A woman who knows who she is: Kathy Mansfield

There are those who are blessed to know at age 6 that they are different; they are clear and they act on it. Then there are those like me that started to have experiences that sit outside what is considered to be ‘traditional’ gender binary norms. Like I’ve always been fascinated with ballerinas and mermaids. I didn’t understand my gender.

I was stressed in my early years because I was from an upper lower class family – I was too frightened to talk to someone or get a book from the library to explore my gender. I asked a psychiatrist what was wrong with me and how it could be cured. He said: it can’t be changed. This is who you are.

In my sixties I didn’t think I was genuine enough to transition. I doubted my credentials. As I aged I began to believe that it was part of who I am. I began to feel like I could live with myself. I had to come out to myself first before telling my family

As I have experienced more beautiful people it affirms who I am as a gender diverse person. Over time I have become more comfortable with who I am and what I want. Initially I sought the company of other trans and gender diverse people to feel comfortable with myself and have my gender affirmed. My connection to them was deeply rooted. Then I started to feel more comfortable interacting with the broader world. I feel I have more confidence to do that now. It’s still wonderful to get together with My People – they were a village for me.

The older I get, maturity in a female body. Natal women have history as a woman – experimentations as a woman and I’ve gone through experimentation that teenagers do to try and find a place for myself as a woman. I searched for my truth. Trying to be a genuine woman – I have only been able to do that through trial and error and with the passage of time. I am getting closer to being a woman who knows who she is and what she wants.

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