I happened upon a post by another transgender woman who is transitioning later in life and living to write about it! (Just kidding!)
It's called "When to say Yes to the Dress" by Courtney Bedell on the Baltimore Gay Life site.
Courtney's story is similar to many of us. She met the same resistance, harbored the same inner turmoil and ultimately reached the points we are now in life. Not so surprisingly in the transgender culture, we are called "pretenders" because we waited so long to transition.
Six year old Coy Mathis was used by Courtney as an example of a "no doubter" transgender child who just knew she wasn't a boy. Coy of course also benefitted immensely from a family who has battled for their daughter's right to be herself. I'm guessing, immensely rare for anyone of my age.
Here's an excerpt from more of the post:
By 12 I felt strongly that I was a girl but unlike Coy, I couldn’t talk about it to my parents, or anyone else. I did what most TGs did 20 or 30 years ago: deny, deny, deny! At 12 I was wearing my older sister’s dresses and using her make-up, but not in public. Despite my having plenty of friends adolescence was a lonely and devastating time for me. I could only be myself when I was alone so I often hooked school to spend the day in a dress curling my hair and putting on make-up.
Nobody ever saw me looking pretty—ask any teenage girl if that isn’t a version of hell! I wanted to tell my mom but I just couldn’t find the words. Even when she might have picked up on the clues she didn’t open the subject. When I saw a psychiatrist at my parent’s behest it took me two years to tell him I was convinced that I was a girl and had XX female chromosomes. Naturally, he thought I was simply gay or a cross-dresser. I continued to live two separate lives for another 20 unhappy years.
Sounds familiar, right? Here's more:
So, the answer to “when do you say yes to the dress?” is simply, as soon as possible! From my own experience, I say do yourself a huge favor and don’t waste half your life denying your true essence! Don’t endure decades of pain and loneliness waiting for the ideal time to change. We often wait until the situation becomes severe enough to outweigh our fear of the potential upheaval our transition will cause. It doesn’t have to be that way if we approach it preemptively before our lives become unbearable or unmanageable.
See a gender therapist, go to a support group (Tranquility at GLCCB), search your feelings, explore your options, sort it all out and learn what action is best for you. You may decide it is time to transition or you may discover transition is not right for you—the key word here is “discovery.”
Follow the link above for more!