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I used to wish I was gay

By Alice Denny

I used to wish I was gay

PHOTOGRAPH by Sharon Kilgannon, Alonglines.com

I've always known about this ache in me, yearning.

But when I was younger there wasn’t a common vernacular of transgender and I didn’t think that what I secretly wanted was in anyway possible so I found distractions. I realised a long while ago really that my nursing was a female distraction. It enabled me to show my female side and it happened accidentally. Having a family was an accident and I loved that. It helped me distract myself with the feminine side I think.Then when that started to come to an end that ache became worse and worse. It got so bad that I was really desperate – Samaritans desperate – but luckilyI came upon the LGBT switchboard. I then found The Clare Project and then I found Brighton. 

After about a year of travelling over once or twice a week, I decided to try to move here for a while in
order to more easily and more quickly get through with what I then understood was transition. So I just
had what I thought were almost sordid fantasies about being a woman. At the time I had this big cyst
in my neck and I used to have to go into the tunnel to be scanned and I used to dream of just going
into the tunnel and coming out as Alice at the other end.

I used to wish I was gay. I used to be quite envious of gay men and androgynous men as well. I mean David Bowie was a little hint, but it wasn’t quite me. I kind of knew it wasn’t me to be what people used to call effeminate. I wanted to feel it inside more than outside. I just wanted to be me. I’m really happy being me now. This is okay, with all my warts and faults and things that I have to carry on worrying about, just like all other women I suppose. This is how I was meant to be. I really actually think that I couldn’t have come out when I was younger. I’d have been wired up to the mains and zapped – that is what would have happened.


This is Alice's testimony in Chapter Three (Dysphoria, mental health, stress, coping, escapism, fantasy) of the ground-breaking Brighton Trans*formed book.

To read more intimate, heart-breaking and heart-warming stories from transgender people, click here.

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This page was amended on 17/06/2015
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