Leah's story

“Congratulations, it's a boy!”

And for the next 39 years that what I did my best to be, a boy, a son, a brother, a man, a husband, a father. I tried so hard and in so many ways to fit the mould and the harder I tried the less any part of me would fit into the boxes society had set aside for me. All the time longing to be happy, to be at peace, to just be me! I spent years tying myself in knots and jumping through hoops to make everyone else smile while I was dying inside. Dying from the exhaustion and frustration, the anger and outright despair. Why can't I be happy? I'm a boy, there are trees to climb, camps to build, dirt to play in. I tried so hard but none of it made sense to me.


From some of my earliest memories I just felt like and wanted to be a girl! At Christmas time I'd open another Action Man, hoping and wishing for Sindy or Girls World or anything but another “boy toy”.


For years I threw myself into the next fad or craze in the hope that this time I would find happiness, only to fail again and wind my way back to my pit of despair and self loathing. As I got older my confusion and misery got worse. My shadows got darker as did my mood. Suicide was regularly a serious consideration. I would find myself driving along a deserted road late at night and my inner voice would start with its relentless bombardment. The inner voice that constantly reminded me of who I wanted and needed to be, questioning why I was trying so hard to ignore it. Each time I heard it,  it would be a little louder than the last time, a little harder to ignore. “There's nobody about, put your foot down and with a slight flick of the wheel it'll all be over”. Such a temptation, and one I'm proud to say I never gave into!


Having been married with children and then in a long term relationship with another woman after splitting with my wife, I finally found myself at breaking point and realised I had some choices to make. To carry on living in misery and torment, or to give up everything I had and start again?


I decided that I would leave the long term relationship I was in, let the dust settle and find a way to be true to myself and hopefully find happiness. So I did just that; I made my excuses and left. It wasn't long before my ex-girlfriend became resentful and angry which led to her (after finding some photos of me dressed as a woman on a laptop) outing me on Facebook. My life and my world came crashing down around me,-or so I thought at the time. Today as I look back over the short time since I came to terms with who I am I realise it was the best thing that could've happened to me. No time to think or worry about how to tell the world I'm really a girl... it had all been done for me!


My saving grace was the support I found through a peer support group called Drab & Dress, which led me to Heather (D & D co-faciltator) and TG PALS, the organisation that the Drab & Dress TG Peer Support Group is a part of. I smile with affection when I think of the girl I was when I first found myself under Heather's wing, terrified of what my future would bring (but knowing I had to be true to myself) because that girl has already moved on, evolving into the woman I am today. A woman embracing her life, a life that has come at a price but it's a life that is happy and at last I've found my answers. I've found peace and freedom from the pain and misery that I thought would be my lot forever.


I have found a woman that is strong and confident, a woman that smiles and sparkles. I never dared to dream that I would ever find my way home but I have! At last I feel like I'm living life rather than watching everyone else live theirs.


Being trans is sometimes viewed as a negative, or even as an affliction, but for me it's a chance to start from scratch but with a lifetime of  experience. The glass is half full... sometimes you just need to look at it from a different angle.