From an article but it all makes sense to me anyway. My comments in bold.

Let me be blunt. They are questions I dread, but everyone wants to ask. Even if they’re not brave enough to say it outright.

I can see the words scrolling behind their eyes: ‘Have you had a sex-change operation?’; ‘Do you think you might regret it one day?’ Or my personal least favourite:

‘Why did you decide that you wanted to be a woman?’

Trying to explain what it is like to be born in the wrong body is exhausting. I’d rather talk about other subjects. Anything. Cheese. Brake pads. Fluff. Anything. My reason for this blog is to help answer and provide information I’ve found.

‘What’s it like to be transgender?’ Someone like me, whose gender differs from the one they were given at birth.

To be frank – though I never, ever want to be Frank – it is difficult, bordering on impossible to answer this. But I welcome the opportunity to try to do so now.

‘WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A WOMAN?’

Look, I know changing gender sounds funny. Ridiculous. The stuff of a Hollywood comedy. But we are not actually changing our gender. Nor are we having a sex-change or sex-swap.

These terms are outdated and, really, not particularly nice. We are changing our bodies to match the gender we have always been. It’s an important distinction.

I don’t consider myself as ever having been male. Children are born every day with extra fingers, heart defects, senses that don’t work. Is it really such a leap of faith to consider nature perhaps occasionally gets it wrong with the neurological wiring of our gender? That’s all a transgender person is. Someone whose mapping in their brain doesn’t match their outer skin. This for me is one the best explanations that match my own reasons for being who I am.

Trans is just one of the many characteristics of being human. No different from having freckles, really. Well OK, maybe a little bit different.

Also, it’s not a choice. Who in their right mind would choose a lifestyle where one in three people contemplates suicide? Where you risk losing family, friends and career, simply to be who you are? For 45 years I tried to be someone that I wasn’t, and it very nearly killed me.

I’d known since childhood that something wasn’t right but I thought I could ignore it.

By my 40s the dysphoria of feeling as if I was in the wrong body had become overwhelming, and I had to do something about it. 

‘WHAT’S YOUR REAL NAME?’

It takes a few seconds and a search engine to discover that India wasn’t always my first name, but I’m an exception. I talk about Jonathan in the third person. He was a good guy, but also someone I was pretending to be – not the real me. I feel like he died a long time ago. 

You might curiously ask a trans person ‘What is your real name?’ or, if you know someone who is trans, call them by their old name.

We call this ‘dead naming’ and it’s one thing we hate. We have to jump through lots of hoops over many years with doctors and psychologists before we get anywhere near a hospital. 

Our old skin caused us distress and we have done everything we can to leave it behind. If you knew someone had an injury to their arm or leg, you wouldn’t keep prodding it. Our old name is something that hurts.

You should not introduce someone by their old name. It’s up to the individual to decide if they want to bring it up.

‘ARE YOU WORRIED YOU’LL REGRET IT?’

Most definitely not. I’d rather be stuck in a free-falling lift with only a National Lottery presenter for company than go back. Crossing over saved me.

And as for the thought that genderreassignment operations are a waste of NHS money, I would respectfully argue the opposite.

This is a medical condition that leaves many people stuck in gender limbo contemplating suicide. Four thousand pounds or so to save a life? To keep a son or daughter? A parent? Bargain.

I looked good in a suit and as well groomed. But when I caught sight of myself in the mirrorr, I was struck by the feeling: ‘That isn’t me.’

At home I drank a bottle of wine and seriously thought about ending it all. I would rather have died than admit the truth to my family and everyone at work. Had this moment too many times always too close to call, but never 

I was so unwilling to come out as trans that at first I bought hormone medication online, rather than see a doctor. At the time I thought I was protecting my family from the disappointing truth, but in hindsight I was playing Russian roulette.

There is a misconception that you turn up at a clinic saying you are transgender one day and the next get wheeled into an operating theatre.

It takes a long time before you get anywhere near an operating theatre on the NHS. You’re vetted by a barrage of psychologists and other medical professionals.

It’s not something you can do on a whim. If it’s not for you, they will weed you out.

In fact, when I did seek help in 2009, it took about a year of clinic visits and assessments before my first prescription was approved.

It’s estimated that about one per cent of the British population is ‘gender nonconforming’ to some degree – a percentage that has been consistent.

So what has changed? Well, there have been huge advances in medical understanding and, therefore, treatment of transgender people.

This, coupled with increased awareness, means more people are confident about seeking help, and their numbers have been increasing.

Hopefully, very soon, having a woman or man with a transgender history in any high-profile role won’t be viewed as being that out of the ordinary.

‘HAVE YOU HAD, YOU KNOW, THE OP?’

People don’t ask me this in person, but will often do it in tweets or in emails, safely behind a keyboard.

I think it’s a question all trans people find tiresome.

Trans people exist on a spectrum from those who simply feel dressing as their chosen gender at times is enough, to people like me.

And there is a range of medical treatments that reflect this, from hormones, that affects things like breast-tissue growth and body hair, to surgery on the face or body or vocal cords.

But by ‘the op’, most people mean genital surgery. Not all trans people have this and it’s a highly personal decision. For that reason – it’s highly personal – this is a question you shouldn’t ask. It’s rude to ask someone about their privates. My answer is: I’ve completed all of my surgeries, and I am at peace with my body. My dysphoria – the sense of being in the wrong body – has completely vanished since I got myself in sync.

‘ARE YOU GAY?’

This is really important. Sexuality and gender are two completely different things. I’m tempted to write it again because the two are repeatedly confused. Being trans doesn’t automatically mean you are gay.

Just because someone is a man, it doesn’t mean he will be attracted to a woman. Equally, not all women are attracted to men. The percentage of the trans population that is gay (as in, trans-women who are attracted to women, and trans-men who are attracted to men) is thought to be about the same as the rest of the population.

Honestly, I’m not really sure why LGB is grouped in with the T. The first three are who you want to sleep with. The last is who you are. I’m not a gay man dressing up in a dress.

‘WHAT’S YOUR REAL NAME?’

I talk about Anthony in the third person. He was a good guy, but also someone I was pretending to be – not the real me. I feel like he died a long time ago. 

You might curiously ask a trans person ‘What is your real name?’ or, if you know someone who is trans, call them by their old name.

We call this ‘dead naming’ and it’s one thing we hate. We have to jump through lots of hoops over many years with doctors and psychologists before we get anywhere near a hospital. 

Our old skin caused us distress and we have done everything we can to leave it behind. If you knew someone had an injury to their arm or leg, you wouldn’t keep prodding it. Our old name is something that hurts.

You should not introduce someone by their old name. It’s up to the individual to decide if they want to bring it up. Please please no more Anthony Tony has gone OK stop prodding the still open wound please.

‘ARE YOU WORRIED YOU’LL REGRET IT?’

Most definitely not. I’d rather be stuck in a free-falling lift with only a National Lottery presenter for company than go back. Crossing over saved me.

And as for the thought that genderreassignment operations are a waste of NHS money, I would respectfully argue the opposite.

This is a medical condition that leaves many people stuck in gender limbo contemplating suicide. Four thousand pounds or so to save a life? To keep a son or daughter? A parent? Bargain.

If you have read all the above…well done but also somehow try to imagine what is constantly going on on my mind, it’s a daily onslaught of thinking and feeling something is missing or incorrect, always wanting the cherry on top. So I’m getting with it.