Luton author Teraina Hird celebrates two birthdays - her actual birthday in May and the one she considers even more important – the anniversary of her transition from male to female, three years ago this month.
And the 70-year-old former Leighton Buzzard mechanic and racing driver couldn’t be happier.
She’s just written her second book, the first in a trilogy, and now feels she’s living the life she was born for, no longer trapped in the wrong body.
“I wish I’d done it years and years ago,” she said in her Sundon Park semi. “I always knew I was different but I grew up in the 1950s and there was no such think as gender dysphoria in those days.”
Terry – as Teraina was then – was a pretty child who was bullied at school. He went on to marry and have a child and lived in total denial about his inner feelings – even though, as a teenager, he’d dressed as a woman for a ‘topsy turvy’ competition leading to a eureka moment about what had been wrong all his life.
It was only after his wife died that he felt able to unleash the woman within and have gender realignment surgery in Thailand.
Teraina wrote about her struggle to become herself in her autobiography, Unashamedly Me.
She said: “The words just flowed. And if people pick it up and read it and it helps, that’s what it’s all about.
“I feel a far better person than I ever was before – more tolerant, understanding and free from testosterone-fuelled aggression.
“I am far more loving, less selfish and much more emotional. In fact I am a woman.”
One of her few regrets is not giving birth.
She’s just completed her second book and first novel – The Silence of Truth: Sarah’s Secret – in which she draws on her experience in the BDSM (bondage, discipline, domination, submission and sadomachistic) lifestyle.
“I’m very pleased with it,” she said. The second in the trilogy, entitled The Heist, is already well under way.
She sleeps with a pad and pencil by her pillow because she often wakes in the early hours with a poem running through her head.
Teraina met her partner Anna at a party and they split their time between Luton and Manchester.
Her son Chris, a graphic designer, has come to terms with his former father whom he calls ‘T.’
Taraina said: “Before my transition I always looked for something that wasn’t there.
“Now I feel very lucky and very happy.”
> The Silence of Truth: Sarah’s Story by Teraina E Hird (FastPrint Publishing) costs £8.99.