I'm Luke and I'm a trans lawyer - I was born female but I identify as male. I live in London with my girlfriend and am a keen cyclist and gamer.
Growing up, I didn't realise I was trans. I came from quite a small town without a lot of diversity, so I was different from the other kids in my classes but I couldn't put my finger on why. Most of my friends at school were boys, but I had "gender neutral" hobbies and was more focused on academics than introspection.
It took a while before I started to reflect on who I really was - it wasn't until one of my best friends from school came out as gay in sixth form that I considered I might also be LGBT. I'd felt drawn to a few of my female teachers but had always assumed this was because I admired them, rather than because I was attracted to them. I subsequently developed strong feelings for a girl in my lessons, which led me to start questioning my sexuality.
I came out as a lesbian at university (on the basis that I was female and attracted to women), but something still didn't feel right. I started doing a lot of research on the web and reaching out to trans* people, and I was fortunate enough to meet Lewis Hancox, who identified as trans and had started his transition. He provided a lot of clarity and reassurance to my thoughts, and it was from talking to him and watching YouTubers such as skylarkeleven talking about their experiences that I developed the confidence to come out as trans.
My transition hasn't always been easy, and there are times when I'd have liked a mentor to reach out to - particularly in the legal profession, where people aren't always openly LGBT. When I heard about the Stonewall Young Leaders programme I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in, since I knew from Stonewall's reputation that it would provide me with the tools to be an authentic LGBT leader and role model.
I firmly believe that it's important for people who feel able to be visible to stand up and be counted as members of the LGBT community, to empower others to do the same. I wholeheartedly agree with Heather Peace, one of my long-standing role models, that you've got to be true to yourself.
I’m always happy to talk on a confidential basis to anyone questioning their gender or sexuality - Stonewall have my email address, so please ask them to put you in touch.