SHE was heading to the Pride march - her first - carrying a box of doughnuts to work colleagues with a rainbow smudged on her cheek and across her eyes.

A photographer asked to take a picture. He saw her again later, standing in front of a giant rainbow flag, her lips pursed and eyes beaming a defiant twinkle. It ended up on the front page of a national newspaper.

This was just a snapshot of Jamie but behind it is the powerful voice of a young Bankie. And that voice is about to disappear for a month.

Jamie, 21, has travelled to South Korea this week for surgery to her voice to give her a higher pitch and timbre. It is her fourth surgery as part of her transition from male to female, a global process that has cost her more than £20,000.

“It was a bit exciting, but scary,” she tells the Post about seeing herself in the paper. “I don’t want to talk like the beacon or anything like that, like the face of the community. I’m not. I’m far from it, but it’s nice to contribute a bit and try and raise a bit more awareness.

“From what I see in the media, it’s just awful, like the whole world just hates me. It looks like we’re the big bad, the destroyer of society and stuff like that.

“It felt nice at Pride to represent myself and who I am and people in my community.

“I don’t know if the photographer knew I was transgender. I like the fact that clearly it didn’t matter because I made it into the news anyway.”

Unhappy with her body throughout puberty, Jamie was 18 when she realised who she was meant to be. She told her parents a week later, one of the hardest things she’s ever done.

They seemed aghast she hadn’t told them earlier - and why she’d been afraid to tell them.

“You waited a week?” they asked her. But the support for Jamie from her family has been unconditional.

“How much does it really impact you what gender your child is? You should love them anyway,” says Jamie. “You should be happy they’re happy in themselves.

“That was the most terrifying thing telling my parents, followed probably by telling my gran. My gran’s been so supportive and such a wonderful woman.”

Since then, Jamie has since been through hormone replacement therapy (HRT), three surgeries including one in Thailand to her genitals - what she dubs “V-Day”.

The financial cost may have been high, but she might otherwise have waited years, as many do, even for HRT.

“The fact my family have supported me is probably the single biggest reason I’ve progressed so fast and so well with my transition,” she tells the Post.

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To be able to get HRT and have such significant surgery, you have to be diagnosed as "wrong", as suffering gender dysphoria. Jamie understands the need for that hurdle, but admits it is hard.

“I don’t really care if you want to call it a mental illness anymore,” says Jamie. “It shouldn’t be, but some people will argue that.

“But I must admit, at the start trying to get my passport changed and having to show them a diagnosis that says, ‘I’m a wee bit f***ed up in the head’ just to get something that 50 per cent of population already has, and something I already have just with the wrong letter on it, is quite degrading.

“I’ve grown numb to it. But at the time, it puts you down a little bit. It’s a reminder that you’re different from everyone.

“And we don’t need any more reminders. For a lot of us, looking in the mirror is enough of a reminder.”

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So why is Jamie in South Korea for yet another surgery?

She says many trans individuals go through painstaking research into “passing”, a contentious topic within the community. Some feel, rightly says Jamie, that trans people shouldn’t have to “tick society’s boxes”. But there’s often more to it, especially in terms of personal safety.

“If you’re not ‘passing’ enough or if you stick out too much, it can be an actual health concern from violent individuals,” says Jamie.

“But it’s also just for your comfort. You get quite hung up on all these things that help with you ‘passing’.

“You’d read an article about ‘women don’t bounce as much when they walk’, or you’d hear someone say ‘women keep their thumbs in when they walk’.

“It’s so stupid and it’s baseless. And now I know that.

“But there are some things that there is actually merit to. There’s genuine bias that it’ll cause in whoever you’re speaking to or meeting, things like your height, your stature - and your voice is one of those big, big things that subconsciously people don’t realise but it does affect how you’re treated.”

The NHS funded speech language therapy, but Jamie stopped after 12 weeks because she felt she was putting on a persona. It was giving a voice that sounded to her, at best, androgynous, not female.

“That’s not really the idea of my transition,” she explains “I’ve wanted to become an authentic version of myself. I just want to stop pretending and just be me.”

The voice surgery, as Jamie describes it, shaves off the top third of each side of her vocal chords and then sutures them into a smaller opening.

Imagine blowing over the top of an Oasis bottle. Then try an Irn-Bru one. That narrower gap should give her a higher pitch.

The drawback is she’ll have to be silent for a month. She’ll have to be careful not to cough or sneeze violently, laugh or get sudden shocks. A long period of video games and quiet university studies awaits.

Jamie’s passport says “F”, her driver’s licence says “Miss”. Those are really nice affirmations, particularly when she was doubted or if she was challenged about which bathroom was hers to use.

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Is society forcing Jamie to get this surgery, or is it personal choice?

“It’s a definite blend of both societal expectations and my own comfort levels,” she says.

“I always put it down to society telling me, ‘This isn’t what a girl’s voice should sound like’, and therefore I’m just doing it so I can fit in better.

“Which I shouldn’t do - I’m always an advocate for the right for people to be themselves.

“If you’re not harming anyone else, if you’re not doing anything to disrupt society - some would argue I am, to be fair - you should not have to change anything about yourself unless you want to.

“But having said that, that’s an idealistic and optimistic outlook on society, and I have to be more realistic.”

Her voice has an impact on her mental health, particularly in the last two years while presenting as female working in the retail world.

“If you’re on a morning shift,” she says, “and my voice sounds rough, or if I’m not as chirpy as I normally am, or if someone’s hurt me or if I’m upset, then to get every customer calling me ‘son’, ‘him’, ‘he’, ‘dude’, ‘bro’ - any of these things - it’s draining.

“It takes such a toll. If that happens and I’m already in a bad mood or low mood, that feeds into that low mood and then the voice stays low and it is just a vicious cycle of negativity.

“So I’m just trying to look out for myself. If I don’t have the ability to speak that low then hopefully, and this might be naive, but hopefully I will get misgendered a lot less and it will take a much lower toll on my mental health.

“And hopefully people will see me for who I actually am.”

There was a point, after her surgery in Thailand, that Jamie looked in the mirror.

In her head she had told herself she wasn’t 100 per cent dysphoria driven. Society said women should have vaginas and Jamie wanted to match what society wanted.

“That’s not the right reason to go to get that surgery,” she accepts.

“When I first looked, post surgery, it didn’t look that great. But you know what? There wasn’t something there. And that was the first moment where I truly realised how dysphoric and how painful having my birth anatomy actually was.

“If you’d been born carrying a weight, you’d never know you were carrying it. But then someone lifts that weight off your shoulders and suddenly you realise how light everything is.

“It was a moment of awakening for me, that it had dragged my mental health and everything about my life down so badly, and now it was gone.

“I genuinely was happier and more at ease with myself. I could look in the mirror more comfortably.

“There are no words I can use to describe how nice that feeling is, when you realise something about your body actually matches how it feels in your head that it should be.”

She adds: “I tell you I love it now. I look in the mirror and I’m like, ‘This is amazing. It’s great.’ For the first time probably since before puberty, I look in the mirror and I like what I see. I look in a mirror and I’m just happy and comfortable with who I am.”

Though happy in herself, Jamie realises the world isn’t always so accepting. She sees a repeat of the fight, still relatively recently, for gay rights.

She says if you replace the word “trans” with “gay” and search online, you find the homophobic articles of the 1990s and early 2000s.

“I like to think more than half of the population look at those things and think ‘that’s not right’,” she says. “We used to think it was perfectly acceptable to say all gay people were sex offenders or they were all a danger to children, that lesbians were just predators that shouldn’t be allowed in women’s changing facilities and stuff like that.

“And it’s all been debunked because we’ve allowed it for years now and we’ve been fine with it.

“You can frame these arguments the same way and just say ‘trans’ and suddenly it’s new, it’s 2019 articles, and it’s 2019 accusations. At the end of the day it’s just old school homophobia reframed, whether people want to admit that or not.”

There’s a difference, says Jamie, between feeling like you’re in danger and feeling like you’re uncomfortable around trans individuals.

“We’ve been here as long as time,” she asserts. “It’s just it’s become a bit more acceptable to be in the open - a bit.

“But actually being in the open about it and being in the public eye is a new dynamic. So I do understand people being uncomfortable and I don’t begrudge them in that.

“You’re allowed to be uncomfortable - it’s how you act upon that, how you act upon being uncomfortable.

“Do you turn it into self-reflection and sit and think, ‘Why am I uncomfortable? Is this person a danger to me? Or am I just feeling a wee bit insecure and uncomfortable and maybe that person is probably fine?’

“There’s a big difference and a big distinction that needs to be made.”

Jamie says she might selectively seek out people who will accept her, subconsciously avoiding those who might be problematic or take issue with her existence. That has made her experiences more positive ones.

Because it can be draining being a political statement. There are those who misgender Jamie at work and, if she had the confidence, she would correct them and they would apologise.

But it’s unintentionally putting her down and disrespecting her.

“It’s just, it’s hurtful,” says Jamie with a sigh. “I just want to be a human being like everybody else. But, that’s not the world I live in.

“Nobody’s perfect and neither am I - I’ve made a lot of mistakes and so have a lot of people.

“I deserve respect like everyone else.”

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Jamie hopes the public thinks about how their actions and the way they talk affect perceptions of who she and other LGBTI individuals are.

“If you are someone - and I would hope you are - who supports and wants to better society for everyone including queer people, you need to call out homophobia and call out transphobia when you see it. I understand you may be anxious. I’m anxious.

“Sometimes we need the people who have the privilege in society who are not as vulnerable to stand up for our rights as well.

“Because we should all look after each other as a society, and we can’t fight this fight alone.”

Jamie adds: “I can only do so much. I can only do so much by being an open book to people. I and the rest of the community need others to stick up for us.

“Because that’s what being a minority is. We can’t just fight our battles by ourselves.”

Jamie still treads a fine line between “blending in” or being the face on the front of papers, hopefully changing some stigmatised attitudes.

“I just see myself as another human being,” she says before her trip, “another person from little Clydebank on the outskirts of Glasgow, growing up the same as everybody else. I went to a public high school and stuff like that, and I’ve had a lot of the same experiences as everybody else.

“I’m a human being - that’s all it is.”

*The Post has withheld Jamie's last name at her request.

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