1. ITV Report

Teenager confronts community after it taunts him for being transgender

Teenager confronts community after it taunts him for being transgender Photo: ITV News

A young man from Devon who was born a girl and suffered years of abuse, is confronting his community tonight to try to overturn prejudice against people like him.

Jak Furlong grew up as Jessica Credit: Family photo

18 year old Jak Furlong from South Molton will be speaking at an event aimed at raising awareness about being transgender. Jak says he hopes to put the years of emotional pain he's suffered behind him.

Jak furlong was born in a girls body and grew up as Jessica. He told ITV News that it became a real struggle growing up in a rural area facing daily taunts.

Todays he`s held a special awareness event in his local pub, organised by Kay Browning, also born as a woman who became a transgender campaigner after his own experiences.

I just want to be male, be who I truly am. I want to go out and enjoy myself. I just want people to understand that not feel the need to give me abuse on a daily level. It's horrible. Having to be permanently paranoid going out on the street because people know me, give me abuse, seeing people I used to go to school with. It's horrible. I just want them to know that they can't do stuff like this. It's not nice to push someone to a level that they feel ashamed of their own body."

– Jak Furlong
Jak helped to organise an awareness event at his local pub Credit: ITV News

3 in every 1,000 people are believed to be transgender. Jack believes there may even be customers in the pub who used to shout abuse at him.

Jack is looking forward to head off to university this autumn for a fresh start no longer ashamed of who he is.