I am Unique. Very Unique.

“Can you pick someone else who is ‘normal’?” said a conservative teacher to another who was going to select me as the winner of the 2014 costume contest at my middle school.

Abnormal, unnatural, fraudulent. All kinds of negative adjectives that you could possibly pick to describe a person and ruin their lives. They — once or twice or many times or still — label me as a transgender man.

“Why did they laugh at me, mom? I just wanna pee,” I asked my mom with a face full of tears when my 5-year-old self was trying to stand and pee in the boys’ washroom.

My young innocent self didn’t know what was wrong, and didn’t understand why other boys ridiculed me for not having a “pee-pee”.

My mom also didn’t understand why I wanted to pee standing up, as she wasn’t aware of the term “transgender” yet. And that’s how it started — my journey as a human being who happens to be different.

Since I came out eight years ago, I feel like an uncaged bird. But I am still chained by something, something called “society.”

My family accepted me, but society rejected me.

“You will never succeed in your life with this kind of abnormal gender expression” — the phrase that I am most familiar with because I hear it throughout my whole life. I clench my fist with anger and have tears in my eyes every single time I hear it.

I was voiceless and treated like trash due to transphobia; it puts me into deep depression so many times that it almost killed me.

It is just that people are ignorant. They are unaware of the differences between sex and gender and the existence of transgender people.

Many of you are probably not aware that I am a transgender person, as I was uncomfortable to tell you about it.

But today is the day that I put myself out there to raise awareness, reveal my visibility and acknowledge my existence.

No more silence. It’s time to be loud.

I am Jimmy Chokmeesuk, a proud transgender man. I’m not an abnormality because my mom told me that I am:

“Unique. Very unique. Insanely unique. Talentedly unique. Beautifully unique. Preciously unique. Her gem — the only gem in this world.”

— Jimmy Chokmeesuk