IMAGE: Transgender women

"We are just people, like every day. We have a family. We have jobs. We have kids," said Jacquiline Turner.

After decades of confusion, Turner and Kara Ramsey are living their truth.

"We are more than a sum of our parts, our body parts," Ramsey said.

They were both born male but have transitioned to female. Turner and Ramsey are both from the metro Detroit area, and are now engaged.

They are sharing their journey to help others struggling with gender identity.

“I wanted to be a better person. I want to be a better version of myself," Turner said.

Turner's journey began in 2015 after getting divorced and having kids. She was working as a mechanic and living as a man, but her daughter - who was born a boy - began displaying signs she was transgender.

"She had this blankie and she would wrap it around her head and say, ‘this is my long, beautiful hair, dad.’ By the time she was 4 and 5, she wanted high heels and girly shoes. She didn't want boy shoes," Turner said.

When her daughter was 5-years-old, Turner witnessed her scolding other children on the playground.

“She was shaking her finger at these three boys, yelling at them saying, ‘no, no. Stop calling me a boy. I am not a boy. I am a girl and you will treat me like a girl,’" Turner said.

That moment changed Turner's life forever. She wondered, “if my child can be so brave, why can't I?”

"It hit me like a ton of bricks," Turner said.

Turner soon realized with the help of a therapist that she was also transgender. That started her new life as a woman. Hormones, surgeries and clothes all came with it.

Ramsey's story is slightly different. By the time she was 8 she was drinking every day. She later struggled with addiction, along with gender identity issues.

"To numb the pain, to numb the way I felt. And adding some close calls and mishaps with that," Ramsey said.

Ramsey said she got sober years later but didn't realize the root of the problem until 2013. That's when she saw a documentary on Jazz Jennings - one of the youngest transgender people to be publicly documented. She immediately knew she was just like Jazz.

"It unlocked and answered more questions that I had accumulated a wealth of over the years. Answered more of those questions than any other mental health professional, teacher or friend," Ramsey said.

With the help of a therapist, Ramsey's suspicions were right. She was transgender.

Ramsey and Turner met as they both were transitioning in a transgender support group. The couple said they plan to get married and continue advocating for the transgender community.

Their best advice to someone going through this is to seek outside help and support. They said they have no regrets.

"I also feel very fortunate to be who I am because not only am I able to help my daughter, but other people out there," Turner said.

"We just want to live and let live and be afforded all of the same rights and qualities that every human being should be afforded," Ramsey said.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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