It’s never too late to make a change. Just ask Patricia Davies.
Born Peter, the 90-year-old World War II veteran from Leicestershire, England has recently made the courageous decision to begin estrogen treatments and come out as transgender.
“It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” she told Caters News Agency. “I was living a lie.”
Just 3-years-old when she first realized her gender and her sex did not match, Davies said she spent her entire life living in fear that her peers would shun her or force her into electric shock treatment.
“The atmosphere [around being transgender] was not safe,” she said. “People did not understand what transgender was.”
She was also concerned she wouldn’t be accepted in the army, where she served between April 1945 and 1948. Though she didn’t know how to describe what she was feeling inside at the time (she only learned the term transgender from a TV show in the 1970s), she thought the world would have categorized her as a homosexual.
While she kept her secret for years, there was at least one person she came out to: her wife.
The two married when Davies was just 21, and were together for 63 years before the wife’s death in 2011. Davies came out to her wife in 1987.
“I was 60 when it all came pouring out to my wife,” Davies said. “She was very sympathetic and helped me all the way, but we agreed to keep it quiet.”
Instead, the woman bought Davies jewelry and dresses that she could wear in private. Teenagers spotted her wearing high heels once, and later threw eggs at her window.
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But much has changed. Since coming out, Davies has received support from her community. “I have slowly started to tell some of my neighbors,” she explained. “Everybody said, Don’t worry, as long as you’re happy.’ ”
“It’s not 100 percent safe now but it’s much better than it was,” she continued - praising the visibility of transgender people on film and television “People that I have told seem to be very accommodating and haven’t thrown abuse at me.”
She added: “I joined the Women’s Institute. I socialize with them and have a natter [long chat]. I’m having a great time. I have a new lease on life.”
As for the name she’s chosen, that goes back to when she was a toddler.
“I knew a girl called Patricia, and I decided [then] I wanted to be known by that name,” she said.