CHARLIE MARTIN IS THE FIRST TRANSGENDER DRIVER TO COMPETE IN THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS
What challenges did you experience in being a transgender woman in what is traditionally looked upon as a male-dominated sport?
One of the hardest things was growing being unable to see any trans (or any LGBTQ+) visibility in motorsport, it made me feel as though I would never be accepted. So even before I began transition, the narrative that was hard-wired into my brain from a young age was already an obstacle. Another issue was a complete absence of awareness around what it meant to be trans: most people had never met anyone like me and I had to educate everyone around me.
Why do you think it is so important to be true to your own identity?
When we compartmentalise fundamental aspects of our personality, our behaviours and beliefs, it’s a painful experience. Even if over time you become so accustomed to living this way that you do it subconsciously, it’s tiring and prevents you from unlocking your true potential as a human being. When you live authentically, the feeling is reversed and everything flows – your thoughts, creativity, emotions, ability to focus, performance… it’s endless.
What have been your proudest achievements?
There are so many moments I’m grateful for throughout my career, but just being out there racing as the real me feels special. No matter what happens on track, each time I go out to race I know that I’m representing the community in way that can help educate people and increase empathy, whilst inspiring people to feel empowered by showing what is possible with determination.