Jordan Gray from The Voice opens up about how she’s happier now than ever before!
We still can’t believe that none of the judges turned for 27 year old Jordan Gray on tonight’s episode of The Voice. What were they thinking, eh? Well, we reckon gorge Jord has a big future ahead of her, so we hooked up with the singer songwriter from Essex to chit chat about appearing on the show, being a transgender woman and finding love.
We still can’t believe those judges didn’t turn for you. They must have been deaf! Were you devastated.
It was heartbreaking. I don’t think I have ever cried as much as I did, not since I was 14 when I broke up with a girlfriend. On the train journey home I just couldn’t stop crying because it meant so much to me and I put in so much work. At the same time, singing Bob Dylan’s Just Like A Woman is such a beautiful song and I’m glad I went out singing a song that I really believed in.
It must have been like having the rug pulled from under you. Did you lose confidence?
I am one of those people who attaches their self worth to their career. I was devastated. For two or three days, I just didn’t want to do anything. But then I thought enough was enough, pulled myself together and started on another album.
Well, you have a talent, and noone can take it away from you.
Paloma always says ‘no’s’ should fuel you, it will keep you going.
Jordan, you’d been performing for ten years, why did you decide to go this route now?
People have always told me to do shows like this and I had taken part in the odd one over the years but nothing ever came of then. But The Voice, I thought might have been different because it has bit of integrity. And now as a transgender performer I like the fact that people weren’t judging me, they are judging me on my voice – a voice with no image connected to it and that really appealed to me.
Well, the whole premise is all about basing an opinion on what we hear regardless of who people are.
Yes, and I’m sure there are people who are on the show who, in the past , probably never had the confidence to enter shows because they thought they weren’t traditionally beautiful enough to do it. But this show puts us all an even playing field.
On the show you said that when you were younger you didn’t feel like a girl or like a boy either.
I knew I just didn’t feel right. I was a trans child but it took me until a little bit later before I got to realise who I really was.
What were you feeling when you were a child to make you think something wasn’t right?
I guess I had a deep sense of sadness when I knew things should be fine. And that sadness becomes a dullness. I distinctly remember thinking as I grew up believing life would be better than this. You know, your parents tell you that life is going to be like Disneyland and I believed that! But it wasn’t. I’d look at other kids and think how come some people live their lives like Disneyland and are happy when I am miserable.
Why do you think you felt so unhappy?
I felt excluded. I didn’t feel like a boy. I never felt part of that boys’ world. I never got picked for teams, for example. Then I was attracted to girls, as I am now, but never felt like I could join in with the girls in the way they were joining in with each other. So I guess I felt this sense of exclusion, that I didn’t fit in anywhere. You feel lonely and you become an awkward kid, cos you just don’t fit anywhere. The feelings of exclusion was tough. At the time, I was very into science so I buried my head in a book and become a library kid.
Was there any one along the way you could express your concerns to?
My parents are wonderful, but I didn’t really say anything until I was 20. I didn’t discover what transgenderism was until my late teens and then it was like a light bulb that went on and thought ‘I’m a girl.’ As I am deeply into science I looked into it straightway and researched it. I know more about my blood now that most people do. I adore the science of it. When I discovered that I could transition with medicine, I thought this is what I was going to do.
Before you found out about the possibility of becoming a transgender woman, did you experience any mental health issues during this process of not being able to express yourself?
I did have issues with mental health. I am not a well person. But I am better now. But during the dark times, between 15 and 18, I was denying myself and the behaviours that I wanted. I had a condition called Persisting Perception Disorder. I lost touch of reality, it was scary and upsetting. But because I am scientific person I researched it and made sure my brain was as healthy as it could be. But it was all tied to self-denial. I was holding so much in, that it expressed itself in other ways. Like when you don’t get enough sleep and you start seeing things,. But I am much, much better now.
How did your family react to you wanting to transition?
Mum is a wonderful – she is a lesbian. She was like ‘that’s okay, what kind of woman do you want to be?’ Which is a lovely question. Dad’s a great guy too, but he’s a northerner and he doesn’t quite understand it all. But he’s getting there. And I love that he is trying. He did a really nice thing recently – I came home one day and he had painted the spare room pink. What a lovely sweet thing to do.
As your mum’s a lesbian, you must have known you were opening up to an accepting family.
My parents were divorced when I was young but yes I knew my family is very accepting. I’m not naïve to the fact that I am lucky! A lot of transgender children don’t have supportive families. But I grew up in Thurrock and it’s not an easy place to live as a teenager as a transgender person.
Before you started the transition process, did you have to have therapy?
I went to see the doctor with confidence and told him I was transgender. That’s what you must do. Have confidence. If your doctor disagrees, he will ask you questions. That’s their job. You don’t get given a pill straight away. But I had a quick process as I had done my research.
So what happens after the initial consultation?
You have to be living as a woman for two years and I’ve been on hormones for one year. I started on the day before my birthday. It’s like a rebirth. In fact, this year, my friends bought me a first birthday muffin with one candle in it to celebrate my first year of taking hormones.
I will be on this medication for life as I probably won’t opt for gender reassignment.
Oh, how come?
Because as far as I can see it will not affect my life. I have a girlfriend who’s happy with the state of my physicality. I don’t have sexual interactions with my genitals. They don’t interfere with my everyday life as a woman. I will take the pills for the rest of my life and will soon begin injections to stop producing testosterone.
We’re living in a time when transgender men and women are spoken a lot about more openly. Do you think people are more understanding now?
I go into schools to talk about gender as part of a campaign called Educate and Celebrate. Toddlers kind of get it straightaway. I went in to one school recently where there was a 7 year old transgender girl. And her four year old classmate, who was a boy, said: ‘Jessie’s a girl and she wants to be a girl. And I am a boy and I want to be boy.’ And that was that! Young minds are very accepting. It’s teenagers who are harder to get through to. To go in to a secondary school would be terrifying. But it’s good to educate these kids when they are young.
And it’s people like yourself who are open about being transgender that helps young people understand.
I really hope people can identify with me. I mean I come from a normal background, I never went to private school or anything.
There’s been some debate about whether transgender men and women should be labeled as transgender or merely as men and women?
I can’t speak for every transgender person but there are many out there that are proud to carry that label because of all the hard work they’ve gone through. I am a woman, I see my self as a woman, but I am quite happy to be an example and have the word transgender associated with me. Everyone is different. I’m not offended by the prefix, but I do see myself as a woman.
So what does the future hold for you?
I’d carry on producing music, I with a band right now too. But I’d like to present TV shows. I’d like to act, too! I want to do what no transgender has done before – to be a transgender woman playing a man’s role. That’d be something.
EastEnders have just cast their first transgender male actor but Coronation Street was initially criticised for casting a cis-gender actress in the role of transgender character Hayley
I have no problem with cis-gender actors taking on transgender roles at all. I really enjoyed Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl. He was incredible. If we want equality then we have to believe in equality. Life should be one big, melting pot as Ricky Jervais would say.
You have a girlfriend – how are you spending Valentine’s day this year?
We met last autumn at the Sparkle Festival and its going well. She’s cis-gender. We won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day. We are not traditional so we will probably just continue to give each other presents as we do every day. She lives far away so we don’t see each other often enough. But I ‘m having a great time with her. Life is good.
Follow Jordan at https://twitter.com/Talldarkfriend