A WW2 veteran has come out as transgender at the age of 90 and is happy to finally be receiving female hormone treatment.
Patricia Davies says she knew since the age of three that she was a woman but lived in fear of how people would react for decades until doctors changed her medical records to “female” last year.
Even though she had opened up to her late wife about her feelings in 1987, who bought her jewellery and dresses to wear in secret, she remained living as Peter after receiving abuse from people in the street and fearing “electric shock treatment”.
The OAP now feels like she has a new lease of life after beginning to take the feminising hormone oestrogen, dressing and acting like a woman and revealing her true self to her neighbours.
The retired industrial photographer, who served in the army between April 1945-1948, has a distant aunt who once lived to 104 years old so hopes she has “similar genes” to keep her going so she can now enjoy life as a woman.
Patricia, from a village in Leicestershire, said: “It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was living a lie.
“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-years-old. I knew a girl called Patricia and I decided I wanted to be known by that name but it didn’t stick.
“From about the age of four I didn’t want to play with girls’ toys. I didn’t want toy soldiers. I wanted an ironing board.
“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.
“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.
“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 humour.
“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.”
Patricia served in the army from April 1945 until April 1948, leaving when she was 21 and getting married only a few months later.
During her time in the armed forces, she served in the Far East, India, East Africa and Palestine.
Patricia said: “You took your life in your hands in the army. I lost a couple of mates and had a close shave myself.
“I had to keep my mouth shut about being transgender, you couldn’t flaunt that as that would have been a disaster.
“Transgender wasn’t really known in those days. I would have been classed as homosexual, which would have caused problems in the army. I would have ended up in prison. But I got through it.
“But it was alright overall and I feel quite proud having served during the war and having done military service, in particular during the trouble in Palestine.
“Perhaps Hitler got news I had joined in April 1945 and gave up. That’s what I like to think.”
Patricia was married to her wife for 63 years but she sadly passed away six years ago. The OAP decided to come out to her doctor last year.
The 90-year-old has since been put on hormones and the gender on her medical records has been changed to female.
Patricia said: “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 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.
“I also started to wear female tops. People thought I was weird and bonkers but I don’t care.
“I feel quite relieved, quite happy. [The best thing about coming out] is being accepted as a woman. That has been something I’ve wanted all of my life.”
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 was the 2015 Television programme, Boy Meets Girl, which portrays transgender characters, that encouraged Patricia to come out.
Patricia said: “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’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.
“I’ve been made most welcome in the societies. I think people will benefit from being educated on this a bit more.”