Transgender rapper was convinced transitioning would end his music career

A rapper who was struggling with his gender identity says many record label bosses told him he needed to be more feminine, in order to make it in the music industry.

But now Nate Ethan Watson, who has begun his transition, says he has never been happier, and has grown to believe that being both mixed raced and transgender makes him unique.

"Being mixed-raced and trans is a balance within each other," says Nate. "They're both part of who I am."

Nate is now a confident proud trans man, and although he says he's still got some progress to make, he's never been happier. Credit: ITV Central

What is intersectionality?

Intersectionality is seen as “the interconnected nature of social categorisations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage”.

For many experts, it's all about acknowledging that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and oppression. People can be marginalised by not just one thing, but a multitude.

These can include, but not be limited to the following:

  • Gender

  • Race

  • Class

  • Sexual orientation

  • Disability

Nate Ethan Watson on how being transgender and mixed-raced impacted his career

Music was therapy for Nate, particularly when he was struggling with who he was: "Writing my feelings into poetry, it was a therapeutic way of me expressing my emotions."

Nate says he always felt like he was "one of the boys," but he didn't have the correct vocabulary to explain what he was feeling. It was at school where he decided to suppress what was going on inside his mind.

After beginning a career in the music industry in his 20s, he felt that although it was an incredible part of his life, it was also his darkest.

He says he used to "get a lot of talk from labels that said 'you're too masculine' or 'you're very manly, we need to feminise you up a bit.'"

"It was very conflicting because music is something I've loved. Some of the things that I've done and places I've been to have been dreams for me. But at the same time, I was battling with who I was, and being seen as the person who people wanted me to be."

Nate before (left) and during (right) his transition process. Credit: Nate Ethan Watson

He says he was "convinced" that if he transitioned "it would be the end of my music career." But Nate knew he had to understand his identity, even if it meant potentially throwing everything away.

Eventually he built up the courage to begin his transition process from female to male in July 2018, while studying Public Health at the University of Wolverhampton.

Nate is from Wolverhampton and believes because it is a diverse city, "it wasn't a thing where we looked at each other's race, we were just people who just wanted to get on with each other."

And now, he says he's comfortable with himself: "I'm happy with who I am right now, there's still a bit more progress for me, but I'm a lot more happier and more comfortable than I was at this stage."

Nate Ethan Watson says growing up in Wolverhampton and its diverse culture had a huge role to play in making him who he is today. Credit: ITV Central

"I always say to people 'I just want to be happy and just live," Nate says. "As long as I live my life and the obviously the people around me live theirs, that's the kind of vibe I'm on.

"It's because I've experienced so much, and so much pain with not being able to be myself, that I've just got to that point now where I want to be happy.

"Whatever makes my soul happy, that's what I'm going to do."