Behind the changes: Jaime's journey from Jim - WNEM TV 5

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Behind the changes: Jaime's journey from Jim

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MADISON HEIGHTS, MI (WNEM) -

At 55, Jamie Hughes has never felt more comfortable in her own skin. But it hasn’t always been that way.

“I kept thinking to myself how can I feel this way? I mean, I should be like a regular 16-year-old son or boy and I just never felt comfortable,” Jaime Hughes said.

Jamie was born “Jim” and struggled with gender identity for decades.

Despite getting married and having two kids, Jamie said something still felt off.

“I never felt that I should have been born a male. What made me feel like this? I don’t know,” Jaime Hughes said.

After coming out to a psychologist at age 35, Jamie decided to start hormone treatments.

As she told people close to her, she said at first some thought it was a joke.

“I had a meeting with my ex-wife at the time and kind of told her the situation; and it was a little startling obviously,” Jaime Hughes said. “We agreed that my sons were young at the time and that I would probably wait a little longer. When I got older, when they got older, if I felt the same way I could possibly pursue and become who I wanted to become.”

Jamie’s sons are now in their 20s. When they learned about their dad’s big secret five years ago they said they weren’t that surprised.

“I never really felt like my dad was a manly dad. So when I heard that he was coming out, it just kind of made sense and everything just fell into place after that,” said Blake Hughes, Jamie’s son.

Jamie now works at a healthcare organization. When applying for the job, she said she had a tough choice to make.

“I had a moral dilemma. Do I go over as Jamie and say hey this is who I am. Or do I go over as Jim and most likely get the job. I threw the dice and decided to go over as Jamie,” Jaime Hughes said.

The gamble paid off, and Jamie got the job. The only place she still uses the name Jim is behind the microphone on the radio.

Jaime Hughes has worked as a radio host and DJ for decades as Jim Hughes at several stations across the state, and our region too.

“I’m not sure it would be accepted that’s the thing. I mean, I hope it is,” Jaime Hughes said. “I understand the implications and I understand things around it. And it’s easy to say, oh, it’s 2015 and we need to accept it, but we also need to understand what the business is about as well.”

While Jamie wishes she could fully come out to radio listeners, she feels accepted pretty much everywhere else as the woman she’s become.

“Where I’m at right now, I feel more balanced than I’ve ever been,” she said.

Her two sons feel that way too. They say the experience has brought them closer together as a family.

“It seemed like as soon as he identified with this person, who he said he’s always been – which is Jamie – it became a lot easier to communicate and understand where she was coming from. I just feel like it made life easier for all of us,” said Jamie’s son James Hughes.

Jamie Hughes said she has no regrets.

“No regrets at all. I hope that when people see this, yeah, there are going to be people that don’t understand it, but maybe take a few minutes and that difference isn’t always the worst thing that could happen,” she said.

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