Jessica-Rose’s story

Jessica-Rose is one of Mind in Bradford’s longest-serving volunteers, and in July last year, she started her journey as a transgender woman. Almost a year later, we spoke to Jessica about her coming out experience and the positive impact it has had on her mental health. 

When did you first start to question your gender identity?

For 20 years I have been questioning my gender and that has impacted my mental health quite negatively. I found it hard to accept that I was a woman and I didn’t know if society would accept me. I had hidden it for so long and now I can look back and understand that that’s where most of my mental health issues stemmed from. Since I came out in July last year my mental health has been amazing. I can’t say that I’m fully better, but I am in such a better place.

How did you find your transition?

I found the transition quite easy because of the people I have around me. There’s a group in Saltaire, called Queer Saltaire and they were incredibly supportive. I’ve taken the transition step by step over the last 12 months. My community has helped me so much. Having a support system is so important. We’ve all got somebody who we can just message, or meet up with to have a chat. I can go on nights out and socialise and be completely myself.

What was the most difficult part of your transition?

Changing my name from David to Jessica-Rose was one of the biggest things for me, and it is still something my family is coming to terms with. When my mum and dad were expecting me, they thought they were having a girl, and had chosen the name Jessica. Growing up we had rose bushes in the garden, so that part is in memory of my dad, who passed away 20 years ago. I’m not sure how he would have responded to my transition. He was a proper Yorkshireman and we did everything together. I’m sure he would just have wanted me to be happy.

How has your life changed since the transition?

For a long time, I have struggled with anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) was also a huge of my life. Since the transition, I have had so much more peace of mind. I no longer experience suicidal thoughts and I feel more confident in myself. It feels as if so much weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

What is one piece of advice you would give to a young person in the LGBTQ+ community?

My piece of advice to young people in the community would be to talk. There are lots of fantastic groups around Leeds and Bradford where you can find your people. If I could have told myself one thing before my transition it would be to believe in yourself and believe in your community. You may worry that people are going to turn against you, but that’s not true. Everyone at my workplace, at Mind in Bradford, and in other areas of my life has been so accepting and kind. All the volunteers at Mind in Bradford have completely accepted my identity, which has only built my confidence more. I’m excited to attend Pride this year to celebrate the love that everyone has for each other in this community.

Find mental health support

We’re here for you. All of our services at Mind in Bradford support people in the LGBTQ+ community. See a full list of our services here.

Yorkshire MESMAC

Yorkshire MESMAC Bradford supports LGBTQ+ people in the areas of mental health and sexual health, and also supports anyone living with HIV and their families. They offer a range of mental health and wellbeing services, including counselling, 1-2-1 support, group sessions and training.

Yorkshire MESMAC

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Posted on: 20th June 2024

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