Natalie Scott is something of a celebrity on the scene in her home city of Glasgow. The Attitude Pride Award winner 2017 helps to raise money for various charities through raffles and by hosting a popular tombola for the city’s Gay Ball every year.

But having been dealt more than her fair share of trauma and bad luck over the years, Natalie’s confidence as a trans woman hasn’t come easily.

Recalling her childhood, Natalie says: “I don’t think I was aware I was trans; I was aware I was different.”

“From the age of three, I would take any opportunity to clump around the house in her high heels,” she recalls. “I never really dressed up in front of people, other than my mum. She thought it was just a game and I did too, to be honest.”

On her ninth birthday, home alone and recovering from a burst appendix, she slipped on a red dress that was lying on her mother’s bed.

“I was flouncing about in it in front of the mirror, but the window cleaner turned up and saw me,” she says. “He started banging on the door, saying he had a note for my mother. I opened it, and he forced his way in and raped me.”

To hide the truth behind her injuries, Natalie threw the bike she had been given as a birthday present, down the steps in front of her house and pretended to have fallen off. But the incident changed her from being a happy and flamboyant child to an introvert and quiet one.

By the age of 15, Natalie’s ordeal had distanced her from her family and she ran away to London. “It was wonderful,” she explains. “I could go out as a boy, a girl, or in between — it didn’t matter.”

But in 1986, Natalie was hit with another blow when she was diagnosed with mouth cancer after going to the dentist with a small ulcer. Two weeks later, she had surgery to remove a large part of the roof of her mouth and, after a decade of estrangement, returned to her family to recover.

“Cancer changed my life,” Natalie says. “It stopped me in my tracks and made me realise that I loved my family.”

During her convalescence, she formulated a plan to live her life as a woman, having flitted between presenting as male and female. She went to the doctor to discuss transitioning but was told that the cancer treatment had damaged her internal organs, meaning she was unable to start taking female hormones.

“I could have had surgeries to alter my appearance, but I felt the process would be incomplete without the hormones,” Natalie says. “Although I was devastated, I’ve decided I don’t need operations to be me.”

Having lived as a trans woman ever since, Natalie has built a good social life for herself in Glasgow, with trans and cisgender friends. Natalie now works as a counsellor.  “I’ve been judged so much that I try not to judge anybody. But I’d love to be able to steer struggling people on to another path.”

“I feel proud of myself and confident that I could walk anywhere. Do your worst, world, I don’t care. I’m going out there and living my life; this is me.”

Read the rest of Natalie’s story in the August issue of Attitude, out on July 20.