A World War II veteran in the U.K. has come out as transgender at the age of 90.
Patricia Davies, of England, said she has known since childhood that she was a woman, but lived in fear of how people would react for decades until doctors changed her medical records to female last year after she started taking female hormones.
"I have known since the age of three that I was in the wrong body," Davies said in an interview with Caters News. "From about the age of four... I didn't want toy soldiers. I wanted an ironing board."
Patricia explained that people did not know what transgender was back then and so she kept it a secret. She served in the army from April 1945 until April 1948, leaving when she was 21 and getting married a few months later.
"I had to keep my mouth shut about being transgender, you couldn't flaunt that as that would have been a disaster," she said. "I would have been classed as homosexual, which would have caused problems in the Army. I would have ended up in prison. But I got through it."
Eventually Patricia opened up to her late wife about her feelings in 1987. Her wife bought her jewelry and dresses to wear in secret.
"I have always been attracted to women but not in a sexual way. I'm not gay," she said. "My attraction to women was that I wanted to be like them. 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."
Patricia, however, remained living as Peter after receiving abuse from people in the street and fearing electric shock treatment, which was how medical professionals reportedly dealt with those who identified as transgender at the time.
"They thought they could make you better," Patricia said. "They didn't realize it was something that you could not cure."
But the 90-year-old, whose wife died six years ago, eventually developed an overwhelming desire to break free and be who she really is.
One night, while watching the BBC TV comedy Boy Meets Girl, which portrays transgender characters, she made her decision, and came out to her doctor last year.
“I’ve not regretted it," Patricia said. “I have slowly started to tell some of my neighbors.
"Everybody said, 'Don't worry, as long as you're happy.' It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was living a lie."
Patricia said she hopes to live much longer so she can enjoy her life as a woman.
"I'm known to pretty much all the old faces in the village," Patricia said. "I'm quite content now and I wear a skirt and blouse. I don't wear any men's clothes anymore."
She added: "I feel quite relieved, quite happy. [The best thing about coming out] is being accepted as a woman. That has been something I've wanted all of my life."