Steven Saunders says he feels trapped inside his body as a man and opts to change it. He now bears Pamela.
But, before he can make any definite decision, he first considers the feelings of his wife of 18 years.
When Steven reveals to his soulmate (as he calls her) that he loves dressing like a woman, she expresses shock at first, then takes him women-clothes shopping.
The couple and their family of 5, including Saunder’s mother are showing the 55 year-old nothing but love through his coming out.
For Steven Saunders, keeping such a secret from his wife Josie and their five wonderful children from previous relationships was all too hard to bear.
“How did I react?”, Josie exclaims, “Well, it was fine. I was surprised by the speed of her revelation, but I tend to take everything in my stride”.
“If I’d married a mental image of somebody then I could see that would be a problem, but I didn’t, I married the person.
Pamela’s the same person inside, except happier. We talked about it right from the start and looked at different types of clothes online.
We went out and bought everything together. It was really exciting and scary too, because I was convinced people were going to work out they weren’t for me.
Then we came home and she tried them on”.
Pamela (Steven’s she-identity) says: “I was talking to Josie and putting on women’s clothes just came out of the blue. It unleashed the floodgates. All of a sudden, everything made sense in my life. I thought back to when I was 12 and my mum gave me two tops to wear. And how I was happier in female company growing up”.
Before coming out, the father of five was a cross-dresser, trying out his wife’s clothes and underwear.
Before gaining the confidence to go public dressed as a woman, Pamela began wearing feminine clothes full-time at their Glastonbury home in Sommerset.
Pamela said: “I went to a meeting of transgender people. It was nerve-racking. But once you become used to it you don’t give it a second thought”.
Josie admits “I did have a little period of adjustment, worrying what everyone would think. Then I realized it didn’t matter.”
Together the couple have five children from previous marriages; Pamela’s children – Ellie, 22, Freddy, 20, and Ivan, 18 – are very laid back, Josie’s two are, Anthony, 22, and Nick, 19.
Josie said: “We told them one at a time. And they just accept you for who you are. It’s very refreshing. My children’s acceptance of Pamela has really helped me, too.
They accompanied Pamela on many of her first trips as a woman and showed me that my worries about what people might say were unfounded.
“They accept that Steven is now Pamela, but they still call him Dad”.
Josie’s 19 year-old Nick says: “Clearly Pam had been keeping it all locked up tightly inside, so it was quite a surprise”.
Student Ellie adds: “It was a shock seeing him in women’s clothes, but I love it now. I feel he’s a happier person and more in touch emotionally.
I don’t think this has had any impact on our family. It’s just a mark of our acceptance for each other.”
Pamela who is a former engineer decides to transgender in November 2014 saying she’ll like to have a partial sex change ie hormones and an orchiectomy (testicles removal).
Now a personal development coach, Pamela says: “If we can help other people wanting to transgender by telling our story, that would be just brilliant.
“My wife battled throat cancer two years ago and since then we’ve had a ‘life is too short, live it now’ attitude. You can make a drama of things or you can decide it’s going to be easy”.