Ruth Rose underwent gender reassignment at the age of 81, making her the oldest person in Britain to have the medical procedure, and four years later she has opened up about the experience.
Now 85, Rose told BBC Radio 5 Live she knew she was female from the age of 9 but waited all these years before finally opting to have the surgery.
"It is only in the past 15 years that this has become acceptable. Before that people thought it was just for freaks," she said, according to The Sun.
Ruth had been living as a woman for several years before the reassignment procedure. Before that she was known as James Rose, a husband who finally divorced in 2003.
When she retired, Ruth decided to come out as a woman.
"I'm enjoying the fact that I have made the transition," she said, according to the Mirror. "My main thing in life isn't going around saying I am a lady now. But not a day had gone by since I was 9 when I didn't think I was in the wrong body. I always felt I was a woman."
Now she hopes to be a representative for transgender people and wanted to prove to the world that reassignment surgery is a normal thing, BBC noted.
Ruth's comments reflect a larger fear of social persecution towards transgender.
A 2018 review found that in the U.S., a large number of transgender people experienced widespread prejudice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of stigma.
However, views are beginning to shift and data shows that more people are becoming comfortable with having gender reassignment.
Data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show a notable rise in gender confirmation surgeries, with more than 3,200 transfeminine and transmasculine surgeries performed in 2016 alone.
"The medical community now recognizes the importance of these procedures and the impact they can have on people's lives," said report author Dr. Loren Schechter, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Chicago, Time noted.
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