Jess Trend: As Soon As I Started to Be Exactly Who I Am, It Was Like Fireworks

Jess Trend
Instagram @jessstrend

For the fifth year in a row, POPSUGAR is dedicating the month of June to recognising LGBTQIA+ voices, having honest conversations about sexuality and gender, and honouring individuality, through personal essays and allyship guidance. A roster of contributors along with the POPSUGAR team are sharing these stories throughout the month, so be sure to find all our pieces here.

The age I came out, I was around 20 years old. And back then, it wasn’t as if there wasn’t support, there just wasn’t a lot of education. And it was more just a battle within your mind.

When I came out, my friends actually turned to me and said, ‘Oh, we’ve known this all along. We were just waiting for you to feel comfortable to share with us.’

My brothers were absolutely brilliant. They didn’t even think twice about it. They’ve been supportive from the get-go, and so has Mum. My dad took a little bit of time to adjust — he was never rude and never made me feel uncomfortable. I guess it was just because I had dated boys in the past, so that was for him to kind of work out on his own journey and now with my partner, Rhiannon, and with my past partners, he has just been amazing. He’s just so happy for me. 

Keeping the Real in Reality TV

One thing that I definitely wanted to ensure when I entered the Big Brother house was being exactly who I am. And it might seem small to some people, but that meant that I wore what I wanted to wear, with my shaved sides — that’s representing exactly who I am.

I think having that figure on national TV helps young individuals to look at that and think: ‘Wow, she really owns exactly who she wants to be and who she feels comfortable with. And maybe I can do that as well.’ 

Remember What Comes First

Something that I really try to preach to younger people is that you need to find someone that you know you can trust wholeheartedly [when coming out], and then I think it’s one little step at a time.

That person might be your best friend, your mum, your dad, somebody with who you really have a very close relationship with. And it’s just the small steps of opening up to them. If it is a person that you trust wholeheartedly, they should be amazing.

But also a bit of advice is that you have to remember that not everyone will be supportive, and that’s okay because you have to remember they are on their own journey. Hopefully, in time, they will come around but if not, you have to really ensure that your well being comes first and you save your energy.

I think education is definitely important. But I think it’s just as important to look after yourself and your wellbeing, because that’s the most important thing in life. 

Like Fireworks Going Off

[Coming out and living authentically] It’s probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt inside my little heart.

It was no one’s fault but my own that in high school, I guess I tried to be a sheep and follow the crowd. I don’t regret doing it, I just wish that I realised sooner that I wasn’t that person.

And as soon as I started to be exactly who I am… I describe it like fireworks going off in the middle of your body. Just, excitement and fulfilment that you’re finally who you are, and who you want to be.

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