A transgender World War II veteran proves it’s never too late to live life truthfully.
Patricia Davies, from Leicestershire, England, didn’t decide to transition into a female until she turned 90 years old.
Davies — born Peter — has known she was a woman since she was just a toddler.
“I’ve known I was transgender since I was 3 years old. I knew a girl called Patricia, and I decided I wanted to be known by that name but it didn’t stick,” Davies told Caters News Agency.
Davies kept her identity a secret for most of her life for fear she would be shunned by her peers or forced to undergo electric shock treatment.
“The atmosphere [around being transgender] was not safe. People did not understand what transgender was,” Davies said.
Davies — who served in the army between April 1945 and 1948 — said coming out as transgender would have categorized her as a homosexual, which wouldn’t have been accepted in the army.
Despite losing friends and cheating death while serving in the armed forces, she says she’s glad she got to have the experience.
“I feel quite proud having served during the war and having done military service, in particular during the trouble in Palestine,” said Davies.
Davies, who married when she was 21, eventually came out to her supportive wife in 1987. Her wife, to whom she was married for 63 years, bought Davies jewelry and dresses that she could wear in private. Sadly, her wife passed away six years ago.
“I was 60 when it all came pouring out to my wife, she was very sympathetic and helped me all the way, but we agreed to keep it quiet,” said Davies, who first learned about transgender identity from a TV show sometime in the 1970s.
When Davies first came out to her wife, she decided to wear high heels but was deterred when teenagers saw her and threw eggs at her window.
Now a nonagenarian, Davies has begun taking estrogen to move her transition forward and has come out to her community.
“It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was living a lie,” she told Caters.
“I have been keeping quiet. I have slowly started to tell some of my neighbors. Everybody said, ‘Don’t worry, as long as you’re happy,’” she added.
Patricia was inspired to make the big change from male to female after seeing the romantic comedy film “Boy Meets Girl,” which features transgender characters.
Now that transgender people are portrayed often in film and on TV, Davies feels more comfortable being herself.
“It’s not 100 percent safe now but it’s much better than it was. People that I have told seem to be very accommodating and haven’t thrown abuse at me,” she said.
“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,” she added.