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Transgender Awareness Week: How Peter became Petra after six decades living as a man




We are just as normal as you are.

That’s the message from Petra, a trans woman who has been helping to raise awareness around gender issues this week.

Petra, 73, was Peter, until 2015.

Petra never identified with her 'assigned' gender, as a male. Pictures: Petra
Petra never identified with her 'assigned' gender, as a male. Pictures: Petra

After living for six decades as a man, the former IT consultant, decided to identify as transgender in 2015, and since 2018, has been living full-time as a woman.

This, week, during Transgender Awareness Week, she has been helping to raise awareness around the issues trans men and women face.

"We are not freaks, we are not strange, we are not perverts - some of the things I have heard in the past. We are just human beings who want to live a fulfilling life,” said Petra, who lives near Stowmarket.

Peter ran a successful IT company.
Peter ran a successful IT company.

Petra decided to come out after spending around 15 years exploring gender issues online to explain her feelings of being "different".

“I knew even at school," she said.

I didn’t identify with people of my own assigned gender, the one you are given at birth, and this continued throughout the decades.

"My wife Lorraine, to whom I am still happily married, knew too, even before we were married. I cross-dressed for many many years and she knew I felt happier, and a huge sense of relief when I did.

Petra, right, with wife Lorraine, on the couple's 47th wedding anniversary earlier this year.
Petra, right, with wife Lorraine, on the couple's 47th wedding anniversary earlier this year.

"It was not sexual. It just felt right.”

After beginning to live full-time as a woman, Petra, who has two children, and grandchildren, joined a Stowmarket group called GenderXplored and runs its Zoom meetings. She also gives talks to local groups, including the WI, and medical trainees.

“I have transgender friends in their 20s right through to the late 60s early 70s and all have transitioned in the last 10 years or so,” she said.

It is communication technologies that have dramatically effected the transition time-lines of so many, alongside the growing research and evidence which simply put, shows that a part of our brain is just different, just as some people are left handed.

Today marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event in memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Petra said: “It’s sad to think that in this day and age that a trans person lives in fear of others who do not want them to live happy fulfilled lives or even exist at all.

"We are really, just as normal as you are.”

To find out more about this week's events, click here

To find out more about GenderXplored, click here

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