A transgender man who attempted suicide before his sex change is now an Instagram star who inspires thousands of others as they transition.
Jeffrey Rubel, 25, from Atlanta, Georgia, had known he was a boy since he was a child but it wasn’t until he reached the age of 14 that he started to hate his female body.
The theatre supervisor self-harmed and attempted suicide before coming to terms with the fact he was really male at the age of 22.
Jeffrey, who was born Jennifer, now shares his story with 10,800 followers on Instagram to help others who feel like he did at his lowest.
Jeffrey Rubel before (left) and after (right) his transition. He now helps those on the same path by sharing his story with his 10.8K Instagram followers
Jeffrey and his sister Jaime, before and after the transition. Jeffrey was born Jennifer but always knew he was a boy
‘Transitioning has 100 per cent saved my life,’ he said.
‘Every day I wake up I finally feel like I belong in this world and have some kind of purpose. I share my story on Instagram and I love getting messages from people saying I’ve helped them get through hard times and inspired them.
‘It means the world to me that I have been given this incredible opportunity to change lives.
‘I don’t know how many people I’ve saved, but it’s more than how many it would’ve been if I was buried 10 feet under the ground right now. It gets better and I just want people to know that.
Jeffrey before and after his transition. He attempted suicide before his sex change but now helps others during their transition
Jeffrey (centre left) with his parents Barbara and Jon and sister Jaime after his transition
Jeffrey before and after his transition. He used to hate his female body but now has learned to love how he looks after transitioning
‘I resented my body because I felt like it was punishing me, but over time and after surgery I’ve come to realise that my body has given me this incredible opportunity to help and inspire others who have struggled with similar things.
‘I still have several surgeries in my future, but I’ve finally reached a point where I can truthfully say I love my body.’
The aspiring cameraman and public speaker has so far undergone a double mastectomy to remove his breasts, as well as a complete hysterectomy to remove my uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix.
He hopes to have phalloplasty in the near future, which is a three-part surgery. He’s had roughly five hours of surgery so far.
Jeffrey is a keen runner, as he was before his transition. He only came to terms with his identity at the age of 22
Jeffrey before and after his transition. He said he felt like a male from the age of seven or eight
Jeffrey as a child (left and right, as a runner). He now shares his story on social media to help others who feel like he did at his lowest
Jeffrey explained how he felt like a male from a young age and the depths his hatred of his feminine body drove him to.
‘I can remember being not any older than seven or eight and going to sleep at night where I would have vivid dreams of being a boy,’ he recalled.
‘It felt incredibly real and I had this unimaginable sense of happiness, but as all dreams have to end, I eventually woke up, and every time I felt this huge weight on my chest as I realised I was still a girl.
‘It was not until the age of 22 that I came to terms with the fact that I am a male and it was physically and mentally impossible for me to live in my female body any longer.
‘I had come to a point in my life where it was impossible to see a future for myself. I had no life goals, as I was completely unable to live this life until the end as a female.
Jeffrey pictured at school (left) and as a full-grown male adult (right)
Jeffrey pictured with his mother (centre) and sister (right)
‘I was cutting my wrists with kitchen knives in an effort to distract myself from the pain I was feeling in life. I was writing suicide letters and trying to hang myself in my college dorm room closet.
‘I was standing on top of 10-storey high parking garages and trying to will myself to just jump.’
Jeffrey’s realisation saved his life but it was only the beginning of his journey.
‘I think the hardest part about transitioning was coming out,’ he added.
‘I didn’t know how people were going to respond and I was terrified I’d lose family or friends. Luckily, I didn’t lose any family but I did lose friends.
‘What I’ve learned though is those friends weren’t even really friends before because if they were, then they would have supported me through the most difficult process of my life.
Jeffrey’s father had to teach his son how to wear a tie following his transition
Jeffrey’s family welcomed their son with open arms when he came out as transgender but he said he did lose some so-called friends. Jeffrey pictured with his sister
‘I wrote a six-page letter for my family and friends detailing that I was transgender and that transitioning was the only direction I could head in life.’
He added: ‘After I started testosterone everyone in my life was using male pronouns and calling me Jeffrey, my preferred name.’
Jeffrey wants to offer hope for those who find themselves suffering in the same way as he did.
‘I am confident in the man I am today,’ he said.
‘I love my scars, my story, and where I came from. If a magic fairy could grant me the wish of being born male I would politely decline.
‘I feel lucky to be able to go through this experience of self-discovery. Being different is part of my identity now.
‘Genitals do not determine a man or woman, your heart and mind do. We did not choose to be transgender; we are simply just trying to be happy. How can someone hate on happiness?
‘Treat others as you would want to be treated, not ifs, ands, or buts.’