For 21-year-old Jaimie Wilson, nothing beats the feeling of rambling along in his custom Jeep Wrangler 4X4, headed for a gig to perform his beloved country music in his adopted home state of Florida.
Shirtless, tanned, fit, and blonde haired, Wilson also is trying to figure out where his path will take him — He wants to make it as a transgender country music star.
Wilson is working on his first CD, but fans can listen to his music via his YouTube page.
“I am a country singer who happens to be trans,” Wilson said during a telephone interview from his home in South Florida. “For me, it is very important to be open about being transgender, I take it as a opportunity to spread awareness.
“There is not much representation of LGBTQ artists in country music like there is in mainstream pop. It would be amazing to change that,” he said.
A Michigan native who grew up in a deeply religious and conservative family, Wilson thought being transgender meant a life of suffering in silence.
“I thought it was something I was just going to have to bury deep and deal with,” Wilson said. “But I woke up one morning and decided I was done living a lie.”
In 2015, Wilson decided to live as his true and authentic self. But his family wasn’t supportive, Wilson said.
“My mom and dad did not react well. There was a lot of crying and confusion. A lot of ridicule. They made it impossible for me to stay with them,” Wilson said.
“My family have progressively gotten worse about my transition, and we no longer have a relationship,” he said.
A short time later, Wilson, who was still in high school, packed up his things and went to the Sunshine State.
“I like sun and water and warm places so moving to Southern Florida made sense,” he said.
DOCUMENTING HIS TRANSITION
Wilson has used social media with numerous, candid, pictorial posts to document his journey. He picked an Instagram handle, Tboy61915, that was his bench mark, the date of his gender confirmation surgery, June 19, 2015. He has more than 200,000 followers.
“I started my medical transition June 19, 2015, and my top surgery in September 2015,” Wilson said. “It was important to me to get top surgery because I didn’t identify with having a female chest. It was an amazing day and a weight off my shoulders.
“I started the page to document my transition and changes. It was extremely helpful and inspiring,” Wilson said. “I wanted to make sure I had a place to document my journey.”
Wilson also hopes people will follow his musical journey. One of his songs, “Soldier,” explores not only the battles people face daily, but also his conflicts as a transgender man.
“I wrote the song to speak to everyone, because whether they show it or not, every single person is going the through struggles in their life. We are all soldiers fighting our own battles,” Wilson said.
Wilson also will keep soldiering in his battle to break into the country music scene.
“I’m not sure exactly what to expect being a trans man trying to break into the country music scene,” Wilson said. “But I grew up on country music, it has a special place in my heart, and I’ll keep singing it until I can’t sing anymore.”