These two identical twins from Monroe, Georgia, who were born girls are now brothers after they both came out as transgender, and they say that it feels “natural” to be male.
Jack and Jace Grafe, 23, were given the names of Jaclyn and Jennifer when they were born in June 1995 in a conservative Christian home in Baltimore, Maryland. The twins said that they used to fall asleep crying when they were younger and pray they would wake up in the morning and be boys.
When they were 18, the twins both came out as transgender. They began taking testosterone in April 2017, which let them grow facial hair and in August, they both underwent chest surgery. Now, they both work in law enforcement.
Jack explained how he didn’t understand “that being transgender was a thing” when he way younger, so he’s cry himself to sleep wishing he was a boy. Now, he says that he is happiest he’s ever been and the “uncomfortable feeling” they used to have is now completely gone.
When they came out, they did it to their entire family including their older sister. Their parents hadn’t “experienced gay or transgender people” before, and their father was a pastor.
They explain how they’ve endured their fair share of people calling them derogatory terms, as well as still referring them as “she”. Even though they’re in a much better place now, Jack explained how there are still instances “when I come home and break down.”
Jace added that being twins has helped them immensely:
Being a twin means I don’t feel alone. Somebody else is experiencing the exact same things as I am going through and that made me stronger.
Even when they were little, the Grafe twins dressed as boys, developed crushes on female classmates, cosplayed as male when going to conventions, and even so, they never admitted to anyone, not even each other, how they felt.
That’s because they grew up in a religious environment, ad attended a strict religious school and risked being expelled if it was found out. However, when they were 16 they came out to each other as gay, then finally at 18, as transgender.
Jace says that he was scared to tell his brother because he held his “opinion higher than anybody else so if he didn’t accept me I would be devastated.”
I found out Jack was transgender through a Facebook post on his profile, which was specifically for our cosplay friends and had no family. I was like, ‘If you feel like this why didn’t you tell me?’ He said it was awkward, that it was much more than saying, ‘Oh, I like girls. I said, ‘Well, if you talked to me you would have known that that is how I feel as well. After that we decided to refer to ourselves as brothers and asked our cosplay friends to refer to us as male.
The two have also been legally recognized as male by the state as of September 29. They received permission to change their gender in their driving licenses after going through chest surgery in August.
Getting chest surgery felt “like a weight lifted off my shoulders,” said Jack, adding: “The best way I can describe it is to imagine one of the biggest insecurities you’ve had for a long time and all of a sudden it’s just gone.”
Now, Jack is engaged to Maygon Arrington, 22, a bakery manager and the two live together in Monroe, Georgia.
Whereas Jace is also in a committed relationship with an Emory College student, Jessica Smith, 19.