It is five years since I really started to transition and although I have known all my life that I was transgender I had always managed it with coping techniques. I had followed the well-trodden road of thinking I was a cross dresser that dressing was just a way of calming the nerves and feeling good for a short time, along with the guilt of doing that feeling that was not normal and regularly purging all your clothes. At one time I would be buy clothes one day and throw them immediately afterwards, the same day!

Move on a few years and I had admitted to my partner I liked wearing feminine clothes and I was given a lovely flowing nightie as a birthday present. I guess I had progressed to admitting it had reached the stage of being a fetish. Actually, I did not derive any sexual pleasure from wearing female clothes. It just gave me the opportunity to relax and feel “normal” at home.

Then I was secretly soon self-medicating on phyto estrogones, and I wasn’t purging my clothes anymore just hiding them better realising I was transgender but that was fine I could keep that my secret. As long as I was okay with it I wasn’t hurting anyone was I? So I continued leading my life apparently coping with the usual stresses and strains of running a business. Nobody knew I would slip away and escape for a few hours to relieve the pressure of hiding my secret.

Three years ago I changed my circumstances and moved half way across the country and started sharing a house with friends beginning to live full time apart from work meetings where I still maintained the charade. I was making real progress with the support of my friends. They were brilliant and totally kindly were able to show me how deluded I was about so many things and how my self-deception about who I was had influenced how I dealt with life and my dealings with people even those close to me.

This started another journey of unpicking and coming to terms with who I really was and to lead to finding my truth. I came out completely full time went into the open and obtained a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and started on HRT. I had to start living full time, not just the times I needed to escape. My head was filled with all the ifs buts and what ifs, I nicknamed this “gender chatter”. Although I was transitioning changing my name officially getting my new passport saying “female”, everything was new, I was learning a new way of being and although it felt brilliant it was also unsettling.

What I have discovered over the last year has crept up slowly and almost unseen. I realised one day the gender chatter had stopped, the changes to my body where no longer new they were my body. The most important change was that I was now living my truth, who I am, authentic. I no longer had to dissemble and pretend to be somebody I was not and that has changed how I behave. It had always been easy to lie to put a spin on things to make them look better, people pleasing. After all that was what I did. Working through with my friends I could see ways of behaviour that needed to change and which I now find really uncomfortable and unacceptable being able to live authentically. As with life this is an ongoing journey and challenge to continue to develop and live in my truth and be authentic.

People use the term transition and transitioning from one gender to another. I feel that is no longer really how it is. I have always been female, feminine. I have not transitioned from male to female I have simply discarded a shell which hid my true self and allowed the feminine me to live in the light of day.

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