Your dilemmas: I have always felt that I should have been born a woman 

In her weekly column, JOAN LONG, a Bishopstown psychologist and psychotherapist, answers readers’ queries
Your dilemmas: I have always felt that I should have been born a woman 
"I have started to feel I cannot run away from it anymore." Picture: Stock, posed by a model.

Dear Joan,

I am writing to you with a problem that I have had for most of my life. Up to now I have been able to ignore it and live a normal life.

However, in the last two years, I have started to feel that I can’t run away from it anymore.

I am a married man with two young children. I have been married for five years now. But for most of my life, I have always felt that I should have been born a woman.

Growing up, I thought that I might be gay but it goes much further than that. I don’t feel comfortable in the body I was born with and this discomfort is causing me great stress, which is growing as time passes.

I have been reading a lot on transgenderism and I feel that that is what I am.

I feel guilty because of the lie that I’m living and I feel that I am hurting my wife and children because of this. I don’t feel that they would understand and I feel ashamed of my secret.

I play football every weekend and I know that I am doing ‘manly’ activity like this to cover up the fact that I really want to be female.

I wish I could talk to someone for help or to make these feelings go away. Can you please help me?

John

Dear John,

First of all, I want you to know that I appreciate how difficult this is for you and I think you are very brave to face up to something that you have hidden for so long.

It’s not easy living life as someone that you don’t identify with and I can really feel how stressful it for you.

People that identify as transgender have been more open and public in the last few years and I can totally see how this would impact on you.

If you would like to speak to someone about this, I would recommend getting in touch with Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).

They have a support helpline that you could use, with very experienced and qualified people that understand how you are feeling.

I would suggest getting in touch with them and allowing yourself to tell your story.

Don’t stay living in secrecy, John. We all deserve to live a life as who we really are and sometimes doing that takes courage.

I wish you the very best and I hope that you find the help and support you need.

Best of luck to you.

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