Trailblazing transgender racing driver says transitioning ‘saved her life’

Transgender race car driver Charlie Martin in My Genderation film

Transgender racing driver Charlie Martin has spoken about the life-changing impact of her transition.

The endurance racing driver became the first out transgender person to compete in the Michelin Le Mans Cup, and aspires to take part in the famous Le Mans 24 Hour event.

She opened up about her experience of depression and anxiety prior to transitioning in a piece for Sky News.

Martin wrote: “Although I dealt with depression and anxiety when I was growing up, I reached a point when I was 30 that things were so bad that I was going to take my own life.

“I just didn’t want to carry on living. I lost all sense of connection with my identity. I’d look in the mirror and think, ‘I don’t know who the hell this person is staring back at me.’

“There was only one way I was going to carry on living and that was to transition, living as my true self.”

It was ‘incredibly scary’ returning to work after transitioning.

After taking time off from racing to start her transition in 2012, Martin explained that it was “incredibly scary” to go back to the sport.

She said: “Picture the scene: I’m walking back into that space that I know so well and people don’t know me, don’t realise it’s me, don’t know what’s happening, people are freaking out, looking very awkward and not speaking to me.”

Transgender racing driver Charlie Martin

Transgender racing driver Charlie Martin

The racing driver added: “I raced in France from 2015 to 2017 – I needed a challenge, somewhere people didn’t know me.

“I’d gone through the toughest bit of transition, I felt confident and really started to believe in myself.

“It was an awesome experience, I made so many friends. When I came out to people over there it didn’t really matter.

“I came back to race in the UK last year and no one really knew much about me. I don’t want to hide who I am, I want it to be a positive thing.

“There’s lots of parts of who I am as a person – and that’s one of them. Why hide it?”

Charlie Martin: I’d love to race Le Mans 24 Hours.

The driver added: “The race I’m hoping to do one day is the 24 hours at Le Mans – one of the most famous races in the world. That’s the big one that everybody knows.

“I’d love to make LGBT history and be the first transgender driver there – it would be an incredible achievement to do that.”

Motorsport is one of the few sports that does not divide competitors by gender, meaning that the driver has faced less media controversy than those in gender-segregated fields.