This story was found with the help of Diversity Role Models which actively seeks to prevent homophobic and transphobic bullying in UK schools.
I’m Victoria Baker, or Tori as my friends call me. I’m from London in the UK, been living in London for most of my life.
I’ve known I guess that I’m transgender since I was about 3 and a half. My sisters used to play with me, used to dress me. And the reason why I remember this or kind of those moments is I was elated. I had a feeling of happiness that I rarely get. And actually for the first time I felt very different.
At the age of about 4, 4 and a half, my dad found me for the first time and what I remember is is that feeling of just hate really, the feeling of pain and fury and violence and shouting and kind of being told that you can’t do something can from a very young child to be given that message of trying to find who you are, it’s a big thing. It lead to a lot of fear, it lead to a lot of change.
Now, the ages of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and so on, through my kind of my early childhood, the same thing happened. I was hiding my clothes, I was trying to find time to be myself, to feel normal. And each time I was discovered, I was hit, I was beaten, I was screamed at, I was kind of told that I was wrong basically. My dad used to start calling me “gay” from that time and what it started to do was really confuse me. I started to question if I was gay, what was wrong with me, what was going on. So I did the opposite from about 9, I tried to over-masculinize, I tried to become the opposite to try to protect myself. We call it “covering” sometimes, so you add a cover to protect yourself, like an enclosed case really.
So I did all the things I should have done, or thought I should do so I did taekwondo. I was very good. I’m a black belt. I was a hooker at rugby, I was playing football, I was playing hockey, I was playing all the sports things that I guess as a young man, I was meant to with that hope that one day my dad would be proud. But what it started to foster inside me was a huge amount of sadness, a dark place.
So at the age of 15, I realized I couldn’t express myself. I had no way to get a voice to the world so I went to music. And at that time it was my only route to expression so I went to it very extremely. I started to play a lot. I have a lot of hand injuries today where I’ve actually hurt my hands quite extremely from the amount I used to play. But it gave me a voice in the world for the first time, it gave me expression, it gave me beauty and all of the things that I was craving inside.
I was already in a bad place, I started touring, started to play a lot of gigs and with that kind of environment I got into an extreme amount of drugs. And actually I would suggest that I’m very lucky to be here today.
I was very young, 24, now trying to find my way in a world where I had no idea who I was, where I was going and trying to do an internship and ended up on the streets of Camden for about a year and a half, two years, just trying to find myself. And for the first time, even in that kind of melting pot that I ended up in, I kind of started to understand that there was a word “transgender” and that I wasn’t alone. Other people had similar issues with me.
I saw that opportunity and when you’re in that kind of at the bottom, you hit that kind of raw place. And for the first time I realized no one was going to change my life. The only person that can change my life is me.
So I’m a lesbian. And it took me a long time to realize and find comfort in that, the fact that I can be transgender or who I am and actually still like girls. I was confused by this title being called “gay” and then one day I realized I was gay, which is quite a revelation again of actually, “Oh, I can be who I am and like the people that I like.”
About five years ago, five and a half years ago, I met a beautiful girl. Four years into that relationship, a magical event happened between both of us. A little girl came into my life. Eleftheria who’s my shining light, her name is Eleftheria which actually means “my freedom” in Greek. And I started looking down at this very innocent, beautiful, little girl and actually thinking about all the kind of hurt I went through and all the pain and all the kind of hard upbringing, how could I dare to put a little girl through the same things I went through. So it kind of shook me, it made me think about everything about what I wanted, what I wanted for her.
I took the brave step to transition about two and a half years ago. She saw the change in me, and was very happy that I was happy. I could feel that. She used to call me Lady Daddy at the beginning and she still calls me “Daddy” today and it’s something I’m never going to let her lose. I’ll always be her father.
I spent a whole life of not being, of hiding, of not being able to tell the truth. So I took a brave step to ensure that I live in the light of truth. I’ve seen the impact of what the truth does. It brings people together, it makes people understand. Actually I spent a long time looking at the world and going actually, I felt alone. And actually people don’t need to be alone. Everybody is different. Everyone has a right to be themselves.