Savannah Jackson, who was formally known as Daniel Kertchera, is a well-known consultant in the global financial industry. Recently, she came out as transgender to her multi-million company as well as thousands of clients worldwide who tune in to her weekly webinar online.
The 43-year-old who runs a Sydney-based financial company, Trading Pursuits, with her former wife Julie, said in Australia’s popular interview show, Sunday Night, that she’s happy that she can finally be herself after all these years.
‘It’s surreal that it’s here. Like it’s a dream, it’s a thought, it’s a hope and a wish that you have every single day of your life. And then, to actually be here in this moment now… it’s just like every Christmas all come at once,’ she said.
When she was still living as a man, Jackson said that she enjoyed doing ‘boy things’ but never felt like a boy on the side.
As a kid, she played soccer and hockey. In university, she studied neurophysiology and became a bodybuilder. After which, she spent eight years in the army serving as an infantry officer. Deep down, she was doing everything she could to suppress her female identity.
‘I felt like a ghost. I have all these memories of growing up internally as a girl, but no one saw me as a girl.’
Jackson also shared that gender identity is different from sexual orientation. Even though she has always identified as a woman, Jackson said that she has always been attracted to women and never to men.
Despite all the internal struggles, Jackson said that she loved her time as a man and had great memories as a son, brother, husband and father.
That was until one day she received an $150,000 extortion from a person who had obtained a photo of her dressed as a woman, and was threatening to disclose it. At that point, Jackson had yet told her parents, daughter or the extended family that she is transgendered.
The incident had caused Jackson to become clinically depressed as she stopped going out or dressing up as Savannah at home. Her work life had suffered, causing her to lose millions of money.
‘When I think about living my life as Daniel, for the rest of my life, I’m just filled with dread.’
Then, she decided to go on a two weeks holiday with her toddler daughter where she could spent her time fully as Savannah. It was after the holiday when she and her then wife made the decision that she should start transitioning to stay happy. So Jackson started to go for counselling and hormone replacement therapy.
In 2014, Jackson traveled to Thailand with the company of her mother for her gender reassignment surgery.
‘I was there because I love him,’ Jackson’s mother said during the interview.
Jackson’s ex-wife is also very supportive of her embracing her new life openly as a transgender woman: “I had to lose my husband, to lose our marriage, [but] I never lost my friend, I never lost my business partner, and that’s something we have to remember through all of this.”
On top of opening up to her family, Jackson also has to face her longtime clients and her employees. She described this process and journey as not just for her alone, but for everyone who knows her:
‘It’s not just me transitioning, it’s everyone around me, my family, my clients, my staff, my friends, everyone’s transitioning. they are all going through an experience of seeing Daniel change into Savannah.”
So far, Jackson has mostly received positive response from her colleagues and clients about her transformation. She was glad that to know that her clients still trust her for her financial expertise regardless of her appearance.
When asked about the kind of relief she is experiencing at this point in her life, this is how Jackson described it:
‘I’ve never been in prison or anything, but I think I can imagine… being an innocent person incarcerated and having done nothing wrong and yet living in this prison, and now being released.
“I can just be myself and that, to me, has been the greatest single gift that I have given myself is the freedom to be myself.”