Jackie Green made history recently being the first trans woman to enter the Miss England competition, and hopes to use the prestige of the pageant to stand up for trans rights, and against transphobia.
Now she speaks to PinkNews.co.uk about Miss England, Lady Gaga, her aspirations, goals and love life.
Did you have any doubts about entering the competition, given the discrimination you have experienced in the past?
No. I didn’t even think about not being accepted into the competition. I felt and still feel that I deserve just as much a chance to compete as anyone else. I am a woman (or a ‘Miss’ for the sake of the competition) and no one can tell me otherwise.
What would it mean to you to win Miss England and in what ways will you use the exposure of the competition to get your positive message across?
To win Miss England would be beyond amazing. To be honest just being in the quarter finals feels great, and to be competing with other beautiful girls just confirms to me more that I deserve to be in the competition.
I want to promote the charity Mermaids because it helped me and my family through a lot of hardship. I met some amazing people in similar situations to me which made me feel less alienated. I hope to be a role model for kids struggling with gender issues. There are not many people for them to look up to and thus they fear for what might happen to them. I want to show people that trans people are very normal and that there is hope.
Other than the exposure of competing in Miss England, how do you plan to champion transgender rights, and combat transphobic bullying?
I am working with a organisation called ‘Trans Media Watch’ who aim to guide the media in the way they portray Trans people to ensure that it is fair.
I hope to shed light on trans people so that society can understand we are very normal people and all we wish is to live our lives. We are not hurting anyone, we were simply born a little different, with a defect if you like, and have a right to be comfortable in our own skin and treated as who we are, human beings.
I understand you want to be a model – is there a particular type of modelling you’d like to do?
I want to be a high fashion model for two reasons. I am told that I have a very ‘High Fashion Face’ and I also love how expressive and unique the clothes can be. I love the very ‘out-there’ designs and I feel fashion is an art form and one of the best ways to express yourself.
What would your dream job be?
I would love to model for either Vivienne Westwood or Heatherette and do a shoot with Lady Gaga. I love Gaga. I would also love to get a role in the new show starring Zooey Deschanel, ‘New Girl’. It would also be amazing to appear in ‘Glee’.
What special talents will you bring to the Miss England if you get through to the next heat?
If I was to get through to the semi-finals I would most likely sing. I have sung since I was young and am told I am rather good!
In what ways has the competition boosted your confidence, and what would you say to others who have let low confidence hold them back?
Being in the competition has given me a huge boost of confidence. To see how many people have voted for me and to be in the quarter finals with such gorgeous women is just amazing. I cant even describe how outrageously great this feels. The support from family, friends and strangers who have read my story makes me well up! It is very humbling too.
I feel that at the end of the day if you dont try something then you will probably regret it and what is the worst that can happen? I know that Modelling is a hard business to get into and I know that I will be rejected a lot but I can’t let that stop me.
All you need to know is that you are who you are and you are beautiful both inside and out.
Being the youngest person in the UK to have full gender reassignment surgery, do you have a message for anybody who might feel unsure?
I have always been very sure and known what I wanted and who I am. I will say that if you are unsure because you are worried how people will react and you feel people may think of you as selfish then don’t. Is it not selfish of them to expect you to live in the wrong body knowing how much pain you are in and how much you are suffering? You are who you are and people should be able to accept you for that.
You’ve said that you want to combat transphobic bullying. What would you like to say to anyone experiencing bullying, or more generally bullying of any kind?
It’s not your fault. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Kids (and adults) can be cruel but it is due to fear and ignorance. Stay strong and talk to someone about it. Don’t keep quiet or it will hurt even more.
(Photo: Maxine Heron)
A lot of the time bullying can come from misunderstanding – what would you like to say to the bullies of LGBT people, and what message do you want to get across to people who perpetrate hate crime?
You are not big, you are not clever, all you are doing is making a fool of yourself. I just wish that people could understand that we are all humans, we are not hurting anyone and if we are going to hell, as so many religions say we are, then thats our business and I will go down there knowing I have lived my life how I want to and not fallen to conformity.
How supportive is your boyfriend of you competing in Miss England and how difficult was it to tell him about your choice to have the operation?
He has been amazing. He is very proud of me and loves that he is dating a Miss England contestant and model! It was scary telling him due to the fact that I had received a lot of hatred in my past and so was scared he would run a mile, but he didn’t. He told me he didn’t care because he already had fallen in love with me. We are still going strong at two and a bit years.
How far do you think there is to go in the fight for equality? You’ve talked about not hiding who you are. How important do you think it is that people come forward rather than hiding away?
I think that people need to see how normal we are. I came forward to do that. I am your average teenage girl who has friends, a boyfriend and so on. I go out, I play Xbox and I love to read. I am a normal person just born in the wrong body.