I suppose for some that suicide was an option. Others may have suppressed it while living very frustrated lives.
Gender reassignment surgery was (with one exception) unheard of at the time.
Per the Andrology website:
Much as it might have been desired by patients thus afflicted, hormonal and surgical gender reassignment were impossible until the thirties of this century. Modern documented history of transsexualism and gender reassignment starts in 1930 with the first recorded adult sex change operation on a Danish artist in Germany. Einar Wegener became Lily Elbe.
After that, it was only in 1953 with the story of the surgical gender reassignment of the American ex-GI George Jorgensen, who became Christine Jorgensen, that transsexualism received worldwide publicity.
"A" didn't have to imagine what it was like to be 17 years old in the year, 1937. He lived it and he had to also live with "it", although he didn't know at the time that "it" would be referred to as gender identity disorder many years later.
"A" sent me an email some time ago, as the result of a guest post I did on Lori's (former) blog. Although clearly transgender, he always has referred to himself in the male persona, as I am referring to him now.
I asked "A" to share his thoughts and reflections on transitioning and he sent me a draft. I was somewhat concerned with a paragraph near the end of the draft, because it referred to me. I told him that this was his essay and it should not be about me and asked him to delete the paragraph. He insisted it stay. At the end of his essay, I have included his reply and the reason why.
As usual, if you would like to contact Arthur, you can do so, by contacting me via my email address in my profile. You may also comment on the T-Central Facebook site. The link is at the bottom of this page.
The View From The Mountain Top
Calie has asked me if I could express my thoughts on the subject of transitioning of gender. I am strongly in favor of transitioning as early in life as possible, with some caveats.
That being said, may I introduce myself. I am a man, age 90. Old enough, and with much experience (not all good). My childhood was spent in the 1920's, and my youth in the '30s. And more than that, I was born with an apparently serious case of Gender Identity Disorder.
In those days, total ignorance reigned, nobody - the doctor, the teacher, the lawyer, the clergy, the press, had ever heard of transsexualism, its problems, its causes, its treatment. Add to the problem the fact that my father was a Baptist Minister, bed rock. A really good man, kind and giving, but he knew Sin when he saw it, and Sin had invaded his family. My weakness had to be removed, and it was up to me to do it, with lots of help. I lived a life of hell, for I was effeminate.
Obviously, after years of pressure, I ended up believing everything they said, and buried my other self deep in my psyche, hardly ever to appear. There was great sinful pleasure when it did, soon to be again submerged. A huge Depression, and the stress of a great War overwhelmed me, still without recourse for the TS within, then college, a profession, marriage, and an interesting career. I learned to cope with my 2 persona's by deeply burying one.
Christine Jorgenson, six years my junior, completed transition in the mid 1950's. Then, close to 40, I was appalled, confused, and didn't realize that it might apply to me.
So, I never transitioned, and I have lived a life of deep, constant, frustration. It forced me to concentrate on my sciences. It created a strong and helpful drive that relieved that constant pressure, resulting in needed fulfillment as a creative engineer. I am probably the last articulate survivor from that infinity of earlier generations of humans, and the millions of TS people who were denied transition in the past. Obviously they all lived out their lives, as I did, the difference is that now you have a choice, we didn't. There is much pain either way one chooses, and I don't know which is worse. But, now you have a life choice, and it's a tough one.
In the mid 1990's I retired, discovered the Internet, and began to uncover my secret, which soon came alive, then overwhelmed me. She talks to me many times a day, a welcome joy. I follow many blogs, read much, but have done nothing to adapt. My wife, 87 years old, & my children, know none of it and sadly would absolutely reject me. It's too late in life for me to take the five years needed to modify my being, and at great cost too, to reappear in preferred form at age 95, given that I did live that long.
I am much hurt by the terrible fate awaiting many transitioning transsexuals. Many, many, have to become prostitutes to survive. The extremely high level of unemployment, and the desperate living standards of many are deplorable. The answer is money, and gaining the skill to obtain it, and that means much pre-transition planning, and getting the education to survive. I am appalled by the innocent, ignorant, young people starting transition with no hint of the horrors ahead, and no plan. They should make sure that they will be relatively safe and, without resources, they are in much danger.
I believe Calie to be a blessed and wonderful human being for rejecting transitioning to preserve her marriage and family. She suffers terrible frustration for it, but her love for them makes her do it, an extraordinary sacrifice. A tough, painful, responsible, and humane decision. Her wife must be a wonderful person.
Thanks for putting up with me. I love you all, and respect you.
[When I asked "A" to delete the second to the last paragraph, this was his reply:
I mention at the essay beginning that I was strongly in favor of transitioning, but added that it was with caveats. The second caveat offered, not directly described, is that the crucial social consequences of transition should be recognized and accommodated when making the decision. I do not present that specifically, for it is too preachy, but I did praise the selfless decision of a person with full blown GID, who put transition aside out of love for wife and family. That person happened to be you, sorry, but the case remains important and valid, and should be strongly stated. Please don't invalidate the issue by weakening the example to cover your modesty.
Both the caveats could stand much more stress, but this is not the place.]