Anna: For the Love of Tractors

Anna was born in 1947 into a farming family, assigned male at birth. From an early age she was drawn to cross-dressing, which she would do in secret at home. Her older sister was killed in a road accident when Anna was five years old.

At school, Anna had an idea that she wasn’t quite the same as the other boys – she can’t remember exactly what it was, but it ended in a fight. Her earliest memory is being on her tricycle with a teddy in the basket. It connects with her hobby, which is tractors.

As a child, Anna went to Sunday school at the Church of England, while her parents attended a Methodist church. She went to church youth clubs as she grew older, which is where she met her future wife. Anna had had another girlfriend before she met her wife, and Anna would sometimes cross-dress with her – they would go out in the evening with Anna wearing her girlfriend’s clothes. She hid some clothes in the attic in her parents’ house, which she would retrieve when her parents were out.

‘It sounds incredible, the things we did. It really does. A real struggle. But it was something you had to do. Its not something you wanted to, so much as had to do it. Yes you enjoyed it while you were dressed, because that was the real you, or the real me.’

During their marriage, Anna continued to cross-dress in secret, and would make trips to Birmingham to visit trans clubs there.

Through work, as a technical author in the tractor industry, Anna became involved in the trade union movement, and joined an LGBT group she found at conference one year. She began to attend conference as Anna rather than her male persona, and in time this led to attending work events as Anna too. Anna was diagnosed with depression, and while she was off work she was offered a redundancy package which she accepted.

She attended a gender clinic in Manchester where she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and began hormone treatment. Anna’s wife found out about her transition only by finding the hormone medication in their house. Anna moved out into a housing association bungalow. She also began to attend the Metropolitan Church in Manchester.  When Anna was church warden, her transition had had to be discussed with the bishop, who had no problems with that. The following Easter, she wanted to renew her baptism vows at the annual service at the cathedral – the bishop said that was fine.

During the service, at the appropriate time, the minister said,

There’s somebody here who wants to make a special point of their renewal of baptism vows.” So he called me forward and effectively re-baptised me in my name, Anna May Booth. And then, when we shared the peace…the bishop came to me first, gave me a blessing.’

It was a very emotional experience for Anna.

Anna transitioned in 2004. Her family are supportive and she is now friends with her ex-wife, although Anna’s son has been harder to bring round. Anna now has a trans female partner who lives in Luton, but is planning to move to Manchester.

Anna hears stories about trans people having trouble, and she wanted to record her story for Twilight People to show that not all trans people have this experience.

‘Life is good. I just want to live as Anna and be accepted by people, by people I meet.’