I Have a New Name. Still Feeling The Diversity Vibe Now?
16th April 2019
I guess it’s one of those times to really test people’s open-mindedness and tolerance. You might want to sit down before you read this.
You’ve no doubt noticed that my name has changed from David to Rachael. Yeah, me. I’m one of those people you read about, may have seen on TV documentaries, told a few jokes about (I have, we do have a sense of humour) in the bar or over dinner.
So, I was born both identifying as male and female. For nearly 30 years I have to take testosterone and steroids to try and ‘fit in’ and be ‘normal’ having been given the ‘male’ identity as a child. I made an OK go of it, I had a lot of wobbles along the way, sacrificed two marriages and ran away from great opportunities, to be the COO of a bank being a great example. I’m a forces veteran, I hold a Masters degree and multiple other post-grads. I worry about my bills, my future, my health, my family. It’s all quite boring, the way life is because we’re…normal.
My stroke last year was caused by a combination of burnout and living as someone I quite frankly have never identified with. Whilst the stroke damage is repaired, I cannot keep up the pretence as it will make things worse again. There’s been a lot of tough conversations over the past few months with the hospital and the way forward has been agreed, I need to correct the earlier decision and not go against the body’s natural rhythm.
I’ve had a good career so far, despite the inner-turmoil and the need My stroke to be someone else and I believe that if people are as grown-up and open-minded as they say they are nowadays, my career can continue. After all, if I can do what I have despite everything, imagine what I can do when I take away the core issues. Besides, if I stop lying to myself I am no longer lying to everyone else.
If you meet a Transgender person I ask that you remember that their experiences don’t go away when they transition, they don’t lose their education, experience or knowledge, they’re still as worthy as they were before they came out.
Transgender is medically recognised as a birth defect and hormonal defect in the womb, not a lifestyle choice or phase someone is going through. Did you know that 41% of Transgender people attempt suicide? Are more likely to be homeless and/ or jobless? As a minority group, we face the largest violence and murder rates in the world? Why? Discrimination through a lack of understanding and education. If you have questions, ask them. It’s easy to get the answers.
What’s next for me? In opting to correct my identity and transition. My body will be adjusting to the estrogen and I will adjust to a female form over the next 12 months. If I don’t, my body will continue to fight and it’ll probably kill me. So, not much choice there then. Choosing to move forwards is not easy but it’s also not really a choice. It’s become one of those boom-or-bust moments in life.
The next step for you is more personal. How do you feel when confronted with a Trans person? Are you confused, angry, disbelieving or is it irrelevant to the conversation at hand? Could you walk down the road with a Trans person, share a lunch, work with or for them?
So, how do you feel about the diversity question? Be honest with yourself, I’ll in all likelihood never know. But you will.