Trans woman who came out at 55 wants you to know ‘it’s never too late’ to come out

Woman wearing a sun hat looking away from the camera

A trans woman who came out aged 55 has shared her story to inspire older people who are still in the closet.

Angela Traill, now 58, shared her inspiring story in an article for Metro published Monday (June 13).

Though she didn’t came out as a trans woman until she was 55, she first realised around the age of 10 that she “wasn’t feeling how [she] was supposed to feel”.

“I was assigned male at birth but the older I got, the more feminine I felt inside and I began to be drawn towards the desire to be a girl and look like a girl,” she explained.

Traill wrote of various issues that she and many other trans individuals know all too well. Growing up in the harsh climate of the 70s, she felt the sting of heteronormativity at its height.

At the time, the stigma surrounding LGBTQ+ people was profoundly common. Consensual same-sex activity had only just been partially decriminalised in England and Wales a few years prior, and education on LGBTQ+ topics in schools was non-existent.

“At that time, there were no points of reference for me whatsoever and it all just felt a bit… Strange. I didn’t really understand what it meant,” she said.

“So, I just carried on as I was – feeling curious but hoping I’d just be able to shake it off.”

Traill’s fear of being “scorned, shunned, laughed at,” and “mocked” over the progressing decades proved to be too much. After losing her father in 2018 and work becoming increasingly difficult, her wife asked her to try counselling.

“The counselling broke down the mental barriers I had erected over a lifetime of secrecy and denial: my defences turned to dust and I was left totally exposed,” she explained.

Soon after, Traill eventually came out to herself and to her wife. Despite being supportive, their marriage came to an end, as she explained: “She had no qualms with me being who I was but she made it clear that if I did decide to transition, she couldn’t remain married to me.

Traill has been able to pay for hormone therapy and laser hair removal sessions on her pension, but can’t afford to go private for gender-affirming surgeries.

She’s currently on a waiting list for a first appointment with an NHS Gender Identity Clinic (GIC). Wait times are currently more than four-and-a-half years long, with the GIC website stating that it is currently seeing patients first referred in January 2018.

More than 11,000 people are on the list for a first appointment. The NHS is facing a judicial review over the spiralling wait times.

Going private for surgeries can be incredibly expensive, reaching the tens of thousands.

By the time she is seen, Traill will likely be 64, but that won’t stop what’s so important to her.

Her story is just one example of why coming out has no time limit. There’s no such thing as transitioning too late – a common worry amongst newly out trans people – as Traill emphasises.

“To anyone in the same or similar situation, my advice is to seek professional counselling to help you understand yourself better; talk to the people you love. Explain to them how you’re feeling.

“It’s no joy ride, that’s for sure, but take it from me, it’s never too early or too late,” Traill said.