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Transgender woman came out when wife died after 'wanting to be her'

Ali Condon

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Transgender woman came out when wife died after 'wanting to be her'

Featured Image Credit: PA Real Life/Collect

A transgender woman has finally felt comfortable enough to come out after years of 'cross-dressing' in private, following the death of her wife of 30 years.

Cherylin Hall, 57, from Northamptonshire had always felt like a woman, but settled for life as a man because she felt she wouldn't have been accepted.

Now, Cherylin has confessed that part of the reason she fell in love with and married her wife was because she 'wanted to be her'.

Cherylin decided to fully come out as transgender after her wife's passing. Credit: PA Real Life/ Collect
Cherylin decided to fully come out as transgender after her wife's passing. Credit: PA Real Life/ Collect

Cherylin's wife Theresa passed away in 2019 after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and subsequently bone cancer - which was when Cherylin decided that life was too short to pretend to be someone she wasn't and started the process of transitioning.

"When people ask me ‘when did you first become a woman?’, the truth is, I’ve always been a woman," she said.

"I would never have chatted [Theresa] up, I was far too shy, and I was far too interested in looking like women, but obviously, I couldn’t. So she spoke to me, and we got together. The rest is history.

“She was five foot four, blonde, and always wore heels and a dress. It’s exactly what I wanted, and what I wanted to be. I think that’s some of the reason why I fell in love with her - I wanted to be her."

Within a week of their relationship, Cherylin had told Theresa that she was a 'crossdresser'.

“She sort of put up with it for the first year or two," Cherylin says.

"But by the end, she knew there was a lot more to it. It caused an awful lot of problems in our married life and was the crux of most of our arguments."

Cherylin resorted to dressing in women’s clothes in secret when her wife was out of the house, saying: “My wife used to make me feel ashamed, to be honest.

“But, through time, she helped me buy clothes. I’ll be honest. My cross-dressing was a poor substitute for having to live the lie that I was living."

Cherylin had previously been too nervous to be her authentic self in public. Credit: PA Real Life/ Collect
Cherylin had previously been too nervous to be her authentic self in public. Credit: PA Real Life/ Collect

In September 2016, Cherylin’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, which was cured thanks to immediate treatment.

But in March 2018 it returned as bone cancer and grew rapidly, and Theresa died in January 2019.

"She was only 54 when she died," said Cherilyn. "And I thought life was far too short. I just had to take the wheel, which was my eureka moment.

"I spent that year knowing that I was no longer going to be Tony, I was going to become Cherylin, and throughout that whole year, obviously, I’m still grieving but also filled with excitement."

In September 2019, Cherylin visited her GP regarding her struggles with her gender identity and was referred to her local gender identity clinic.

But, this came with a waiting list of nearly four years, so she went private and was officially diagnosed with gender dysphoria and was prescribed hormones just a few months later.

She is currently waiting for ‘bottom surgery’, or vaginoplasty, costing her around £18,000.

Cherylin is on the waiting list for bottom surgery. Credit: PA Real Life/ Collect
Cherylin is on the waiting list for bottom surgery. Credit: PA Real Life/ Collect

Cherylin told her children in November 2019, that she was going to 'become Cherylin' in January 2020.

Despite feeling liberated, Cherylin still finds it difficult to feel accepted publicly.

She said: “I feel vulnerable whenever I go outside. I’ve always been sensitive to the way others view or perceive me.

"I’ve always felt uncomfortable in my body, and I feel uncomfortable now because it’s not the body I was meant for.

"I am still met with a lot of resistance. Whenever I’m out, you’ll see couples poke each other in the back and sort of laugh and giggle, and I can imagine what they’re saying.

"But I just have to be me, and I have to put on this brave face and pretend everything’s alright.

"I think trans women have a valid place in this world. We’re just misunderstood."

Topics: LGBTQ+, Real Life

Ali Condon
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