“I’ve made some changes,” Andreja Pejic, formerly Andrej Pejic, announced on her Facebook page. “I always dreamed of being a girl.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the love and support throughout the years. You’ve all helped me through this journey and I have learned a lot and really come into my own and the response to today’s announcement truly overwhelmed me and reminds me of why I chose to do this publicly.
“I think we all evolve as we get older and that’s normal but I like to think that my recent transition hasn’t made me into a different individual. Same person, no difference at all just a different sex. I hope you can all understand that.
“I would also like to to reach out to all young gender non-conforming youth out there: I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, but remember it’s your right to be accepted as what you identify with — you deserve the same respect as any other human being on this planet. As a transgender woman I hope to show that after transition (a life-saving process) one can be happy and successful in their new chapter without having to alienate their past. Most importantly differences should not equal divisions, let’s all stand together in union. #betruebeyou”
I first heard that Pejic had transitioned last month after listening to The Lost Lectures with Amanda Lepore. During her speech, Lapore talked about trans people in the spotlight and mentioned that Pejic had undergone sex reassignment surgery. I decided not to post the story until the news was confirmed by Pejic herself.
In a message for GLAAD, Pejic said, “To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be proud of who you are. All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are is a basic human right.”
“It’s not a full transformation — it’s just an evolution,” Pejic said. “Andrej is a Christian Orthodox name, and in that religion, it’s definitely a male name. So I kept the ‘j’ and added an ‘a,’ which actually becomes a name that I don’t think exists. But I wanted to keep the ‘j’ because that’s me. That’s my name.”