This Is How Former Glee Star Jake Zyrus Transitioned While Staying True to Himself
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You may not recognize the name Jake Zyrus, but you definitely have heard him sing before. Up until fairly recently, the singer and Glee star was known by his birth name, Charice Pempengco. As Pempengco, he became famous after appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show and gaining a fan in mega-producer David Foster. This Sunday, after a year of silence on social media, he reemerged as Zyrus, and came out as trans.
After Zyrus came out as a lesbian in 2013 on a Philippine talk show, he admitted that the confession helped him feel “light.”
“I love myself, that’s why I’m able to do this,” he said to host Boy Abunda. Then, in 2014 during an episode of Winfrey’s Where Are They Now? Zyrus admitted there was more to him than just being a lesbian.
“My soul is male,” he said. “I’m not going to go through that stage where I change everything,” he admitted in the interview, adding that as a child, he knew as early as five that he was different. In 2016, as the cover model for Philippino queer magazine Mega Man, Pempengco was out as trans but it took another year before he reemerged as Zyrus.
Taking to his Twitter account, Zyrus presented his new name and gender expression earlier this week with an outpouring of gratitude, saying, “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.”
While we have yet to hear Zyrus’s new music, he promises to work as an advocate for LGBTQ+ issues in his home country, where sexuality and gender still have a way to go. “I stand up for myself,” he said, regarding the political climate in the Philippines, adding, “how I stand amid a lot of criticism without breaking down,” is what he hopes to show others afraid of coming out.
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(h/t People; photo via Mike Coppola/Getty)