Jessie Krista Blue Anderson was conceived in Halifax, NS moments after his 19-year-old biological parents decided to end their romantic relationship.
He was born to a single mother in Toronto, ON the evening of November 1, 1990. He weighed 6lbs 9oz, was designated Female, and was not named Jessie Elijah Blue Anderson as his mother had intended, because it was deemed too similar to Cher’s son. The Jessie remained, in reference to Jessi Colter.
He was relocated with his mother, his stepfather, a large dog, a cat, two gerbils, a hamster, and a turtle to Port Moody, BC in the summer of 1995 – the rabbit and the guinea pig had to stay behind. After Jessie’s completion of suburban Kindergarten, the family moved to East Vancouver in 1996.
At the age of 12, Jessie began to suspect that his attraction to other girls was noteworthy. After a brief self-evaluation, Jessie dubbed himself a lesbian, only out as such to his parents. His mother, a closeted bisexual and queer enthusiast, introduced him to Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Crying Game, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, If These Walls Could Talk 2, and any other LGBT-related films she came across at Blockbuster or on late-night TV. Jessie took this interest and ran with it, effectively turning himself into a teenage queer cinema connoisseur. Inspired by the protagonist of Tipping the Velvet, Jessie began binding his chest on a daily basis in 2004, but did not think much of the gender implications.
Shortly before his 14th birthday, Jessie made his first queer friends at an anime convention at SFU. Armed with the new confidence of having relatable best friends aged 16-20 that he could visit with outside of school, Jessie announced his sexuality via MSN Messenger to his classmates. To his surprise, the school was not shaken by his news. He continued to celebrate his new life as a butch, female-identified “gentleman” with a small posse of American teenagers, the self-titled Goddamn Lesbians. The summer after coming out at school, he began openly dating his first girlfriend, another member of the Goddamn Lesbians. His mother was particularly delighted by the news that her child’s first dating experience was an interracial lesbian relationship.
The ongoing Pride Parade of Jessie’s life as an out-queer came to a screeching halt at the age of 16. Upon discovering Livejournal communities specifically for transgender men, Jessie’s subconscious sent him into a downward spiral of depression and heightened anxiety until he could learn to accept his male gender as truth. Jessie struggled with the options in front of him, as he understood them: try to combat his dysphoria-related depression by reminding himself how great his life could be as a gay woman, or commit to a life of medication, surgeries, and likely violence – his only frame of reference for a trans man’s life being that of Brandon Teena, as depicted in Boys Don’t Cry.
In a move entirely motivated by instinct versus rationale, Jessie began hormone therapy in January 2008, aged 17. His first year taking testosterone coincided with his senior year of high school, his parents’ separation, and his mother’s resurgence of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, leaving him to undergo his second puberty with a terminally-ill mother and an absent father. This heavy period in his personal life lead to a notable drop in his usual straight-A grades, and led him to put his dreams of film school on hold, later to be vetoed entirely.
Jessie had chest reconstructive surgery by Dr. Cameron Bowman in the summer of 2013, exactly one year following his mother’s death. Contrary to his earlier labels as a butch lesbian, he now identifies as a queer/bisexual femme man.
After falling in love with Shortbus at age 16 and attending a Vancouver Queer Film Festival masterclass with John Cameron Mitchell on how to capture a sexual narrative on camera, Jessie became increasingly interested in representations of authentic sexuality in film. This expanded his interest from traditional queer cinema to branches of independently-produced queer pornography, a genre in which he actively participated as his alter-ego, Charlie Spats.
Read more about the career of Charlie Spats
Meanwhile, Jessie’s “legitimate” resume wasn’t considerably tamer than his sporadic adult career. On paper, Jessie’s work experience from age 18 onward included 12-hour shifts at a 24/7 peep show, weeknight graveyard shifts at a men’s bathhouse, and a four-year stint at Canada’s legendary LGBT bookstore-turned-sex-shop, Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium. His lovers were primarily other sex workers; he was often a safety call for friends who were escorting. In his free time, Jessie taught inclusive sex education classes in high school classrooms as a volunteer for Vancouver Coastal Health.
After four years of working in and around the sex industry, Jessie commemorated his career with a skin-removal scarification piece on his chest in the shape of three X’s. He is currently taking an indefinite hiatus from paid sex or sexualized day-jobs to process his domestic abuse trauma and gender dysphoria from a further-removed perspective.
As the neighborhood’s queer kid with a “cool mom,” Jessie grew up familiar with hosting a friendly, safe space for other queer individuals to gather. At age 20, Jessie began dating an established organizer of Vancouver’s queer community, and learned about event organization and promotion while assisting with her projects. Jessie’s self-taught skills in web design and social media and connections with queer-friendly, sex-positive venues eventually earned him a spot as a co-collaborator on projects such as the sTeam all-genders bathhouse parties and FIST. play parties.
At the same time, Jessie used his 2011-2015 position as a Little Sister’s staff member to befriend and pick the brains of Janine Fuller and the late Jim Deva, engaging in several conversations about what it meant to facilitate a community space, particularly as those needs shift over time. He began managing a small section of Little Sisters’ retail, offering persistently-requested products designed specifically for transgender customers. However, upon Jim’s death, Jessie decided it was time to learn a trade – aside from the unique structure of Little Sister’s, his work experience in little outside of queer sexual health had rendered him nearly unhirable.
After leaving his job and prompting a public falling-out with his former partner due to ongoing abuse, Jessie was left to his own devices for ongoing projects. With only his entry-level knowledge of retail, a fresh certificate from London School‘s Old School Barbering program, and a business education courtesy of a series of Google searches, Jessie launched his own shop in September 2015 with $10,000 acquired through crowdfunding: Big Bro’s Barbershop, a beauty and resource centre created with the wellness of the transgender community as its primary priority.
Read more about Big Bro’s Barbershop
Jessie has recently relocated Big Bro’s Barbershop to a more visible storefront location at 1685 Nanaimo Street, offering a permanent, physical representation of the transgender community’s presence and contribution to Vancouver overall.