Scholar Class – 2013
Rachel has spent much of her life learning to navigate uncharted territory. Her family was poor and moved frequently,and as a result she had been a student at seven different schools before even getting to high school. She graduated from Skyview High School in Vancouver, Washington in 2001. This constant tumult afforded her little space to think about her own sexual or gender identity earlier in her life. Her world was turned upside down again when she began her transition from male to female in 2006, just after becoming the first college graduate in her family from Evergreen State College. She met with employment discrimination and struggled to meet her basic needs. Finding access to respectful, trans-competent medical care through a free clinic was transformative and made her begin thinking about healthcare. Rachel then learned more about medicine, taught community-informed cultural competency trainings to healthcare providers, and eventually coordinated the trans health clinic that she utilized at the beginning of her own transition. She completed her prerequisite work in 2013 at Portland State University. She is interested in doing primary care with urban underserved populations with an emphasis on the low-income LGBTQ community and sees medicine as a tool for social transformation. Rachel was also struck by the tiny number of successful, visible transgender role models when she first came out and is happy to stand as evidence that a full spectrum of possibilities exist for trans people.