Patricia Davies said she had lived in fear of people abusing her if they found out, but had now had a new lease on life after telling friends and neighbours about her identity. Patricia lives in a village in Leicestershire, she said: “It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was living a lie.”
She said she was now wearing the clothes that she wanted to, as well as taking female hormones to change her body to match her gender identity.
The 90-year-old said: “I have been keeping quiet. I have slowly started to tell some of my neighbours. Everybody said ‘don’t worry, as long as you’re happy’.”
The retired industrial photographer, who served in the army between April 1945-1948, said she had tried wearing women’s shoes before but had been subjects to abuse from teenagers.
She said: “I was 60 when it all came pouring out to my wife, she was very sympathetic and helped me all the way but we agreed to keep it quiet.
“She used to buy me jewellery and she would call me Patricia. I kept it a complete secret.
“When I first came out to my wife I started to wear female shoes, some teenagers spotted it and started hurling abuse.
“They used to often throw eggs at my windows too. They did it so much I had to get the police involved. But they have grown up and gone now thankfully.”
Her wife died six years ago.
Patricia said that people thought she was “weird and bonkers” but had learnt not to care.
She said: “I feel quite relieved, quite happy.
“(The best thing about coming out) is being accept as a woman. That has been something I’ve wanted all of my life.”
Patricia said she had been worried about the way people would react to her true identity.
She said: “The atmosphere (around being transgender) was not safe. People did not understand what transgender was.
“Really even the medical profession didn’t understand it as the treatment was to give you the ‘electric shock treatment’.
“They thought they could make you better. They didn’t realise it was something that you could not cure.
“Because of the general hostility of people I kept quiet. It wasn’t until recently that I felt safe to come out and I felt an overwhelming desire that I wanted to break free. So I came out and I’ve not regretted it.”
Since coming out last year, Patricia has become a member of The Beaumont Society, a support group for the transgender community as well as joining the Women’s Institute.
She said: “It’s not 100 per cent safe now but it’s much better than it was. People that I have told seem to be very accommodating and haven’t thrown abuse at me.
“I joined the Women’s Institute. I socialise with them and have a natter. I’m having a great time. I have a new lease on life.
“I’m known to pretty much all the old faces in the village. I’m quite content now and I wear a skirt and blouse. I don’t wear any men’s clothes any more.
“If people don’t like what they see then I don’t care but no one seems to be causing me any trouble. Nobody questions it though. Nobody seems to bat an eyelid, they accept me as I am.”
(PIC/TEXT CREDIT: Mercury Press, Brittany Vonow)