A pensioner is pleading with the UK’s national health service, NHS, to turn her from a woman back into a man, after realising the sex change operation she had 23 years ago was a huge mistake.
RAF veteran Gary Norton, 75, underwent a full male to female gender reassignment – but says it left her trapped in the wrong body.
She’s now ditched her wardrobe of women’s clothes to live as a man again and is on the waiting list for a mastectomy.
The pensioner, who is legally and still physically a woman, says she is desperate to return to her birth sex before it is too late.
Gary has extended a desperate apology to her family, who disowned her after they discovered her secret life
Gary, who changed her name to Gillian after her wife and four children disowned her, says she knew the sex change was a mistake when she grew sick of doing her hair and make up and continued to be attracted to straight women.
She says: ‘I’m a red-blooded man and always have been. I still can’t believe this happened to me. I should never have been given the op. I tried to make a success of it, what else could I do?
‘But I’ve been living a lie. The sex change was a huge mistake.
‘I was vulnerable and I was given poor advice which has ruined my life. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.’
Gary, of Coventry, is pleading with doctors to turn her back into a man, claiming she should never have been operated on.
But her local Primary Care Trust have so far refused to fund a reversal.
Gary wants to warn others considering the operation and apologise to her family for the decision to change genders
Gary said she tried to embrace her new life by wearing clothes and make-up – but realised she had never wanted to be a woman
Now she wants to warn others considering the operation and extend a desperate apology to her family who have disowned her.
Gary says: ‘Having a sex change was the biggest mistake of my life. It has left me isolated from my children and feeling like a social misfit. I would do anything to see them again.
‘I’m lonely because I want a relationship with a woman but I can’t have a physical relationship because I’ve got no equipment.
‘I want to advise others to think twice, it’s one heck of a mistake to make and as I have found out there is no going back.’
Gary’s horror story began when she sought help for depression from her GP after being made redundant.
During the meeting she admitted to dressing in her wife’s clothes for a secret thrill. She says she now realizes this was as far as she ever wanted to go.
But she claims her GP concluded she could have been depressed because she wanted to be a woman and advised her to start taking hormone pills.
After 23 miserable years spent as a woman Gary said she donated all of her dresses to a charity shop and stopped taking hormone pills
Gary says: ‘I was desperate to be happy so I did as he said and started taking the pills. Before I knew it my beard had stopped growing and I grew breasts.
‘I was fascinated and hoped feeling like a woman would make me feel better.’
But Gary didn’t tell her wife of 25 years and their four children. ‘ I dressed as a woman in secret but in public nobody guessed. I knew they would be horrified and was too afraid to tell them.’
‘My daughter got married months after I started taking the pills and I gave her away terrified that somebody would notice the father of the bride had grown breasts.
‘Of course I bound them tightly under my shirt and prayed nobody would spot them.’
Six months on Gary’s marriage ended in 1986 without her wife guessing the secret. It was only after she moved out that she found a box of women’s clothes in the loft belonging to Gary.
Gary wants to have his procedure reversed, saying that he has been a ‘red-blooded man’ all along and the procedure left him feeling confused and upset
She says: ‘I got a call from my son telling me they were all disgusted and wanted nothing more to do with me.
‘I tried to call and wrote to explain but they never spoke to me again.’
Meanwhile her GP had referred her to a psychiatrist who diagnosed Gary as suffering from gender identity disorder and suggested she consider a sex change.
‘I went along with it because I trusted them and thought they must be right even if I had never considered myself trapped in the wrong body before. Looking back I think all the female hormones had fuddled my mind.’
Now working as an architect she kept his secret by dressing as a man during the day right up until the surgery.
But on the morning of the operation in London in April 1989 Gary started to panic.
‘I put it down to nerves, but even in the operating theatre a voice in my head said it was a mistake, but I felt it was too late to back out. I had gone too far. The next thing I knew I woke up a woman.’
She said the operation had essentially left her a lesbian and she has struggled with relationships ever since
But to her horror when she looked in the mirror, she didn’t feel happy or content, just upset and more confused.
‘I did my best to embrace it; I bought bikinis and nice dresses. I spent time on my hair and make up and always had lovely manicured nails.
‘I wrote to my children to tell them, I hoped they would accept me but they didn’t.’
‘I was so lonely, especially because I thought when I was a female I might be attracted to men, but I still only fancied women and always have done.
‘The operation had essentially left me a lesbian, something I had never considered and wasn’t happy about.’
Within the first year Gary had grown sick of doing her hair and make up and even hated dressing in women’s clothes full time.
‘It was all so fussy and time consuming. It was then it hit me, I hadn’t wanted to be a woman – I just liked dressing up as one from time to time for a thrill and it should never have gone any further.
‘It was devastating. I was a man trapped in a woman’s body and I was stuck with it. It was too late to do anything about it. I couldn’t believe I had gone so far.
The pensioner is warning others about the procedure after his experience
In 1990 one year after the operation she wrote to her psychiatrist for help saying the operation had been a mistake and asked if she could have it reversed.
‘He replied to say I needed to get on with it and embrace life as woman and make a success of it.
‘What choice did I have?’
In the years that followed she took up modelling and dance classes, but no matter what she did Gary never felt like a woman.
‘I passed well as a woman and those who knew said they all thought I had been born that way.
‘But I always felt it was an act. I was pretending waiting for it to feel ‘right’ but it never did.
Eventually after 23 miserable years she had had enough of living a lie and took all of her women’s clothes to the charity shop.
Last year she stopped taking pills to let her facial hair grow back and started dressing as Gary again.
‘My breasts remained so I covered them up with baggy tops. I looked like a man again and felt like a man again. The relief was indescribable.
‘I knew I wanted to the man I had been born in every sense and went to my GP to enquire about a reversal. I told him the operation had been a mistake. In my mind I was misdiagnosed and should not have been operated on.
‘He prescribed testosterone and recommended me for a mastectomy. But he wasn’t sure what could be done about my sexual organs.
‘He wrote to the PCT but they said no funding would be available for a reversal.
‘It’s left me trapped. I date women but once they find out I have a female body it always ends.
‘All I can hope is that my children read this and understand what I have been through. I’m so sorry that I ever went ahead with it. Having a sex change was the biggest mistake of my life and it’s cost me dearly.
‘Having to spend the rest of my days in the wrong body is bad enough, but it’s nothing compared to the pain I feel for not knowing my children.’