"There must have been something under the surface:" Mother's shock as transgender daughter, 20, found dead in Doncaster bedroom
The mother of a 'bright and bubbly' transgender girl who was found hanged in her Doncaster bedroom has spoken of her tragic loss.
Jessica Leigh, 20, who was born Damon before coming out as a woman four years ago, was discovered dead three weeks ago in her bedroom.
Her parents, Jude Coulson and stepfather Steve Coulson, say there nothing wrong on the surface and that she was always a 'happy-go-lucky person'.
Following her death, they are now calling for greater awareness and acceptance of transgender people.
Jude, 49, said: 'I want to make people more aware of what it's like, for people to be more accepting of people whatever their sex, gender, colour.
"She was always a happy-go-lucky person. It would have been her 21st next month.
"It is so sad because we were always so accepting of who she was.
"We are all into biking, and Jess would join us and had her own bike. The bikers accepted her too.
"It was about three weeks ago. I phoned her on the Sunday for a chat and she was fine.
"I texted on Monday and she replied, seemed fine, but she didn't respond to my next message and say good night or anything which was unusual.
"I phoned her on Tuesday and nothing. I phoned her on Wednesday and nothing. After that I phoned up the lodgings, and said, you should check up on her.
"They sent her a message directly to get in touch with us but still nothing.. They went into her room and found her there."
Following the 20-year-old's death, her parents are now calling for greater awareness and acceptance of transgender people
Jessica, of Goole, was originally born Damon but came out to her family as transgender aged 16 and changed her name.
She started to wear her hair long and wear dresses.
Her mother said that she 'seemed fine' and the tragic news came completely out of the blue after she was found to have killed herself in Doncaster.
"She moved to Doncaster and lived with people and we thought everyone was really accepting. She had friends, and a social life,' she said.
"But we just did not know what was going on. She seemed fine to us but there must have been something else under the surface.
"She hid it from everyone. Even when she lived with people trained to spot these things, she spoke to a transgender group and they didn't notice anything either.
"When we found out and told people, everyone was devastated. They didn't expect it."
Jessica's stepfather fork-lift truck driver Steve, 52, described her as a bubbly and bright person who will be missed by many.
'She was bright and she was bubbly,' he said. 'She loved her bike, she loved doing art and she loved animals.
"It was completely heart-breaking when we were taking her bike home to ours.
"She seemed like she was someone who was loving life. People messaged my wife on Facebook when they found out, saying "God I miss her".
"We will all be getting together and making a toast and celebrating Jess. You just don't want anybody else to go through this."
To contact the Samaritans, call 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org