As a transgender man, I believe spreading knowledge and showing visibility is how we will erase the ignorance and hatred the world is showing us. It also gives those going through a similar journey the courage and confidence to be their true selves. So here is my story.

From a young age, I knew I was different. The word tomboy was commonly used to describe me. I only made friends with boys and enjoyed playing Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon. When my sister and I would play Barbie’s, in return for her playing another game with me, I would always be the role of the male Barbie’s. I wanted to play baseball and hockey. Being in large groups of girls was never fun, as I always felt like an outsider.

I would have huge anxiety whenever I was put into social settings with only girls. I’d go to bed at night and have dreams where I was a guy and I was happy but then I would wake up as a girl and feel overwhelmingly sad and defeated. Wearing dresses was torture. Every time I had to put one on it felt wrong and I dreaded each time I had to wear one. One Halloween I dressed up as a baseball player and I remember being so excited because I got to wear what I saw guys my age wearing. Unfortunately, I was not vocal at all about this discomfort I was experiencing and therefore lived in silence, a silence that would last many years. 

After those years of silence though, I began down a path of destruction. I spent my college years destroying a body I simply wanted gone. I drank myself into an emergency room hospital bed with alcohol poisoning. I developed an eating disorder that withered my frail 5-foot 10-inch frame to just over 100 pounds. I spent nights staying up into the early hours of the morning researching ‘easy’ ways to kill myself. I wrote a suicide letter apologizing to my family for having to leave them. I built a noose in my closet and came extremely close to jumping off the top of a parking garage. But after all that, I’m still here, and I’m not only just living but I’m thriving.   

Today I am walking above ground, instead of being buried ten feet under. I am alive for a purpose and I want my story to reach and help people who need it and those who may not even know they need it. People who are where I was five years ago. People who look at transgender individuals as humans who do not deserve equal rights. People who don’t know how to accept their transgender child, sibling, significant other, or friend. People who just need to see someone like them to know that who they are is perfect.

My coming out story is a story of learning and acceptance. I feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by people who love me and simply want me to be happy. My family is so supportive of my transition. When I came out as transgender in May 2015 they barely bat an eye. They were not too educated on the subject, but their willingness to help me find happiness was overwhelming.

I may have lost some friends during this journey, but the real ones stuck around. I hope for a future world where people are not assumed cisgender and heterosexual but can grow to be whoever they truly are without the anxiety of coming out and being declared different. But until then, come out when you feel comfortable and the environment is safe.

We live in a world that tells us exactly what we should look like. Men should have short hair, broad shoulders, a tall stature, have facial hair, a deep voice, a flat chest, and a certain set of genitals. While women are told they should have long hair, wide hips, a smaller stature, little body hair, a soft voice, breasts, and a certain set of genitals. This is the centermost cause for dysphoria and the most unrealistic set of credentials. Society tells us we should look one way when in reality this standard rarely ever fits anyone.

If you identify as a man then you are a man and every part of you is a characteristic of a man because it is on your body. Same goes for if you identify as a female. During the early months of my transition, I experienced dysphoria every time I even looked at myself. But the more I grew into my body I came to the realization that we are given one body in this lifetime. And to spend a lifetime hating your body purely because it does not meet the standards of others is surely something you will regret. Do not wish to change something you have no control over, but instead slowly find things you like about yourself and your body and over time the negative things won’t seem so important anymore. Self-love is the most important part of living.

Being transgender is a gift. The life experiences and perspectives we are given, most people will never experience. We are part of a community striving to show the world that being different is not something to look down upon, but instead, should inspire the world.

Jeffery’s story is one that captivated me & made me realise how strong an individual he is. In life, you face many ups & downs but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and Jeffery is living proof of this.

Already he is showing the world that being trans is no different to anyone else. He recently wrote an article in the Daily Mail & again. Nearly made me cry! Check out his beautifully written piece in the Daily Mail.

I believe Jeffery will go on to do amazing things & show the world that being transgender is as he described a gift.