‘I’m 77 years old, blind and trans’

Before coming out, Chrissie Cochrane kept her curiosity about her own trans identity “way in the back of my brain.” Now, she’s spoken to PinkNews about her coming out story and how being blind may have made her transition easier.

“My coming out journey started, I think about the age of 11”, she says. “You know what you are, you think of all the problems there may be, all the friends you could lose, all the family you could well lose.”

She came out to her partner, Mary, who initially “wasn’t happy about the image at all” because she was concerned people would think she was a lesbian.

“But she said: ‘If we’re going to do that, you’re not going to go out looking scruffy’,” Chrissie adds, going on to describe how her partner helped with makeup and clothes.

‘I don’t care if you stare at me. I can’t tell’

They were together for 29 years, a relationship that only ended with Mary’s death, after she was diagnosed with brain cancer. “She was an absolute godsend,” Chrissie insists.

After coming out, Chrissie, now 77, used her “blindness to great effect,” telling people: “I don’t care if you stare at me. I can’t tell, so I’m going to not even think that you are.”

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Another important element of her identity is a love of music, which she discovered at the age of three. She learned to play the piano, and now plays professionally.

“I don’t think sight has anything to do with it”, she says. “If you watch a piano player, chances are they are reading from music. They are not looking at their hands.”

Chrissie is excited by where she is in her journey, saying: “There is nothing, nothing like the thrill and the wonderful feeling when you wake up after that op and know it’s all done. You are as near as you can get it to [being] the person you want to be.”

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