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British racing driver Charlie Martin, shares her inspirational story as she embarks on the biggest challenge of her life: to become the first transgender racing driver to compete in the Le Mans 24 hour race.
In this episode of the GenderGP podcast Charlie joins Dr Helen and Marianne to discuss the importance of being a role model and why you should never give up on your dreams.
If you have been affected by any of the topics discussed in our podcast and would like to get in touch please drop us a line at info@GenderGP.co.uk. You can also contact us on social media where you will find us at @GenderGP on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
We are always happy to accept ideas for future shows, so if there is something in particular you would like us to discuss or a specific guest you would love to hear from, let us know. Your feedback is really important to us so if you could take a minute or two to leave us a review and rating for the podcast on iTunes it will help others to discover us.

Charlie Martin, Racecar Driver

Follow Charlie on Twitter: @gocharliem
Charlie’s website https://www.gocharlie.co.uk
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Charlie Martin’s race to the top – The GenderGP Podcast S3 E2

Hello, this is Dr Helen Webberley. Welcome to our Gender GP Podcast, where we will be discussing some of the issues affecting the trans and non-binary community in the world today, together with my co-host Marianne Oakes, a trans woman herself, and our head of therapy.

Dr Helen Webberley: I’m really excited to welcome you, Charlie, to our podcast. I just wonder whether you’d like to introduce yourself? And tell us who you are and why you are interested in trans advocacy, and just a bit about you.

Charlie Martin: Thank you. Well, I think, first of all, thanks for having me on. It’s great to join you this morning. So yeah, I’m Charlie Martin. I’m a racing driver, and I’m a trans woman. I transitioned about six years, no, seven years ago. So, kind of midway through my racing career, which was quite a daunting thing to do, really, in such a male-dominated form of sports. And since then, you know, I’ve been vlogging on YouTube and really just trying to share my transition in a way that would help inspire people, really. And that’s now grown into me working with Stonewall, and Mermaids, and Athlete Ally in the USA, and really just trying to use my profile, my platform, within my sport. And I guess within the media to an extent as well to just try and educate people and create positive awareness for the trans community. So yeah, I do as they do, a bit of motivational speaking now, and trying to change people’s perception of what it is like to transition. 

Dr Helen Webberley: It’s interesting what you say, because we are often asked, “Why are trans issues becoming so prevalent, so loud, in the last few years?” and no one really knows, but I think a lot of it has to do with higher-profile people coming forward and being brave enough to share their stories. And you, people call those role models and whatever you like. What are your thoughts on the influence that has on younger people, or older people even? You know, being brave enough to come forward with their trans journey?

Charlie Martin: I think it makes a huge impact, just looking at it from my own perspective for a moment, I mean I know when I was really young –obviously that was before YouTube, the internet or anything—there wasn’t anything visible for trans people. And certainly, we had no real role model growing up. And that made things really difficult for me. And I think that is true that you can extrapolate that for so many people. If you can’t really see the people who you look up to in school or in life or in a career you really connect with—you know, more and more younger people now are more open about their gender identity. And I think when there is an absence of people who are visible it makes it a lot harder for people to really see that, a, they will be supported, and b, that they know they can have a successful life career, all those things, really. I think it has a really positive knock on when you have people who are visible. I feel like visibility is one of the things to creating change, really. And it is something I am so passionate about now, and you know, breaking down gender stereotypes, which another kind of knock on that part. 

Marianne Oakes: I was just going to ask a question, Charlie, because I know from my own experience, I worked in a very male-dominated environment and that in itself was a really big deal for me and held me back for many years and I am just wondering, but you know I am imagining what it was like for a racing car driver. How much of that held you back? Or did it hold you back? Was the time just right when you came out?

Charlie Martin: I think it did. I mean it’s worth saying, as well. A lot of people are trying to make it in racing. You know, I had a day job as well, which was working in engineering in a family business. I also had the experience of working in a very male-dominated career from racing and from engineering. And I think I couldn’t. In either of those spaces, I never saw anyone who is trans or who was just openly LGBT. So, you have nothing to go on. We all as human beings have a tendency to imagine the worst-case scenario. That’s something that is just hardwired in us. And I think, for me, 25 years of living with the wrong gender expression in a career in a working environment where there is no diversity, I just convinced myself that I wouldn’t be accepted, that I wouldn’t be supported. And I think in terms of race, I felt especially bad that people wouldn’t really accept me as the kind of woman that I wanted to be, who I wanted to be, who I wanted to become. I just ran my own car. I used to do absolutely everything. A lot of that work was really hands-on and quite physical. And again, you know, I thought people will look at me and think well that’s not very typically a female thing to be doing and then coming from that position, that would make it even harder. So, I just told myself this is impossible. This is not something I am capable of doing. 

Dr Helen Webberley: So, what changed? Because clearly, you didn’t listen to yourself. You came to convince yourself that you wouldn’t be accepted or supported, but then you came out and transitioned six years ago. So, what changed it for you? You know, there will be people listening saying how do I make that leap? I will never pass. I will never be accepted as the woman that I am. So how do you make that leap? 

Charlie Martin: I think for me, I reached a very critical point in my life, to be honest, where I became very depressed. I was having an identity crisis where I just basically could no longer identify with the person that I saw standing in front of the mirror. And that got so intense that I actually was suicidal coming towards the end of 2011. And really, that forced me to confront my demons head-on because I realised that there is a way through this, as scary as it is, and that is to transition. And you know, I’ve lost friends who have taken their own lives, and I suppose I can also say that I have seen the impact that has on people that are left behind. And I can also say having lost both my parents at a relatively young age, I felt like—as hard as that moment felt for me, I realised that, you know, I owe this to my parents to carry on living. They would want for me to be happy and to live the life that they’ve given me. And as scary as transition felt, I just had to face it and commit to it. And so, you know, I walked away from motorsport at that point in time, because I just realised that I need to make things as easy as I could. I needed the space and time to really focus on me. I think I realised that I had spent so much of my life putting other people forward and putting my own needs last. And to suddenly try and reverse that felt very selfish and very unnatural. But actually, I just had to look at it and say, you know what, I am going to make this work. I have just got to start doing things for me, things that are going to make me happy. Which I think, maybe for a lot of people in life is just an automatic thing, but for me, it felt very natural. So yeah, that first year, I mean, I was lucky to have some really good support from my older brothers and from my friends and going back to motorsport was a gradual thing. I think it was January that I kind of started saying to people that I was transitioning, that this is happening. And I think it was September of that year that I actually went back without my car just to walk back into the paddock and see what it was going to be like. I told two of my best friends that I raced with. One of them never really spoke to me again, and that really hurt to be honest. Because he was kind of like a father figure to me. But the other guy was Jerry. He’s been one of my biggest supporters all through my transition. Just took it all in his stride. And I think he helped tell people in the racing community what was going on. So, when I did go back—it was really scary. To this day, it is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, walking back into that paddock. But I got through it, and I remember a handful of my friends who really made a big effort to help me get through that day just to make me feel like they wanted me. I’m sure they didn’t want me to be there, but they really feel like actually these people have really got my back. I mean, you’re talking out of like a couple hundred people, you talk about five or six people who really made that effort that day but it was enough for me to think that Rome wasn’t built in a day, like, I can build on this. So, the next year, I went back, committed to a full season. And I don’t know, I suppose sometimes you have got to take a long-term view and things aren’t exactly the right way. Back then, I didn’t feel so comfortable with the way I looked, the way I sounded like, all kinds of things. But I thought that this is a defined period in time which is going to get easier and people are going to get more used to me. So, if this is as bad as it is going to get, if I can handle that, then it’s only going to get better, and that is something worth fighting for. 

Dr Helen Webberley: Yeah, it’s funny, isn’t it, Marianne? Because I have only ever known you post-transition, so I never saw your fear or how scary it might have been for you. Does what Charlie say resonate with your experience? 

Marianne Oakes: It does. The one thing I picked up there is how important it is having a friend to some degree advocate that you didn’t walk in to a space with people being ignorant to what was happening, and that sounds like that was a great help to you. And I think that’s that in the early stage of my transition, I wasn’t fortunate to have, actually. But as people got to know me, then that grew. But that sounds like that was really important. That got you through that day, would that be fair to say?

Charlie Martin: A lot of people didn’t necessarily realise it was me, or didn’t know what was going on or just didn’t know what to say or do or how to even approach me. And I don’t think any of that was like an unkind thing. It was probably mainly just people not knowing what is the right thing to do. But when you are on the receiving end of that, that is very scary because if you create your own dialogue in your head and you’re like, okay, what are they thinking now? I think as time went by and maybe then the odd person started talking to me and then you kind of explain to them and then they probably went off and got to other and say, you know what, I was talking to Charlie and she actually kind of explained things to me, and I kind of get it now, you know. And I think it’s the sort of conversations you have at those times that really are when things start to grow. And as time went by, it became just quite natural. I think as you said, Marianne, you really need somebody to be fighting your corner or have people fighting your corner when you’re in those early days because it just makes all the difference knowing that you are not just going in something alone quite young. 

Marianne Oakes: Quite a lot of people will ask me, can I just have a chat with the parents? Because you really struggle to have these conversations as well. And I think people sometimes forget, especially when we’ve gone through the process, it feels like it’s so obvious now, it’s so easy. I think people that are just starting out—I can actually feel it inside now just talking about it, how it felt in those early days. So, having that level of advocacy just makes all the difference. And I feel honoured that sometimes I can talk to a parent and open dialogue, if nothing else, between the child and the parent. 

Charlie Martin: I think that is an amazing thing to be able to do. I was doing some work with Mermaids recently, and it was the first time that I had ever been in this position where you’ve got trans children and their parents together. And to be able to speak to the parents and I guess for them—just to be able to share your experience with them and having gone through everything and now being in a very happy place in my life, it’s an empowering thing to be able to share with people. I felt very privileged to be able to do that, really. 

Dr Helen Webberley: Children are always the more emotive group. They cause a lot of public outcry and difference in opinion. They certainly cause a lot of consternation in the medical world. You know, how can you medicate a child? How can you change a child? But actually, when you’ve worked with trans children, and you’ve been in that room which you just described, Charlie, that children and their parents are there listening to real-life stories of the challenges, the difficulties, the beauty of being a trans child in today’s society. You can’t ever turn away from that, and you know, people have often said to us in our organisation, you know, they’re such a risky group for you. Why don’t you just leave them and concentrate on the adults? I think once you’ve met them, like you said, how can you walk away from that amazing group of people? Those people who have the fortune to be able to express their gender and talk about their gender as young people, unlike you Charlie and Marianne, who had to wait until much later in life in order to be able to get that language to fit with the gender feelings, and then put something in place to make your lives happier, and not go down that suicide route that you were talking so candidly about. So, the children are everything. And I think they are an amazing inspiration. And the role models, you talked about YouTube at the beginning, and of course, there will be people who scoff at YouTube and social media, but the internet gives people the power, doesn’t it? It gives people the power, the information, the resources that just weren’t there 20 years ago, and you know, so many of the people that come to us have learned that vocabulary through the internet. And again, people like you sharing your stories, those role models, they are really important for trans people coming through. I just wanted to ask you, actually, you said, interestingly that you said, was transitioning going to be as scary as you thought it would be? How did the fear feel? Just as scary, less scary, or scarier? Is that an easy answer for you? 

Charlie Martin: I think it kind of varied in a way. I found that I regularly had to push myself out of my comfort zone and do things that at times I almost felt like I was pinching myself, and saying why am I really doing this? You know, am I going into this situation as me right now? But then I think when you are really committed to somethings, there are things sometimes, there are moments which are scary. Sometimes there were moments which were just a bit exhilarating. And other times, there were very happy moments. It’s such a rollercoaster. I mean it’s hard to think back was it harder than I thought it would be? It was very different to how I thought it would be, I guess, because I had spent my whole life thinking what transitioning could be like, and I remember having moments, certainly in the first year, where I would be sitting getting ready in the morning and it would take me so long to try and feel comfortable with how we looked. I’m just sitting on the end of my bed just thinking, what am I doing? I could actually just not do this. It was a period of very intense introspection, I suppose. But I guess I just always told myself that it was going to be that defined period whereby I am always someone who is very practical in terms of whatever the problem is that I am facing. I will kind of sit down and look at it logically and figure out a plan. And once I have my focus set on something, I’m very driven. I am somebody who loves having goals and objectives to work on in life. And I think, you know, transitioning was a huge project in a way like that because it was like, you know, it was years of my life. It was operations. It was working the NHS. It was saving money or these things. But I guess I just kind of absorbed myself in it so thoroughly that it just—I just kind of became a part of that whole process. It does take over your life, really. It was hard at times, but it was the first year that was the hardest for me. From then on, I was really lucky to be able to have facial feminisation surgery. And that made a really big difference to me. I think from that point onwards things got a lot easier for me. 

Marianne Oakes: I always say transition is just a period of time, really. I don’t think we ever stop transitioning, but I think that the pain of transition gets easier, doesn’t it, with time? And you were just relating there, that I don’t think that people appreciate that there are good days and bad days, and there are days where we have doubts. You just reminded me of I was in a changing room once, trying a top on, and I looked in the mirror, and said oh my god what am I doing? How have I got here? And I am kind of wondering how that is for you? Did you have times where you sat in your racing car and thinking how did you get here? To be this woman?

Charlie Martin: Yeah, I really had a lot of those moments. I mean, I raced back in the UK for a couple of years, then I went off and raced in France for three seasons but still living in the UK. But that period of my life was three of the happiest years I’ve ever had in my entire life. Because I felt like I was a new person there, and to a large extent, I was. People didn’t know me from before, and I can speak French, so I just really threw myself into French culture and made so many new friends and everything, and so many experiences that I found myself in over there. I think that was for me—I really just stopped and forgot that I was trans, like I think I had been so focused on all the aspects of transition that had to happen, and it was very much like, “I want to do this in two years.” And when I got over to France, just finding myself in places and some of the people I’ve met and some of the places they invited me to go to, like other races and things. I’d never dreamt that I would be here racing in France. Period. That in itself feels like quite a miraculous thing because I started off club racing and I never really had huge aspirations or maybe if I did, they just seemed behind the sky. So, to be doing that, as me, as a woman, and actually have a really lovely group of friends, people who I had come out to and told that I was trans, and it just didn’t make any difference. I just felt incredibly lucky. Even having waited as long as I did, I spent a lot of time thinking, oh yeah, I did this too late. Should I just have done this when I was 13? All these things. To then be in that kind of point where everything is falling into place; there were a lot of pinch me moments.

Marianne Oakes: Do you feel that –because you said there that you didn’t have any aspirations in terms of your race— the transition opened a bit of your mind to start thinking about like and what do you really want? 

Charlie Martin: Massively. I think I grew up limiting my vision of what I could achieve in my life. And a big part of that is because I was trans. When I was really young, the only trans women I saw were in pornography. Literally, there were no trans actresses or actors or sports people. Literally they were the only people I was seeing as a trans person. And I spent a lot time thinking that if I transition, what job am I going to get, because who’s going to give me a job? What am I going to do? I mean, I studies graphic design at university and I always wanted to work in that industry, but even then, I thought well, I’m going to have to work here in the adult film industry because that’s the only trans people o can see that have got jobs. Which sounds preposterous, but that’s how I used to think. So, the idea of my aspiring to have a nice lifestyle with a nice job and a nice house and holidays, and be able to be trans, just didn’t seem like a reality. Which is really sad, and I just hope—I don’t want anyone to grow up feeling like that, because I think if I had known, I’d have open up to other people. I mean I have a pretty good work ethic and I want to, like you say, when I have a goal or something I work really hard. I spent a lot of my life just kind of drifting, not really knowing what I am going to be doing. Whereas now, I’m just like, yeah, this is who I am, this is what I want, and I’m just going to go out there and get it. It’s very strange, I feel like my life is split into two chapters, really. Before and after transition. It’s really been the key for me to unlock potential.

Dr Helen Webberley: Speaking as a cis person, and going back to what we were saying earlier, people not knowing the right thing to say or the right thing to do, there is still such a lot of fear or mis- or mal-education and misinformation surrounding trans people. And I wonder, thinking about employment, are people scared of employing a trans person? What do you do about the workplace, the clothing, the talking, the language? And I really hope that by doing work like this, the advocacy roles, will help to inform cis people that it’s not scary. Trans people are not scary. They are a beautiful part of our society. And employing a trans person, you don’t have to work in the adult film industry. You have amazing values, like anyone else does. But it’s that fear, isn’t it? You know, what if I say the wrong thing, what if I do the wrong thing? What if I ask the wrong question? What if I look the wrong way? And then you’ve got your own feelings with what are they thinking about me, what are they looking at? What are they spotting or noticing? And it’s that fear, isn’t it? It’s horrible.

Charlie Martin: I think so. I mean, through the motivational speaking I do, to a lot of larger companies who are just by the sheer fact that I am there, see they are actively committed to educating the—whether that senior leadership of whatever level of the company, they want people to have an in-depth understanding of a trans person in their life experience to make things better and to educate people, really. But I think as you go down to smaller companies, it’s perhaps more of a fear, really, because smaller companies tend not to have policies and an HR department, and perhaps people are more focused on day-to-day business and making things add up. I think you’re right. I think there is a lot of fear amongst people. To me so many of these things seem logical. But again, when someone has never knowingly met a trans person, then it’s that fear that can hold back a lot of progress and it can impede people from getting jobs from companies opening their doors, and in a way, that is going to attract all talent, you know? Regardless of someone’s gender identity or their past or anything. I’m sure any employer just wants the best person for the job. I think it’s about them appealing to everybody, and people feeling like, well, I am going to be supported in this company. Or maybe I had a really bad experience in a previous company or whatever. But people need to feel like they’re going to be protected. I don’t think anyone wants special treatment, I think we just want the same things as cisgender people. I think so much of it is just education. 

Marianne Oakes: So, a nice point here is can we do the job? Can we fit into the workspace? Can we get on with other people? The same qualities you would expect from any employee. I think the politics are put there through ignorance. I don’t think there needs to be the politics, but unfortunately it is in the workplace.

Charlie Martin: Yeah, I mean hopefully it is something that will change over time. I think the challenge is for smaller organisations, because certainly my experience is that bigger companies tend to be more geared up to have more diverse work forces anyway. When you’re got a big number of employees, you’ve got bigger awareness, and that is going to filter down to smaller companies. Giving people practical advice as well.

Dr Helen Webberley: Do you mind if I ask you about your facial feminisation surgery? I’m interested from the medical point of view because I know on the NHS, that the NHS have a prescribed list of procedures that people are allowed or are entitled to. But this isn’t necessarily right for all people. People have different dysphoria about different parts of their body or the way they look or speak or what have you. And facial feminisation surgery is not available on the NHS, whereas for example, genital reassignment surgery is available. What are your thoughts on surgery and what different people may need or want or desire? 

Charlie Martin: I know hands down the impact it made for me, and I’ve got quite a few friends who had it done. Facial feminisation surgery is available in Scotland, as well. I’ve got a few friends who go that treatment done. The people that I had my surgery with, (unclear 30:26), they changed my life, really. That surgery was something that I knew I wanted from day one. Knowing how much of an impact it made on me, I think anyone who feels they need that surgery should have access to it. I mean, I had to remortgage my house to fund my surgery, which felt like a pretty extreme thing to do. I was lucky I was in a situation that I had a home I could borrow against. It was a big thing for me to do. I had never really had any surgery before. I think transition—people say no two transitions are the same and what one person is comfortable with the other person isn’t comfortable with and so on. You know, things like YouTube are great because they create communities where people can learn and share experiences. That is particularly helpful for people. For example, I have had so many people contact me over the years to ask me about my own experiences from surgery. And I always try and help people to the best of my ability, to try and guide them through whatever aspect of surgery they are trying to find out about. It’s a scary thing for a lot of people. When I had surgery, all of (unclear) I had, I felt very—I don’t know, I was really looking forward to them if I am honest—I guess I just didn’t worry too much, I was fixed on the outcome. I’m really looking forward to having this done because I know why I am having this done. It’s elective surgery. It was always a really positive experience for me, even when you factor in recovery times and things like that. but I have equally met people who are very scared of surgery and the risks and everything else it’s just doing what is right for you, really.

Marianne Oakes: It’s really interesting, because it’s people having to do what they have to do to get where they need to be to be comfortable in their own skin. I think the surgery, I always say that by the time you lay on the surgeon’s table, if you don’t know there is something wrong—and I like the way you said you were looking forward to the surgery because it was what you knew you needed to do—I think from what Helen was asking as well, I think listening to you talk then, that was the key to you being comfortable. That everything before that was big and scary but that gave you the confidence to move forward to whatever other surgery or whatever life had. Would that be fair to say?

Charlie Martin: Yeah, I think so. I think for me, my life after FFS—and I noticed the difference straight away—I just felt confident about how I looked. That then helped me believe in myself more and believe in what I am doing and in the whole process that I committed to. It’s two things combined: confidence and self-belief. These just grew and grew. and that translated into me taking bolder steps into my life in terms of things I was trying to do, and situations that I was comfortable throwing myself into, and it made me a bit more of a risk-taker. Transition was the biggest risk I could ever take, in a way. My life is very different than before transition, and I didn’t really feel—I mean I felt like I knew what I wanted, but it was really a leap into the unknown. There was no guarantee that it was going to go the way I wanted it to go. And so, to commit to that and actually go really well and be really happy, I just felt like actually, nothing is as scary as that, really. I started to really believe in the power of possibility and started pushing myself in all other areas. And started pushing myself in racing, as well. I mean, if you look at how I push myself in racing and the result that I had on my career and results at that point in time, that just transformed it overnight. I mean, it was really the key to meet my full potential. 

Marianne Oakes: I always say that whether it’s hormones or surgeries, it’s not about necessarily being life-saving, but it can be life-making, if that makes sense.

Charlie Martin: Yeah, it really does. I think that is very true. As you said earlier, transition is always something that is always still happening, on a deeper level. I think for me, I was very focused on the physical aspects of transition, and after a period, I was like, wow, it is the things that go on inside which were really the big thing. People see you exteriorly, people see physical changes and how you dress, all these things. But actually, what is going on under the surface is just far bigger than anything else, really. That’s an ongoing thing. It’s growing as a person and understanding yourself. It has really been a fascinating period and a fascinating process to go through. Even now, I am still doing things and thinking, wow, why did I do that? Oh, this would be different. I learned that I love pushing myself outside my comfort zone. What felt very scary to me seven or eight years ago doesn’t feel scary now. So that means that some of the thigs that I went through at work or in racing, I think it’s like do you want to do this—I’m like I’ll go live on a television program and present something. You know, I think I’ve done that before. That will be fun. And it’s just really enabled me to live my life in a very full and open way.

Dr Helen Webberley: You certainly sound very happy. You know, going back to the guy that you said never spoke to you again, your mentor, I heard lots of people tell me about the losses that they’ve had because of the decisions that they made to be themselves, and you know a lot of those losses involve people who are close to you, your loved ones, your family. Did you ever tell him about how much that hurt? Do you have any advice for people who are scared of losing people in their life if they make that “selfish” –in inverted commas– decision?

Charlie Martin: I wrote him a couple of emails that he never replied to. I mean, we did acknowledge each other a little bit, but we never really had any real dialogue that perhaps I had hoped for. I mean, I can count on one hand the people who were negative towards me in my life, and so actually in the big scheme of things, the positives outweighed the negatives. I think I’d say to anyone that there are risks going into transition. But the people who really care about you and really love you will always be there for you. And if they step back and step away, that is them it is not your fault. That is their inability to understand their own insecurities. And so, for one, try not to take it personally because really that’s a reflection of that person and how they feel about life and how they feel they fit into your life and you fit into their life. So, don’t beat yourself up, and also focus on the positives. We can all have a hundred good reviews and good comments or good somethings, and then they’ll have one negative, and you’ll focus on that, and you’ll be like that’s the human thing to do. But try to focus on all the good people in your life because people come around in time. It’s not always, but I think it is good to focus on the people who are there for you and if someone is not going to support you, then just don’t try and force it and maybe take a step back and be there with the people who love you for you. 

Marianne Oakes: I always say if the relationships are genuine, then they will survive. If it is based on what they want from you as a person, then they are not going to survive, and they needed to be something that you are not able to be. Eventually, that relationship would come to an end anyway.  

Charlie Martin: Exactly. It’s like people say, don’t they? If people that’s really how they feel, would you want them to be a big part of your life? Because personally, I mean it is easy for me to say it as well. When someone doesn’t understand me or agree with my life choices—not really a life choice but I mean if somebody doesn’t like that then do I really want that person in my life because I disagree with them on a lot of levels. I know it is easy to say that, and especially if that person is a close member of your family or your parents, you can’t just be that blasé and say, oh well, you know. Because that is hard to deal with. We do have to walk a difficult path as trans people. And I think fundamentally, we need to be the people that we feel we are. And it is not fair for anyone to limit that and to try and stop you from living the life that you need to live. And if that somebody is stopping you from doing that through their emotional control or their ties over you, then that’s not really fair either. So, you have to do what is right for you. 

Dr Helen Webberley: We’ve had people of all ages come to us saying, “I can’t live this lie anymore.” Whether they are a young person, whether they are in their nineties, we’ve had 90-year-olds say, “I don’t want to die in this pretend world. I want to die as me, my authentic self.” And definitely listening to you telling us your story of going really deep down into despair, and even that suicidal space which we hear about, which is so terribly sad. I am so glad that you didn’t go down that path, and now hearing your happiness in your voice, your inspiration, your drive for life and your career and your racing, and now sharing that with other people to inspire them to come and take that brave leap that you talked about it so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, really. I don’t know if there’s anything else that you wanted to say, or anything that we haven’t touched on that you feel may be useful for people listening to your story.

Charlie Martin: I kind of set my stall out, really, to try and be the first trans driver to compete at the first 24 hours of Le Monde which is a huge undertaking. I am just focused on that for the foreseeable future, really, in terms of raising the necessary budget to do that which is really the biggest hurdle to me. I don’t come from money so. Need to raise that through partnerships and so that’s a big focus in my life. I would also like to start working in television a bit, that’s something that’s interested me for a long time, and I guess having done various TV appearances over the last year, I’d like to try and get into presenting, somehow. And so yeah, I mean beyond that, I am just trying to live and share as much as I can to try and help and inspire other people and to try and change hearts, minds, and society, really. You know, when I think of all the people that I have met going through transition who’ve said, “Oh yeah, you know, well wow, I didn’t realise what it was like to be trans.” Just those conversations that you have with people. And every single one of those conversations has been pretty much a positive experience. And I think that okay, well, that’s hundreds of people that I have met over the last seven years who, on a face-to-face basis, have changed their understanding of what it is like to be a trans person living in the world. And I just think I just want to reach more and more people because I feel very lucky to be where I am in my life and I am comfortable talking about my experiences. I want to use that opportunity to do good, really, in whatever way or shape or form. 

Dr Helen Webberley: Right. Well, you’ve certainly inspired me, and I think you will definitely have inspired anyone listening to this podcast today. And thank you so much for sharing it. You look amazing, you sound amazing, and you know, your story is amazing. Thanks so much for being with us today. 

Charlie Martin: Thanks so much for having me on. It’s been really fun.

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