I like all things female and have longed to be a woman for over 60 years

DEAR DEIDRE: THROUGHOUT my life I have hated my male body, and I wish I had been born female. But I have kept this to myself.

I am 66. As a child, I preferred being with girls and had no male friends.

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After leaving home, I rented a room in a house. I used to cross-dress at the weekends in private.

I find myself doing ladylike things such as crossing my legs when sitting in a chair.

My trousers are more like female leggings. If I do gender quizzes online I come out as having a female personality.

I like all things female. I look at women and wish it could be me. I’d love to have a female body with breasts, shapely hips and a bottom.

I look at babies in prams and peer into the windows of women’s clothes shops, looking at the mannequins to see how they’re dressed.

I’ve enquired about gender counselling and researched male-to-female surgery but haven’t taken it further.

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DEIDRE SAYS: It must be agony keeping this to yourself and of course these feelings can’t just be wished away. Feeling you are in the wrong body is very isolating.

It’s not easy living life as someone you don’t identify with. Don’t stay living in secrecy.

We all deserve to live a life as who we really are and sometimes doing that takes courage. Find understanding support at the Beaumont Society (01582 412 220, beaumontsociety.org.uk).

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