Canadian country singer Jade Mya has decided to speak out about being transgender.
When Jade Mya was 11 or 12, she remembers a morning when her stepfather stopped her before school because he thought her outfit — a baggy white sweater dress slung over black tights — was too provocative.
The issue wasn’t that the modest ensemble was revealing but instead that Mya had grown up identifying as a boy.
“He got really upset,” Mya recalls. “I still remember that day, him sitting me down, being like: ‘You can’t dress like that. You can’t go to school like that.’ He was freaking out.
“I remember talking back and saying, ‘I’ll go to school like this if I want to. This is comfortable. I like this. I’m different.’”
Perhaps that conversation looms large for Mya because it set so many things in motion; first, the concerned parents who “you could always hear talking at night,” then 18 months of weekly therapy, followed by consultation after consultation with doctors. Finally, she began to transition at 15 years old. Doctors told her she was the youngest person in Canada ever to do so.
Or perhaps she remembers that conversation so clearly now, at age 25, because it was an early instance of Mya retaining the resolve to be herself.
I’m a strong person. I’m like a brick wall. You can’t push me down.”
Several of the songs from her debut are borrowed from the country soap Nashville, a show that doubles as an “addiction” for Mya, who says she’s watched all four seasons seven times each. Particularly, she was moved by a storyline revolving around a rising country star who came out as gay before being dropped by his label.
“I sort of relate to him,” Mya says. “He just came out and was afraid of losing his fan base, which is still a fear in the back of my mind: people not being OK with it.
“But honestly, I’m still OK with it. I love being the person I am. I’m proud to be this person. I want people to see it’s OK to be the person you are.”