Lisa Kelly

Transgender/LGBT activist
AGE: 49

Above all else, you will have ups and downs, but as you get through each down, life does get better so no matter how low you might get, have the courage to get through it and live your life your way.

At some stage you will have to change your name by legal deed-pol, there are free sites out there, just check that they are legally accepted. You will need to carry out your name change on everything that holds your old name, from bank accounts to utility bills, council tax to store cards, everything.

The sooner you do this, and keep hold of a dated bill, bank statement, the better.

When you finally get your first appointment with the gender clinic, if you can prove you have lived in your chosen gender for a period of time, that will be cut off the time you spend waiting to get the okay for hormone treatment.

Top Tip, look at what people of your age group are wearing, and aim for something similar if you want to blend into society hassle free. Don't over do things like make up.

Be confident, keep your head held high and just go about your everyday business, if you look confident and your clothes and/or make up don't make you stand out like a sore thumb, then most people won't even notice you.

Transitioning is a long process but assuming you have already reached the decision to transition, here are some tips and pointers.

Visit your GP and ask to be referred to a gender clinic, you can choose which one, but bear in mind, you'll need to attend the gender clinic lots of times, but tell your GP which gender clinics you want to be under. You should also asked your GP to copy you in the letter they send, just so you know they have even sent the letter, there are many out there who 6 months down the line, find out their GP 'forgot' to send the letter and waiting lists are horrendous as it is.

At some stage you will need to tell your family, work and friends, you might not the reaction you wanted from family or friends, but explain everything to them, how you feel and why you are doing it. With luck family will come round, it may take some time for them to digest the news though. Work will have a duty under the law to accept your news and deal with anything untoward from colleagues.