My name is Ann and I knew at the age of about four that I felt like I should have been born female. But growing up in the era in which I did, gender was very tightly policed, and I didn't feel that I could express that to anybody. Back in those days, it was I think probably more common for them to hospitalize and try to cure somebody of gender identity problems. Well, I didn't know that part, I knew that I shouldn't talk about it with family or friends because of the way gender was so tightly policed. I remember asking my mother about a friend of mine who she described as a tomboy and explained to me what a tomboy was, and I asked the question if there was something like that for boys. And the reaction was pretty strong against a different, an alternate identity there. So I know I better not bring this up, and so I just repressed it all. And I pretended it didn't exist and yet it would continue to kind of bubble up in my life. And I would try to repress it and make it go away. And I kept thinking that someday it's going to go away and I won't have to deal with this, and I will suddenly realize, "Hey, I haven't thought about that for a long time." Well that never really happened. No matter what I tried, it didn't seem to make it go away. I was never into sports but I tried them, hoping maybe that would make it go away. It didn't help. I joined the United States Marine Corps thinking maybe that would make it go away, that didn't help. I was also somewhat confused in that I didn't understand the separation between gender identity and sexual identity and sexual orientation. The three are totally independent and separate from each other. And so I didn't understand that I could be attracted to women and still be one or want to be one. And so, every role not role model but every example that I ever saw of somebody that was transgender was usually a gay man, and they were usually a drag queen and I couldn't relate. I didn't connect with that. That isn't who I felt I was. And so it was a very long time before I actually found somebody that was more like me. Well, the first steps for me when I realized I needed to start working on my gender identity and figure out who I was, was to go to the library. And I went to the downtown public library and I found the section where all the books were. And rather than checking the books out, I would find a stack of books, pull them off the shelves and go to one of the study carols that had walls on three sides, and I would set my books there upside down with the spines against the backs so nobody could see what it was, put a piece of paper on top and grab a book and I'd kind of open it so I was shielding what I was looking at, and people couldn't tell what I was reading. And I would read through the books and I would put it on the bottom of the stack, grab the next book go through that. And I would spend hours at the library going through books and reading people's stories, finding anything and everything I possibly could on transgender identity and gender identity. And then I would reshelf the books rather than putting them on the ends of the shelves like you're supposed to at the end of looking at books. I actually figured out the Dewey Decimal System and put them back where they belong so that nobody would know that anybody had been looking at those books. And I never checked them out back then because I was afraid to. I didn't want anybody to look at me and question that. But I also found the stories that people had posted of their own life experiences, and I started reading other people's stories that were so similar to mine, that had very similar experiences, that had very similar life stories. And that aside from the names and the places, those stories maybe could even have been mine. And so I started realizing that I wasn't alone. And so that was my first year and a half or so. But then I also realized that I couldn't handle it alone. I couldn't continue any further without more help. I needed some help because my mind was so cluttered with so much information that I needed kind of help combing through all of that and straightening it out and making it make sense for me. And so I came out as an adult. And after I had been married for many years, and realized I had to work on this because it became very stressful. And I realized that if I didn't work on it, I probably would commit suicide. And so the result was that I had to work hard because I didn't really want to kill myself. So I began to work on it. I sought therapy. I found therapy, I got good therapy. There's good therapy and there's bad therapy and I was fortunate in that I was able to find really good therapists. And nobody pressured me to do anything I didn't want to do, it was more about trying to figure out what would I do if I could and if I didn't have fear. And fear is a real motivator for a lot of things. Fear is a motivator, I guess, to a lot of things. And so, I overcame my fears and I decided I needed to transition. And what about that and here I am on the other side.