My family shared a three-storey, Victorian, terraced house in North London with my maternal grandmother. The first items of clothing I tried on were stockings and suspenders. My Nan always called her suspenders her “stays” and my mother referred to hers as her “belt.”
In later life I attended some dog training classes and in answer to my question, the trainer said that if an animal stole food, they would always be a food thief as the rewards was too great. That was how I felt in female clothing- the reward was huge.
To this day, I can shut my eyes and be transported back to those times when I was ten and recall the sights, sounds and smells. The reward was so great that I can have instant recall to this day.
As time passed I continued to flirt with female clothing and wanted a female form. I never felt that I was trapped inside the wrong body, just that I would have preferred to be female. This seemed especially strong when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I was married at eighteen and divorced at thirty-six.
I continued to cross dress on and off throughout this married period of my life, mainly by wearing female underclothes. So, I would present as a professional person in a suit and tie, but only I knew what was underneath.
After I separated from my wife, whilst staying in the marital home with both children, the urge to dress completely as a female was very strong. I could not wait to get home from work on a Friday night, when the children would be absent visiting their mother over the weekend, in order that I could become female and under cover of darkness would often go out. I would drive to a secluded location taking my dog with me, and use her as a pretext for a walk. I suspect neighbours knew I was behaving oddly but they never challenged me over my behaviour.
When I was forty I met someone and got married again. During the years we were together I kept my feminine side largely suppressed, without a lot of pain.
Following the breakdown of that marriage I re-located to my current address and the old desire grew strong again. I was cross dressing in the seclusion of my home until a neighbour called unexpectedly one day. I put a bath robe on but in my haste, forgot about the earrings! From then on I was “out” and leading a largely female life.
I consulted with my GP on what was happening to me to try and understand why. He recommended some counselling which was not particularly helpful but that led me to Gender Agenda and Oasis.
I had a long telephone consultation with the former and became a fairly regular attendee at Oasis gatherings.
In 2017 I told both my children of my circumstance. My daughter, who I had not been close to for nearly thirty years was upset and has taken time to adapt. My son accepted things but made the request that when we met, I be in “Dad clothes.” I accepted that but soon learnt it was a mistake and advised him I could not continue on that basis. He has accepted that and I am very relieved.
In the meantime, I had seen my GP again, by which time I was living virtually full time as a female and he referred me to the Gender Identity Clinic (GIC) at Charing Cross Hospital (CX), where I was accepted as a patient. However, the lead time for appointments was eighteen months plus.
Knowing that time was not on my side I looked on line at the consultants in the GIC. I selected one and following an internet search discovered she had a private practice. I made an appointment and have seen her three times. She diagnosed Gender Dysphoria and put me in touch with a voice coach and endocrinologist, as well as dispensing some sound advice and guidance.
The voice coach only required a single consultation but a lot of exercises and practice. I am now overdue a follow up appointment with the endocrinologist, due to Covid-19, but have been taking female hormones for about eight months.
My first ex has learned of my cross dressing in the last few years, our children advising her after I “came out” to them. However, I don’t think the second ex knows and she now lives on the Isle of Mann so is unlikely to find out. I am not bothered about who knows. I take the view that if I was concerned, I probably should not have done it in the first place.
I have been asked if have any regrets and the answer is “Yes, I do.” But that is only because I have wasted years and should have publicly acknowledged my dysphoria years ago.