Natasha Scott discusses her transition, how important Pride events are and her advice to others
A transgender woman from Hastings has described feeling empty at the moment she first realised that she wanted to transition.
Natasha Scott has spoken ITV Meridian about her struggles during her transition period, and revealed how doctors tried to convince her she wasn't transgender.
In an exclusive interview, Natasha, who was crowned the first ever Miss Transgender Brighton, and is now Chair of Hastings Pride, has admitted that she even had a breakdown when she decided to make a change and tell her family.
The former university student said she first tried to transition twenty years ago.
"I went to my then doctor at the time and she sent me to a counsellor," she said.
"Eventually they managed to convince me that I wasn't transgender, and advised I do my best to carry on living my life.
"But then ten years later, something happened at work personally, and what was said, gave me cause to question my entire life.
"I suddenly realised that everything that I'd done in life, everything I was doing in life, everything about me - it was not me.
"When that happens to you, your life suddenly feels empty, because it was never your life.
"I felt I had one of two choices really. I either give up, or I live my life as me.
"There was no other way. Giving up was not an option - not for my children. As difficult as I knew it would be for them, the one thing I've always said to them is 'be happy and be the best person you can be.'
"How can I as a parent say that to them, if I'm not willing to do that myself?
Natasha says she ended up having a breakdown, but that despite losing time, she said it's something she feels needed to happen to allow her to continue living her life.
"Eventually I picked myself up and took myself to the doctor, and things were so different this time around. But it was an incredibly difficult journey."
Natasha chose to leave her job and started studying as a full time student at university.
"University is a very positive space to be, but even then I found it very very difficult at times and there were times when I just wanted to run home and close the door on the world.
"In one incident, I was walking down the road and someone was hurling disgusting abuse at me.
"Another time I was sat at a bar and this man walked round and just put his hand straight up my skirt. That's the problem - that some people think that kind of behaviour is ok. But they're not.
"They're extremely harmful.
"It's understandable why the mental health problems within communities exist. They exist for very real reasons.
"This is why Brighton Pride, and what I do with Hastings Pride is so important, because it's not just about our communities coming together and celebrating the diversity we've got, it's important to show the society we live in, that we are here and we are part of the community."
"When I was young, everything I saw told me there was something very fundamentally wrong with me, and I couldn't say anything.
"No-one should feel that sense of shame.
"Not being able to talk about it, meant I couldn't let myself get close to anyone, not even my parents or my friends.
"Because I was in a state of perpetual fear in case someone found out about who I was."
Natasha took time to learn who she was and now says she like who she is and is proud of what she's done in her life.
"We are part of the community.
"We're not just accepted we are celebrated within the community.
"I now see same sex couples holding hands in the streets. It is becoming normalised.
"Things aren't where they need to be, it really isn't, but it is so much better."