Octavia Donata Columbro, a formerX Factor star who appeared on the ITV show in 2016 as part of duo Bratavio, has come out as transgender.
Columbro will be privately transitioning due to long NHS waiting lists. “I could’ve gone through the NHS but there was a 24 to 36 month waiting list,” she told The Sun.
“This shows just how serious I am. I’ve worked really hard and saved up to fund this. I’m using my own money,” she said.
There are seven Gender Identity Clinics (GIC) in England that trans people can be referred to. At the GIC in Exeter, Devon, there is currently a three-year waiting list for an appointment.
Bratavio partner Bradley Hunt has been “amazing,” Columbro said.
Columbro has detailed how after leaving the X Factor she went through a period of depression before coming to terms with her gender identity.
“I thought to myself, ‘If I can’t be true to my gender identity then I don’t want to be alive,’” she said.
“Many nights I would cry myself to sleep, my pillow would be soaked with tears.”
“I knew something was different in terms of my gender identity when I was younger I was mimicking the girls dancing in the opening scenes of the Bond films – I’d wrap material around my waist like a dress and walk down the stairs like I was Miss World.” Columbro said.
Now, the singer will be using her platform to try and help others in the trans community.
Columbro said, “Hopefully I can spread awareness of transgender and gender identity issues and urge anyone who has feelings of being gender indifferent to go to their GP and ask to be referred to the gender identity clinic for assessment/diagnosis.”
“Don’t suffer in silence,” she said. “Be your own kind of beautiful.”