A stigma is a mark, a way to see or treat a person in a negative way because of their identity, their experiences or a health condition. HIV stigma is when a person is treated badly because they are HIV positive or are thought to be HIV positive.
I act for a living. That would make sense, what with going to drama school. It’s tough – brutal at times – but I love it. And I love being trans, in every capacity. Simply knowing myself to be ‘trans’ makes me feel whole. And being both trans and an actor makes me a ‘trans actor’ – I love that, too. But, prior to this year, I was stuck in a habit of forgetting who I am.
As my 27th birthday came and went, I gradually opened up, learned the words to express what I felt inside, and came to terms with my trans queer self. A future that previously seemed incomprehensible began to enter my sightlines, and I eventually came out as a trans woman.
What I didn’t see coming, was the warm glow of maternal desire I’ve felt in my body since turning 30. I’ve not medically transitioned, and the visceral depth of these feelings has taken me by complete surprise.
The connotations of describing a transgender person as a “trap” is significant, especially nowadays because there is more overlap with the real world and the internet than in the past
I don’t want to become another statistic because someone thinks that they have the right to treat me however they see fit – whether that’s because I’m transgender or because I’m a woman.
Local Radio broadcasting is a perfect venue to share that knowledge and experience. My programme, ‘The Rachel Oliver Show’, on Sonder Radio Manchester is firmly aimed at the transgender community and specifically with our allies and friends in mind. It’s a station essentially for the mature population of over 50s and is enjoyed by people of all ages.