Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility and what better way to get inspired than to see someone, at any age, finally become themselves.
Patricia Davies, is from a village in Leicestershire, England and says she has known since the age of three that she was female but lived in fear that coming out would see her ostracised from her family, community or even land her in jail. Last year at the age of 90, she finally decided to begin transitioning,
“It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was living a lie.“
Despite being open with her late wife 30 years ago, Patricia – born Peter – decided to continue to live in the closet. She says she knew she was female at the age of just three. Patricia said she feels like she has been given a new lease on life after she revealed her secret to her supportive neighbours and she has also started taking the female hormone estrogen. Her gender on her medical records has been changed to female.
“I’m not ruling it [surgery] out. I’m quite happy with where I am but it’s not something I think I will experience. If they said it was safe I would talk it over with my surgeon, assuming I live long enough.
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”.
I’ve known I was transgender since I was three. I knew a girl called Patricia and I decided I wanted to be known by that name but it didn’t stick.
My mother seemed to go along with it. We went to see Peter Pan and I wanted to be a fairy. She made me a wand. She didn’t say it was strange.
Patricia kept her secret until she retired, before sharing it with her late wife.
“I have always been attracted to women but not in a sexual way. I’m not gay. My attraction to women was that I wanted to be like them. I would have liked to be like the pin-ups.“
Despite keeping her true identity a secret, she says she wasn’t miserable, explaining:
“I was never totally unhappy. I always made the most of things and looked on the bright side of things. I’ve always had a wicked sense of humor.
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.
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.“
Patricia served in the army from April 1945 until April 1948, leaving when she was 21 and getting married only a few months later.
“Perhaps Hitler got news I had joined in April 1945 and gave up. That’s what I like to think.
Nobody seems to bat an eyelid, they accept me as I am.
There was a TV show in the 70s about a man that wanted to dress as a woman and at that point I had never even heard the word ‘transgender’.
I looked it up and there it was and I knew I was transgender. 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 jewelery 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.“
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.
“It’s not 100% 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’ve been made most welcome in the societies. I think people will benefit from being educated on this a bit more.“
Amen to that, Patricia.
(Photos, Mickey Jones; via The Daily Mail)