Meet our Volunteer: Rachel Cruz

Published: 27 May 2016 Tags: lgbt, volunteer, womens programme By John Walding

Hi everyone! My names Rachel, and I'm a trans lesbian woman.

I grew up the youngest of five, 3 brothers and one sister, myself being the youngest. I identified myself as a girl from from the age of five, and it was only into my teens that I started to be attracted to girls, little did I know that it was because I was as lesbian.

It was not until my early twenties that I recognised myself as a trans lesbian woman. I was bullied up until the age of fourteen by everyone including my elder brother, and this made me take up Jiu Jitsu. I achieved a Black Belt 2nd Dan and learnt to dance professionally, and slowly but surely gained great confidence and great self-esteem. This has helped me come out as who I truly am...Rachel yey !

Coming out as a trans lesbian woman had a big impact on my life. My now ex-girlfriend’s first words to me were "what you're a Lesbian? well I'm not gay so I cannot be with you" Having to deal with being a trans woman and then the issues and complexities of being gay, was really hard. But defining my own identity was such an important part of coming out and coming to accept who I truly am.

I found LGBT Foundation when I came out of a long relationship and went online to see what was out there that could help me as a trans lesbian woman. I joined a weekly women's group on a Tuesday night, where I met so many new female friends, gained confidence in who I was, felt valued, and this made me interested in volunteering.

I now volunteer in a variety of roles including the Women’s Programme and TransMCR for the Trans Programme every month. I have also taught a Self Defence Class at TransMCR in April and am teaching a Dance Class in June’s TransMCR.

I am passionate about more equality for women so we need more safe spaces for our groups, more awareness for women through outreach and netreach and a variety of workshops to get more women involved. I love to socialise, meet new people and volunteer wherever and whenever I can to help women have a better wellbeing and better life.

I also started work in April, as a woman for the first time and am loving every minute of it! I stand tall, hold my head up high and work with confidence and am proud of who I am, so watch out world, Rachel's here, and here to stay she is!

Rachel x

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