Born male in a small town in Ohio, Rachael’s earliest memories are of wishing upon every shooting star that her body would be different. She spent early childhood running up to drinking fountains after her girl classmates in hopes of “catching” whatever it was that made them girls. It was a feeling Rachael hoped would go away with age, a wife, children, and time in the U.S. military service. But it didn’t: She could never shake her deep understanding that she was female, living life in the wrong gender.
After 40 years of fighting her inner struggle, Rachael almost gave up, but a good friend talked her through it, making her realize that she had to make the change she’d always dreamed of. She understood now that it was less about courage and more about the conviction that this change would save her life – and so she transitioned to live as the woman she has long known herself to be. Everyone should be given a fair shot at achieving their dreams; that’s what Rachael is working on. But without explicit laws protecting transgender people from discrimination, transgender Americans ones are too often singled out, disadvantaged, and cast aside just for being who they are.