My first tweet as Jake. Overwhelmed. Saw all your love comments and I’m so happy. Finally. I love you, everyone and see you soon.
— Jake Zyrus (@jakezyrus) June 20, 2017
Jake Zyrus officially changed his name on social media and made his first tweet under his new name on June 19, 2017, and deleted all previous tweets he made under the name Charice.
Transgender men and the general LGBTQ+ community all over the Philippines celebrated this announcement but not everybody felt the same way.
Pero kahit talo si pacquiao, NAKAKADIRI PA RIN SI CHARICE PEMPENGCO TAENAAA KADIRIII KA TALAGA 🖕🏻
— rpdk. (@rashadknkn) July 2, 2017
Criticism is coming even from the LGBT community.
But Jake isn’t letting any of that stop him. He’s made it clear that transitioning makes him happy and that happiness comes above even his singing career.
I won’t let anyone ruin this moment. I won’t let anyone ruin my happiness. Thank you to all the beautiful write ups about me.
— Jake Zyrus (@jakezyrus) June 20, 2017
Jake may choose to ignore the critics, but I won’t. The LGBT community needs to step up by educating the ignorance out of transphobes. I find it ironic when minorities discriminate against other minorities. Gay men discriminating against transgender men. Lesbians discriminating against transgender women. What can you do to stop it?
Write posts affirming your support for Jake’s or any other transgender person’s transition. When people make transphobic posts about transgender people, don’t just ignore it. Call out the person for their transphobic remarks. Comment or repost with your thoughts on the subject.
Talk about it with your friends, family and community. People sometimes have misconceptions of transgender people. People still get the pronouns wrong. They make crude jokes about chosen names and genitals. You need to correct these misconceptions and behaviors.
- Transgender people are confused. You’re born male or female and that’s unchangeable. Actually, cisgender people are confused because they’ve been taught that sex is a binary, that there are only men and women, and that they must act in a certain way. Sex is a social construct. How? Most people understand sex as something determined by chromosomes, hormones, genitals & sex organs, secondary sex characteristics or a combination of some or all of them. It is something immutable, or is it? Most people don’t actually know their chromosomes and they can’t know undergo karyotyping. There are several non-XX/XY variations. Hormones vary greatly in both men and women. There is no universal hormone level for men and for women. Genitalia and sex organs can be ambiguous, surgically altered, or even naturally change. Secondary sex characteristics can also change when our hormone levels do either thru intervention or through a natural process. So, no, sex is not some unchanging biological truth that we were born with. Sex was something assigned to us at birth by a doctor who did nothing so much as look between our legs after we popped out. Are we supposed to allow that doctor’s opinion to determine what sports we can play, what jobs we can have, and who we’re supposed to be attracted to? Didn’t think so.
- Transgender people are mentally deranged or ill. Mental health problems are not exclusive to transgender people. Anyone can have them. That said, I have met many transgender persons with depression, severe anxiety and other problems, and I see many who are open about it especially on social media. But I also noticed that, often, people with these problems have severe physical and social dysphoria, and are subject to hate and discrimination which may just be the underlying cause of their mental health issues. When transgender people are allowed to transition and live in healthier social environments, they also experience less or no depression and anxiety.
- Transgender people are prostitutes. If they’re not, they only take up jobs as hair stylists and make-up artists. False. Transgender people can work in any field. Look up Ben A. Barres (Mathematician) and Lynn Conway (Computer Scientist & Electrical Engineer) for starters. For Filipinos, check out Angelina Mead King (Entrepreneur & Car Enthusiast) and Jake Zyrus (Singer).
- Transgender people are “leveled-up” versions of gays and lesbians. Sexual orientation and gender identity are two different things. Neither one dictates the other. People assume that all transgender women are attracted to men. The usual premise being they transition in order to fool men into believing they are women and having sex with them. This is wrong on many levels. Transgender women are women. They do not transition in order to “fool” men, they transition so that they will no longer feel dysphoria and gain more confidence. Transgender woman can be attracted to women! Yup! There are lesbian transgender women. And transgender men can be attracted to men. Yes! There are gay transgender men. So please stop calling trans women gay men and stop calling trans men lesbians.
How to be an ally
- Use a transgender person’s chosen or preferred name. This is an affirmation of identity. Don’t insist on using a transgender person’s birth name.
- Use the correct pronouns. As a general rule, address transgender men like Jake Zyrus using male pronouns such as he/him. Address transgender women using female pronouns such as she/her.
- Speak up against discrimination. When you speak up against harassers and bullies, you could stop the behavior.
- Speak out. Let people know you’re an ally.