Reply To: Question for all generations

Melanie Penson


I was born in 1972 into a tough mining community where the gender norms were adhered to very rigidly. I have known since 1977 that I was not happy, didn’t fit with the gender I was born with. Very few people had heard about transitioning back then and it certainly wasn’t ever talked about. It was bad enough if people thought you were “gay” (as I was accused of being). Aids was very much in the news as I grew up and I experienced increasing hostility, culminating in a homophobic attack which has keft both physical and mental scars.
Whenever I got hurt or upset, I would put on my mum’s clothes, it felt so soft and comforting. I would rush home from school just to have an hour or so in a dress or skirt and blouse, lingerie and tights. I was beaten, strangled abd thrown around whenever my parents caught me dressed or even behaving in a “girly” way.

I have been forced to suppress who I feel I really am, just to conform around my parents and to society’s expectations generally, for over 40 years. I have been hurting ( forced into the Male Box as I call it), just so others can feel comfortable around me.

I told both parents about Melanie earlier this year: my dad took it very well, not so sure about mum. She didn’t say anything but the look on her face told me all I needed to know. We have barely spoken since. I’m giving her time to get used to it and the fact that Melanie is here to stay. I cannot begin to tell you how much happier, calmer, less anxious and more confident I am feeling living 24/7 as a woman. I’m not living a lie anymore.

If I could have flicked a switch to instantly become female in the 1970s or 89s ( indeed anytime), I would in a heartbeat. It’s a shame that society has taken so long to be more accepting of trans people, I just couldn’t have “come out” back then without yet more abuse. I was made to play the part of a girl in a school play and I really enjoyed it! Of course, I pretended that I didn’t but it felt lovely in skirt, blouse and soft knee socks. I wore a sports bra too, padded out to give me “boobs”.

But no one else controls my life anymore, I am free to be ME, Melanie WOMAN. I am going out fully dressed, growing my hair, learning to walk in heels, even wearing sexy lingerie. Things I could only have dreamed of even 10 years ago never mind 20 or 30. I have Come Home.


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