I desperately wanted to be a boy. I wasn't accepted by the boys but I didn't want to be a girl either – I guess I thought of "tomboy" like it was almost a separate gender. As I got older there was increasing pressure to wear a dress sometimes, which made me uncomfortable. I remember sobbing inconsolably aged 8 or 9 about not being born a boy. I started getting sick a lot as a child around this time with sore throats and tummy pains, which I only now realise was probably related.
I recently reread my diaries from aged 15-20. I had completely forgotten I fantasized about my female friends and had dreams that I was a boy having a relationship with a girl. At 15-17 I still wanted to be a boy, but I kept that secret. At 17 I prayed about the issue and it seemed obvious to me then that homosexuality must be wrong so I must have a choice to stop thinking about girls and focus on boys. From then I basically suppressed any thoughts about girls. I didn't really look at girls and women to even notice what they wore, because I wasn't at all interested in girly clothes, makeup etc.When I was 18 I had a boyfriend for a few months. I was devastated when we broke up.
Marriage and kids
I married at 24. He is my first and only sexual partner. Things went OK for us. I had my kids when I was 27-30. I was a stay home Mum and I was a good and nurturing Mum but I found the role hard. I was unwell with what was diagnosed as chronic fatigue when I was 31. I did recover after a year or two. Now I wonder if I was sick because my psyche and body were so out of sync at that time.
In my 30s I noticed dreams and fantasies about being male in a relationship with a woman. It never occurred to me then that I actually might be attracted to women (duh). Instead I worked through the issue of whether I might still want to be male. Transitioning was something I'd never even heard of when I was young. I realise now I should have sought counselling at this point, but I felt so deeply ashamed that I could not face it. Somehow I got to the point where I accepted that I am female but embrace my strong "masculine" side. I knew deep down I had some kind of issue with my sexuality,but I avoided the issue.
I got really sick at the end of 2012 and put it down to multiple stresses and professional burnout in my job. In 2014 I changed jobs to something too stressful and lasted 3 months before I crashed with physical symptoms of fatigue and sore throat. The doctors found no real answers and I was too ill to leave the house for 6 weeks, and then slowly began to recover over months. I wondered if there might be some depression so I began to work on that and saw a counsellor.
Then I met a woman that I just instantly clicked with and wondered why I couldn't stop thinking about her. Finally as a 50 year old I had changed my thinking on homosexuality so I had the openness to look at myself honestly, to look at women and ask myself to notice my own reactions, to look back through my life noticing all those things that pointed to an attraction to women.
Now I feel different inside. My libido has shot up dramatically. I feel happier, more confident and more at peace with myself since I realised that I am gay, and that I should also stop conforming to my mother's expectations of what it means to be a woman. I realise I was carrying a baggage of shame and sadness that had been there my entire life so I didn't even notice it.
My husband and I have always communicated well so we talked about what I was discovering about myself right from the start. I have told a couple of other people, including my church minister who was supportive. Telling my very religious elderly mother and sisters will not be easy, but I feel like this is something I will need to do. I will be telling more people soon, but I am waiting to check whether the effects of a steroidal nasal spray (for allergies) have increased my testosterone or amplified this all for me as I started on that at the time I began to notice this
It has come as such a surprise I keep questioning if it is really true. Religious beliefs stopped me from identifying it before this. Also my husband is such a kind partner, so I was sexually satisfied.
What I am still trying to work out is whether or how much attraction I have to men and more specifically what to do about my marriage. I don't think I have ever really been physically attracted to my husband but I married him for all his good qualities, and his response to me in all this has been truly amazing. He is fine with the changes I am making to how I dress. We are so emotionally close after 26 years it is really hard to imagine splitting up, but on the other hand I feel a pull towards more fully expressing who I am and it would be hard now to forgo ever being with a woman. I am torn, I really don't want to see him hurt and this is the hardest thing.