This article is adapted from the speech by Jacqueson at the Malaysian Confessions Event held in KL Colony Coworking Space, on 26th June. This is his story. My name is Jacqueson, also known as Jake. I am a transgender man. Being transgender means I was born female and I medically transitioned into a male. This is my transgender journey of denial, discovery, acceptance, and then adaptation. Some of you may ask, \u201cWhen did you discover yourself?\u201d Honestly, from the tender age of 3 or 4 years old, every birthday I would wish, \u201cI wish I was a boy.\u201d So I didn\u2019t really discover myself. It was there. Growing Up As A Girl In my all-girls\u2019 school, I was very sporty. I had always kept my hair short, because it was convenient, and I had short pants under my pinafore.The teachers and parents thought I was a tomboy, saying: \u201cIt\u2019s just a phase.\u201d In college and at uni, the social norms started to come in. \u201cYou are a girl. You should act like that, sit like that, talk like that.\u201d It was eating me up inside. I was feeling so sad, but I had no words for it, because it was just not known. The internet was not a big thing then. We had the Motorola and the Nokia. I started leaving my hair long, putting on makeup, having big boobs, having boyfriends, but I was still not happy. Something in me was just not right. There was no word for it. I always thought if I had another boyfriend, I\u2019d be happier. If I put on a bit more makeup, be prettier, Id\u2019 be happier. So I tried that for a while. Then I started having a few girlfriends, and this was my stage of denial. I cut my hair short. I started sitting like a guy. I started binding my chest, because it\u2019s just very dysphoric. But still, I didn\u2019t accept myself \u2014 I could not even accept myself. I was denying who I am. I Started Searching For Answers Medically At one point, I started searching for answers medically. I went to psychologists and psychiatrists. They told me, \u201cYou are very depressed \u2014 just not suicidal yet.\u201d I was given two choices: \u201cEither you\u2019re gonna be on antidepressants for the rest of your life, or you might want to medically transition.\u201d That was how I found out. Not from Youtube, Instagram, or Facebook. I had no clue what \u201ctransgender\u201d was. All I knew was when I stripped naked and looked at myself in the mirror, I would cry. My brain was telling me: \u201cThis is not me. I\u2019m not supposed to look like this.\u201d That small little wish to be a boy came up, again and again. So I started to accept myself. I started adapting. I started taking HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy). Changes to my body would be coming fast, so I needed to tell people I was transitioning. The Day I Came Out To My Parents There are a lot of coming out stories, but the most important story was how I came out to my parents. I remember it like it was yesterday: I was sitting in my living room, for 3 hours, with my backpack, my wallet full of cash, my car keys ready \u2014 just in case they would just disown me that day. Finally, I gathered the courage to call my parents to the living room. \u201cPa? Mi? I\u2019ve got something to tell you. But before I do, I want to say I\u2019m sorry, because this is going to hurt you.\u201d \u201cI\u2019ve decided to go on medical hormone replacement therapy to be a man. I may even go on to have surgery.\u201d My mom went hysterical. \u201cYou crazy ah?\u201d She cried. \u201cYou\u2019re my daughter, how can you be my son? This is not true. This is not you.\u201d She was sad, angry, confused. She started crying. And she said, \u201cYou killed her! You killed my daughter! Get out!\u201d I was broken. I was devastated. You will never know the meaning of your own death until someone is crying in front of you while you\u2019re still alive and saying that you have killed her. I stood up and wanted to leave. To my surprise, my dad stood up too. He walked up to me, and gave me the tightest embrace ever. And he said, in the exact words of a song that now means a lot to me: \u201cI love you no matter what. I just want you to be happy, and always be who you are. Don\u2019t ever be what you\u2019re not, \u2018cos I love you no matter what. Even if you\u2019re my daughter or my son, you\u2019re still my child. I love you.\u201d And I cried. I cried in his arms because somehow, I knew that I was loved. And that place that I stay now, I could finally call it a home. I continued taking HRT, so the changes started coming in. I knew that I needed to get rid of my big boobs, which were DD\u2019s. Girls were envious of me, but I hated it. I wore binders and on sports bras. I Went For Breast Removal Surgery So from the time that I started working, I\u2019d already saved money for my top surgery, also known as double mastectomy, or breast removal surgery. I didn\u2019t tell my parents until one week before I flew off to Thailand. I was scared that they are gonna have another hysterical reaction. Once, I told them: \u201dPa, I\u2019m gonna go for surgery to remove my breasts.\u201d And every parent\u2019s concern was, \u201cYou sure ah?\u201d... \u201cYou sure meh?\u201d \u201cIf you remove your breasts, it will never grow back. Are you sure?\u201d Day and night, they kept reminding me, saying, \u201cAre you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?\u201d Oh, my god. To tell you the truth, I went to Thailand alone, because I was just so scared for anyone to see me crying if I brought them. So, I went alone. And the night before my surgery, I broke down. I was mentally and emotionally a wreck. I was in doubt. I wasn\u2019t sure whether what I did was right. Am I just gonna pay so much money to get something healthy removed from my body? Is this right? But I didn\u2019t make a U-turn. I went for it. The next day, after my surgery, I was on cloud 9! I finally felt like me. I could finally laugh when I saw myself in the mirror. So after taking hormone replacement therapy, my voice started deepening. M:y Adam\u2019s apple started showing slightly. My hair is receding. I\u2019m going bald a bit. My leg hair is growing like a monkey. Reactions Of Family And Friends Certain friends were quite accepting. They were like, \u201cOK, your new name is Jake, right? Hi, Jake.\u201d They use the correct pronouns: he, him, his. But there are friends that said I\u2019m disgusting. \u201cYou\u2019re not worth living. I don\u2019t want to be with you.\u201d I even had a friend that told me, \u201cI don\u2019t want you to stand beside me because people will think I\u2019m lesbian.\u201d By standing beside me, you are a lesbian? Oh my god. This is not how it works. Even cancer can\u2019t spread! Extended family started asking. \u201cHey, what happened to your daughter?\u201d They were not asking me. They were asking my parents. They were asking my siblings. Sadly for them, I have put them in a very difficult situation. How are they going to answer questions like, \u201cWhat happened to her?\u201d So I actually went on Facebook and did an official public coming out story. I did it in order for my parents, my siblings, people that meant the whole world to me, to show the people that were asking them, \u201cThis is his story, please read it.\u201d I didn\u2019t expect my post to snowball into a lot of encouragement for those in the closet. Even those that were suffering from depression started approaching me. How I Deal With It \u201cHow do you deal with it?\u201d They asked. Honestly... I don\u2019t have an answer to that. All I can do is share a listening ear because I know how it feels to be isolated. I know how it feels to be lonely, rejected, discriminated, especially in Malaysia where the LGBTQ community is so rare. We\u2019ve got communities like Justice for Sisters, Pink Triangle Foundation, and Transmen of Malaysia. Slowly, awareness is coming. However, it is just not there yet. If you do meet people like us, LGBTQ, all we ask in return is: Listen. Hate is spread by humans, but so is love. Love is such a precious thing, it can easily be damaged, but there\u2019s so much to share. All you need to do is listen. They have their own path. It might be rougher, it might be tougher, but you can\u2019t walk their path. They have to walk it themselves. All they want is just a listening ear. Guide them. Treat them well. Do not discriminate them. Do not judge them. Let them be who they are. So that\u2019s all for me. Thank you. For more stories about the life and struggles of being LGBT, read Coming out of the Closet: A Transgender Man\u2019s Experience and How I Ended Up Dating a Genderfluid Person.