Transgender woman who was found hanged to death ‘hid problems from everyone’, says heartbroken mum
The mum of a young trans woman who was found hanged to death has spoken out about her devastating loss.
20-year-old Jessica Leigh’s body was discovered in her bedroom three weeks ago – a tragedy which her parents said came as a complete shock to them.
Her mum, Jude Coulson, 49, urged others to see her daughter’s story as a warning to be love and accept trans people.
“I want to make people more aware of what it’s like, for people to be more accepting of people whatever their sex, gender, colour,” she told The Mirror.
She said her daughter “was always a happy-go-lucky person.
“It would have been her 21st next month.
“It is so sad because we were always so accepting of who she was.”
Jessica had recently moved to the English town of Doncaster, which Jude said she thought had been good for her daughter.
“We thought everyone was really accepting. She had friends and a social life.
“But we just did not know what was going on. She seemed fine to us but there must have been something else under the surface.
“She hid it from everyone,” Jude added.
“Even when she lived with people trained to spot these things, she spoke to a transgender group and they didn’t notice anything either.
“When we found out and told people, everyone was devastated. They didn’t expect it.”
Jessica had a blog on Facebook, which contains a letter she wrote about her “dream” of transitioning.
The letter, posted online last year and titled “my life is my life”, appears to be addressed to her parents.
She wrote: “All my life I have been very sad, lonely and depressed, all because I am in the wrong body.”
Jessica added that “all my dreams, thought and hopes involve me being who I really am – a girl.
“You may think when I have told you who I really am that you have lost a son, but then you (will) see that you have gained something else: a daughter called Jessica Lucy Leigh.”
She continued: “Please can you just accept me as who I really am.
“Please allow (me) to go through all the stages so I can transition into a girl.
“Me transitioning will bring joy, happiness, laughter, hope and love into my life.”
Her stepfather Steve, 52, said Jessica was “bright and she was bubbly.
“She loved her bike, she loved doing art and she loved animals.
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“It was completely heart-breaking,” he added.
“She seemed like she was someone who was loving life.
“People messaged my wife on Facebook when they found out, saying ‘God I miss her’.
“We will all be getting together and making a toast and celebrating Jess. You just don’t want anybody else to go through this.”
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.