Transgender: Ruth's story 

Ruth was born in a male body but felt that she was female. She first sought advice from her GP when she was 17. Learn about her hormone treatment and surgery, and how she feels now.

Read more about gender dysphoria

Transcript of Transgender: Ruth's story

I knew I wanted to transition at the age of 16.

I'd spent a lot of time during my early teens figuring stuff out.

When you're that age you don't have words for it

and you don't assume that you're particularly abnormal,

but going to sleep every night hoping I was going to wake up female

should have possibly told me that there was something up.

I realised that I felt that I was female

but there were issues in how others perceived me

and also in how my body happened to look.

I just felt I should be a girl rather than a boy,

which is always odd to explain.

I didn't tell my family immediately.

I first came out to my friends.

I talked to them, I read a lot on the internet and I found out a lot.

My family I told a bit later,

once I'd already started seeing a psychotherapist.

My mum didn't like it but essentially took it on board and tried to be helpful

and my dad didn't like it more,

but again it was something that was a problem for him,

but he didn't really want to stop me from being myself.

My parents know I'm the same person.

I originally went to my GP when I was 17

and he referred me on to a psychotherapist in the area,

who I saw for around a year.

I realised that I wasn't mentally ill, actually.

I realised that I didn't really have many problems

except that I felt I was transgender,

and towards the end of that time

I started essentially living as a girl rather than as a boy

and also applied for university.

The psychotherapist referred me to a gender clinic in Bristol

and then they referred me on to the Gender Identity Clinic in London,

who, after a couple more appointments, approved hormone treatment.

And then later they approved me for surgery also.

Hormone therapy is the biggest change

and, for most people, the most important

if they're transitioning medically.

My body changed.

Fat redistributed, which essentially meant my breasts grew,

I got more fat on my hips, my face changed shape a little.

And that made the biggest difference.

Genital surgery has also had an impact, but more subtle

because it's not something that people see, it's a personal thing.

It's immensely uncomfortable to have people perceive you as male

when you feel that you're female.

Transitioning medically gave me confidence.

It made me a lot happier in myself and in my relations with other people

because I feel I don't need to hide something.

The hardest parts aren't to do with me dealing with stuff personally,

it's dealing with the attitudes of other people.

I feel very good about myself now.

I feel like I've got a successful life.

I've got a good degree

and I have a lot of friends, I have a wide social life

and I generally feel that I have a lot more opportunities

because things are easier for me on a personal level than they used to be.

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