GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — Jadee Dennis was born a girl, but has decided to become a boy, and he’s sharing his story to encourage acceptance.
Born a girl, the last of 6 children, the 17-year-old left a letter for his mom that put into words what he felt for so long, but never quite knew how to say it.
“It took a long time,” he said. “Just to write the letter itself, it took weeks.”
Jadee always felt more like a boy. Several years ago, the Grass Valley teen discovered the term transgender. It was the answer to everything.
“After more, more research, I was like, this is who I am,” he said.
Mustering uncommon courage at his most vulnerable, he nervously left the letter for his mom.
“This is something I’ve been trying to tell you for the longest time …”
He told her flat-out he realized he is a boy, and that he’s trapped in a body that isn’t his.
His mom, Julie Stephens, didn’t know what to think at first.
“I was just sitting there like, I don’t know what to do now, but the first thing I knew I needed to do was let Jadee know it was OK, and that I love him,” she said.
One of her biggest concerns was how people in the small town of Grass Valley would take Jadee’s news. It turns out they’ve embraced him, and he’s even made front page news in the local newspaper.
“Jadee comes home and I say, well what happened at school?” Stephens said. “And he goes ‘Eh, a couple people said great story that was wonderful, and the day was just like a normal day.’”
Jadee wasn’t sure how his classmates or the community would react, but he’s pleasantly surprised by how supportive they’ve been.
“As long as we have our friend that’s it,” said his friend Sally Shilling. “Doesn’t matter who he is or who he wants to be.”
Jadee hopes sharing his story will help others be true to themselves.
“Just be yourself,” he said. “It sounds really cheesy, but it’s true.”
He says friends have approached him about how to come out to their parents.