Hey Everyone ! my names Rach.
Wednesday 31st March is TDOV. What’s that I hear you say ? It stands for, Trans Day Of Visibility. Its International, and dedicated to celebrating transgender people, raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.
All my Trans Sister’s and Brother’s have a story to tell, about challenges they’ve faced, and decisions they’ve had to make, on a journey full of such diversity.
So here’s my story ...
But I really need to start at where it REALLY began, and how the fact that I’m here today, is against all odds in itself ...
It was 1943, Dad was at a Dancehall with his brother Charlie, they cast eyes on my Mum and her sister. Uncle Charlie got to Mum first and asked her out. Mum agreed to meet him 7pm outside the Cinema. There’s was a knock on my Mums door, and it was my Dad. He explained Charlie couldn’t make it, and that he would take her to the Cinema instead of him. Mum told my Dad, it was actually him she liked more, and she was glad he came to take her.
Two days later they were married, and Dad was off to train with his Squadron for the war. He mentioned to Mum he had told a lie, Charlie was unaware that my Dad had gone to ask my Mum to the Movies and hour early !
Dad’s Training finished, as he was supposed to go to Burma with his Squadron, he got news his father had been killed by a flying bomb, and was given compassionate leave. He later got news his Squadron had all been killed in Burma. How lucky was he ?
After the war, Mum and Dad settled down, and had four children, my Big Sister, twin boys and another brother years later.
One day whilst working in a corner shop, my Mum was out of breath again. This had been happening quite often. She went the doctors to be told ... she was pregnant with me ! It was a shock as I was not planned. She was 40 years of age.
So you see, not only was my Mum initially not going to be my with my Dad, he could of been killed with his Squadron in Burma, and I wasn’t planned either. But Rachel Cruz was determined to be here wasn’t she ?
I remember at 5 years old feeling different. I would dress with my niece in girls clothes some days, playing house, shop, wearing my Mum’s shoes, it felt quite normal.
Years past and I continued to dress up in secret, it felt so right, then after a while a feeling of guilt would come across me, and I would dress back in my male clothes, until the next time...
I went on to buy female clothes, shoes and to continue to dress up in secret, the the guilt would come again and I’d throw everything out that I had bought, and eventually the feeling inside of wanting to dress like a girl would come back, I’d buy more clothes and shoes etc, and the cycle would repeat itself.
There was no YouTube in those days, no media awareness of being Transgender.
I got engaged for the first time at 18, trying to have the life I was expected to have and even got into Bodybuilding. At 24 years old I was a 25 stone Bodybuilder. This was all to escape the feeling I had inside, telling me what I was wearing was not right, it just wouldn’t go away. I went on to get engaged 6 times.
The sixth time, I thought I had my life on the normal path. Good job, New car, Nice home. I’d been with my girlfriend 5 years, not dressed up once in secret, I had this beat.
The day of my wedding came. I was wearing a beautiful Italian Mohair suit, waistcoat, cravat and brogues too. Standing there with my Best man, I heard the organist start to play. She was walking down the isle behind me. This was it.
The music stopped, I turned to her she looked so beautiful, she took my breath away. Then in that moment from nowhere, I said to her we need to talk. We excused ourselves from the priest and went into a room at the side of the alter. It was like I was on autopilot. I told her, I had to be True to myself, her and God, and that I couldn’t marry her as I was a woman, a transgender woman, I felt such relief. I had kept this inside for over 40 years, and I couldn’t any longer. I never expected to do that that day.
The weeks passed and we talked and talked and she accepted things were over. I felt so bad for the timing of everything but also such a relief as the weight on my shoulders had gone.
I got myself a flat, and began to live the life that I was always meant to live as who I truly was. I registered with a GIC (Gender Identity Clinic) in Daventry, and began my Transitional Journey.
It was January 2016. I lived on the 25th floor, the very top, of a block of flats. I felt so lonely, made to feel worthless by my ex having stopped our wedding at the alter. She cut up all my ID, passport, driving licence etc, all my clothes and shoes, everything I owned. Was there a way out ?
I considered Suicide. I decided I was going to jump off the top floor. From nowhere I started to think, someone has to find me ? What if I survive the fall and am left disabled? I’m worth more than this ?
I realised the only way was up. Surely this was the lowest point of my life ?
Months passed and through no fault of my own, I became homeless in the November. It was a freezing that month. The first night I was so embarrassed I slept in a bush, down by the Manchester Ship Canal. I never slept as the cold went through my whole body.
The next day I went to the town hall to register as homeless, and was fortunate enough as I was classed as a vulnerable woman, was given somewhere to stay in temporary accommodation.
February 2017, I started to get stability in my life, somewhere to live, my own home, got myself an interview for a job, not just any job, but my very first job as Rachel, as a Woman.
I remember having passed my interview the week before, standing outside the office were I froze with fear. This was it. The first day of the rest of my life. Rachel was here, and here to stay she was, you go Girrrl !
Many other challenges came my way, but I kept my eyes on the finish line. Fake friends came and went, but gradually, new genuine friends came along, some who I now consider family stayed.
They simply loved me for being me. Even at my lowest times, my glass was always half full. You see I was never alone, my family was worldwide, the LGBTQ+ Community and everyone in between.
I’m now over 5 Years Transitioning, 4 years Hrt and on April 25th, I’ll be 2 years post GRS (Gender Reassignment Surgery). Life’s good.
I own my own home, have a Wonderful girlfriend, She’s my Soulmate, my Rock, my Whole World and my Everything. I also own my own Radio Station. I’m one of the Director’s of First Choice Radio and I get to enjoy my passion for Club Music too, I DJ Worldwide on The Secret Lounge Radio.
So now you know why, TDOV is so important to me, and all my Beautiful Trans Brothers and Sisters.
We all owe ourselves the love, that we so freely give to others.
You are the Artist of your own life, don’t hand the paint brush to anyone else.
Oh and one other thing, Where ever you are, know that you’re Loved.