Patricia Davies, who was named Peter at birth, said watching the growing coverage of transgender issues in the media helped her pluck up the courage to come out.
“It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was living a lie,” the former British Army recruit said.
“I have been keeping quiet. I have slowly started to tell some of my neighbors. Everybody said ‘don’t worry, as long as you’re happy.’”
Davies decided to speak out about her transition after her wife passed away and she noticed the world was a safer space to talk about transitioning and her true gender.
But for a long time, Davies, who lives in Leicestershire, kept it all under wraps, fearing her family wouldn’t understand and she would be sent into electric shock therapy.
“There was always a danger that if someone found out something awful might happen. You didn’t really know. Nobody understood the word transgender in those days so I was on very dangerous ground,” she told the Mirror.
In her sixties, the retired industrial photographer came out to her wife of forty years, who she said was very supportive.
“She helped me buy clothes and buy jewelry, and stood by me in every way. But we decided we would keep it secret from the neighbors, because if anyone found out there was no knowing how they would react,” Davies added.
And while in the beginning she was harassed by local teens for wearing heels, she said now things are looking up.
She has also joined the Women’s Institute to “socialize with them and have a natter.”
“I’m having a great time. I have a new lease on life,” she said.