Jessica's Story
Copyright © 2003, Jessica Mills
Jessica Mills (Australia)
aka "Deanna Blake"
Showgirl and homemaker
Dear Lynn,

I am e-mailing you from Brisbane, Australia. I am 39 years old, turning 40 in July this year (2003). I was born male in physical being and female mentally. I have lived as a female with the blessing of my family since 1979.
When I was younger people always said "you are so pretty. You should have been a girl"( Well TaDah!). These days I get told "You should think about having a baby before your clock runs down". I never have the heart to correct them, and usually answer "I have my life-partner Jefrey and my pets. They are enough to clean up after"!
Sixteen years ago I thought I should see what life is life as a male (Bad Idea). It was the most depressing time of my life. As well my mother told me to put some makeup and a dress on as she felt I made a silly looking boy. When I was a baby people used to look at me dressed in blue and say "Ahhh, isn't she a beautiful little girl". So it was inevitable that I would become that girl.

A little bit more about me:
I do hope this enlightens those who don't know me, and shows those who do know me another side of me.
My dad was a interstate truck driver and my mum was a factory worker at an electric appliance factory. I was born in Sydney on the 15th day of July 1963 into a working class family. For those unfamiliar with this place, Sydney is a harbour side city, where Mardi Gras is held each year. I started my schooling there and had the guidance of my mum's sisters and nieces. If environment has anything to do with being transgender, there is an argument for the that hypotheses. In my mind the jury is still out.

In 1968 my parents decided to pack myself, 2 brothers and one sister into the old F.J. Holden and we were on our way north. Brisbane was our destination.
geography lesson two: Brisbane is heaven on earth, we average 11 months of sunshine and 1 month of rain.

I had a very normal childhood.(well, my definition of normal) My father was your typical dad, he wanted me to do sports. I wanted to dance and paint. This did not seem to mind this as he had two other sons and tomboy daughter that were willing to do these things. I still have a very good relationship with him to this day. My mother was a wonderful woman, she passed away from cancer about 5 years ago. As an adult I became very good friends with my mum. During my childhood my mother encouraged me to do what I loved.

I went to school in Mt Gravatt then Inala. I was an over achiever at school (you know....a geek, nerd, etc...). I left school in 1978 feeling I knew better than my teachers.

I found a job in Milton and one Friday night I stumbled on a nice little restaurant call Rowes. I found myself a little bit there. I was taken to another place in Fortitude Valley, The Silver Dollar. Here I found Drag Shows.
By the end of 1978 I was in those Shows. I loved it, I soon went on to work at a club called Kisses. There my look was improved and my talent was nurtured. By this stage of my life I knew I was not a dragqueen. I had found out from a very good friend of mine that I was Transsexual. By this time I was on hormones and living as a female. At the age of 18 I changed my name and threw out the last of the boy's clothes. My next step was obvious.........

Sydney!!!! I went back to the place I was taken from so many years before. I was intrigued with this and wanted to know more. At this time I knew I was different to other boys but could not put my finger on what it was. Slowly from this night I started to come to the realisation that this was the life for me. I did not know yet that there was a name for it. These were the days when being transgender was considered a sickness. I knew I was not sick. I just did not feel like a boy. I was sure I was heading in the right direction.
The day I sat my mum down and told her that I wanted to be a girl, she said it was not a surprise.
She, like my dad never treated me any different. It was as if I was originally born female. I know I am very lucky to have parents like mine. I have found most mothers will except their children's lives more readily than dads do. Fathers have more plans for there sons than there mothers. Mothers tend to want health, happiness and a safe life for their sons. I was my mothers first child. I had an older brother, he was from my dad's first marriage. So there was a closeness between myself and my mum. I have a very close family, We are very supportive and protective of each other.
I was very lucky when I started my journey in the show circuit that the other performers were mostly post-op ladies. I still am in contact with most of them. I am now involved on the management committee of the Australian Transgender Support Association of Queensland.

In this role I will be liaison to Government offices in my district. I am going to be able to be more help to those who don't understand their rights. I also am active in helping teach makeup, clothing and hair. As I said I was very lucky having mentors that were willing to help me, so I feel it is my duty to pass on what I was taught.
I knew very early that I wanted the SRS, I just felt that the time had to be right for me. My family have always been my biggest supporters. It has made it easier having Jefrey in life. In my show career I have worked all over Australia. For the past 5 years I have been part of a show called Alternate Image. I have never been the "Dragqueen" type performer. I was always billed as a female impersonator. I enjoy the glamour it is like being a "Vegas Showgirl".
I work with drag queens and find them to be fun people. On very rare occasions one of them will start on hormones. I am finding that more TG's are coming more from the mainstream now and not from the shows. I think it differs from city to city here. I went to Sydney to grow as a performer and did quite a bit of growing as a woman.
That is where I met Jefrey. In the time I have been with him, I have been more active in the mainstream community. I still have gay and lesbian friends. I also, as you would have gathered, juggle 2 lives. I have become very good at it
I had breast augmentation in September 1988, but was not all that confident with the SRS doctors until last year. I attended the Gender Dysphoria Clinic at Monash University, and had my surgery here in Australia. My surgeon's name is Simon Ceber. He is at this time the best surgeon in this country. We have other surgeons here in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, but I'd learned that they didn't have as good a success rate. For this reason I have always told the people that ask me how to chose the right doctor "Do your homework. All doctors are charming, but not all are good at the job you are paying for".

I had my surgery November 1st 2002. I flew to Melbourne from Brisbane a week prior to spend some time with friends before going into hospital. The staff at the Masada private hospital in St.Kilda were wonderful. They made feel so at ease from the moment I arrived. I spent one night there before I was wheel into the operating theatre. I had the best team in Australia and felt confident that they would not let anything happen to me during surgery. I was in bed for 12 days. Then I got to get up. WOW! that was something I did not expect. The world spun and I felt as weak as a kitten, but I was not in pain. I have been told that I am an odd one for not feeling pain. I put it down to the morphine. The cost was AU$8000. After my medical insurance and Medicare(Government insurance) completed refunding, The outlay was AU$5000.
Here I am 8 months on and feeling great. I am at the moment attending college learning web design. I will complete this course soon, then I will take my exams to get my gaming license. In this country to work in bars that have gaming machines you have to hold a gaming license. At that time I will starting work as a bar manager in a Brisbane Pub. I have worked in the hospitality industry for most of my life and feel that I need a change from the shows.

I am performing in a show thoughout July 2003. This is the first production show I have been in since I transitioned. I am looking forward to it as I have worked with this cast for 4 years prior to going to hospital. The big plus is the exercise I am going to get. Since the surgery I have put on a couple of pounds (I was expecting that to happen).
I would be happy for you to list my e-mail address, as a contact for other transitioners. As I said earlier "It is my duty to pass on the help I got". Our lives can be very lonely and scary when you don't have a support network of friends. It makes life so much more pleasant when you have someone to talk to. The hardest thing for us is that the medical community deals with us as text book cases. The reality is we are as different as any other persons on the planet.
It would be quite alright for you to use both names if you like. Jessica Mills is me, and Deanna Blake is my alter-ego. I am proud of my achievements as both, and am glad to be a homemaker and a part-time showgirl. My life-partner Jefrey supports me in any thing I want to do, and I support him too. I consider myself very lucky.
Jessica and her partner Jefrey

Jessica Mills (aka, Deanna Blake)


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