Just very briefly, I'm 54, married 31 years with 3 "kids" ranging in age from 18 to 26. I've been in denial most of my life. I knew around age 12 or so that I was different, and I knew somehow that I was not male inside, but didn't quite know what to make of it. I knew I wanted breasts, and I knew I felt feminine inside. As I got older, I began to have real problems thinking about it. I started having suicidal thoughts in high school. At the time, I didn't really connect that with my gender issues. When I was 18, I ran away from home, hitch-hiked cross-country, and was away for a month and a half. That was the first time I allowed myself to think seriously about whether I thought I was transgendered, and knew I wanted to get some help, but my home situation was hopeless - I knew I could never seek therapy without my parents knowing all the details, and they would not accept this. So when I was 20, I met and fell in love with my wife, and for the most part buried all of these feelings. However, when we'd been married a year and a half, I actually attempted suicide. And I knew it was connected with my gender issues. And afterward, I discussed that with her, but she didn't understand, and I didn't want to lose her, so we mutually agreed to bury it and never speak of it again. Except it manifested itself in other ways, acting out sexually at various times over the years, but I was in such deep denial I could no longer see the connection. She and I have pretty much always had problems in the bedroom, and again, I never really made the connection. In the past 10 years or so, we've been making periodic attempts to improve our marriage through counseling, but we could never address the true issues, so our problems have just continued to fester. In the past 7 years I've been working with an online relationship support group, and just in the past couple of months, I've made some real progress. I decided to post a journal of my entire marital history, including stuff from childhood, and to make a long story short, finally made some important connections, and could see the big picture for the first time. I then went through a really hellish several weeks of emotional overload, as the full import of what I had (re-)discovered hit me like a brick wall. Recently, I spent the weekend with my best friend (of 36 years), and for the first time attended Pride festivities, and he and I had many long talks, and all of that together finally allowed me to begin to accept myself as I am. The final epiphany came last Monday morning, when I awoke with a simple question in mind: If my personal happiness were the only consideration, and I could freely choose, what would I do? My answer was overwhelmingly that I would transition.
So now I'm at the stage of trying to figure out What Next? I plan to ask my doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist. My wife and I have been seeing a marriage counselor for the past few months, and he's helped us a lot, so we do intend to continue seeing him. Especially with this - she will need a lot of help, I think. She already knew this about me from the suicide episode, but considers it ancient history, dead and buried. But this and other things will be coming out in our next session, next Tuesday (we had a conversation a couple of weeks ago when she found out I'm a closet smoker, and asked if there were anything ELSE I was hiding from her - smart girl!). As for dressing, I've only just begun the barest experiments, mainly because I don't know how to approach it, and especially how I'd hide anything. We're five adults or near-adults in a modest bungalow, so privacy is at a high premium.
Anyway, I think this looks like an amazing forum, and I look forward to participating!