Sunday 21 July 2019

Dear Mary: I'm a lesbian in a man's body

Talking to a psychotherapist can help. Photo posed
Talking to a psychotherapist can help. Photo posed

Mary O’Conor

My story is one you have probably heard so often, with perhaps one exception; I am a lesbian trapped in a man's body.

I have no interest in males whatsoever. In fact, I have great difficulty talking to them, but no difficulty talking to women.

It has been like this all my life and it is probably too late to do anything about it. I am now 58 and trapped in a loveless marriage and with a teenage daughter. I am 13 years older than my wife, who has Asperger's syndrome.

I know that if I was female I would definitely be in a lesbian relationship. I am so comfortable with females.

A sensitive friend of mine told me years ago that I have a lot of female energy about me.

I do not know how anyone can help, but I really feel I am losing myself. I have left heaps out, but I've told you the basics.

Mary replies: Your letter is indeed a variant on the more usual woman trapped in a man's body. You probably haven't spoken to anybody about this so I'm glad you contacted me as a first step.

I was really surprised to see recently that there has been an increase by 2,100pc in gender dysphoria cases reported in Ireland in the last decade. From this huge number only a very small group will go on to transition into a male or female, but it shows how many people are questioning their own makeup.

I don't know enough about you to put any sort of label on you, but it might be of some help to know that there are other people out there with problems of identity.

While there are lots of guys who are much more comfortable chatting with other guys, there are many who very much enjoy female company.

There are also some men who are much more in touch with their female side than other men. This is because we are all individuals, with individual tastes and behaviours.

In any group of people you are likely to find different sexual orientations and they are all equally valid.

But what we all deserve is to be happy within ourselves and you don't sound very happy.

You are also trapped in a loveless marriage with a wife whose disability means she has difficulty with communication which must be very difficult for you.

Even if you want to do nothing about your situation you need to take care of yourself, and you should be talking to a psychotherapist on a regular basis in order to be able to make sense of what is going on in your head.

You shouldn't have to be going through all of this alone.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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