently, and not everyone feels the same, it’s about figuring out who you are and what makes you comfortable.
Check out the time lapse video of Jamie's transition above.
Born in the Wrong Body: Girls to Men airs tonight at 8:30pm on LifeStyle YOU.