ONLY her mother and
younger brother know the truth. For most of her life
Anna Taylor has lived with the secret that she was born
While Big Brother's
Nadia merely kept the fact that she was a transsexual
woman from her housemates, Anna hid the truth of her
gender from the world.
Anna, 45, has been
married twice and neither of her husbands knew - or even
suspected - that she had been born a boy.
Anna does not want her friends to marry
Now Anna has
decided to share her amazing secret with The Daily
"I want people to
know that the successful transsexual stories are the
ones you never hear about," Anna, from Cleethorpes,
It is estimated
there are 5,000 transsexual people in the UK, but Anna,
a senior government officer, is convinced there's
another 3,000 who prefer to keep their secret.
"You could be sat
next to us on a bus or in a bar and you'd never know our
past," says Anna. "We just blend in and live our lives
like anyone else.
"I've lived two
thirds of my life as a woman and I never wonder what
would it have been like if I'd been born a girl because
it wouldn't have felt any different.
"I didn't need the
operation to feel like a girl because I already felt
like one. I had the operation so I could have sex like
As a boy
Anna was born in
nearby Grimsby, and from the beginning doctors knew
there was something wrong.
"I was what is
known as 'intersexed'," she says. "Genetically, I was
male but my genitalia was very small and only one
testicle had descended."
Doctors advised her
parents not to register her birth or sex straight away,
but to wait and see how she developed and to pick a name
such as Robin that works for a boy or girl.
But Anna was a
first child and her father wanted a boy.
"Within a week he
registered my birth with a very masculine name," she
says. "When I was four, I was playing with two other
little girls and they looked at my tiny penis and asked
why they hadn't got one.
"It never occurred
to me that I was a boy. I just wondered why I had
something extra. I had sessions with a child
psychologist and my parents were told to bring me up
neutrally. My mother tried, but my dad would slap me if
he caught me playing with dolls.
"My mother says
that if it had been up to her she would have banged on
every door to let me become a girl, but my dad wouldn't
stand for it."
Anna ran away from
home several times until, aged eight, she went to live
with her grandparents who were prepared to bring her up
as a girl.
"I missed my mum
terribly, but I didn't miss the arguments over me. She
would visit every week, but I had no contact with my
father or younger brothers and sisters."
She was still going
to school in Grimsby and dressing as a boy but when she
was 11, she started at a new school in Cleethorpes where
the headmaster was very sympathetic and agreed to let
her register as a girl.
"For the first time
no one was laughing at me. From being very withdrawn, I
became very bubbly and outgoing.
"The only allowance
they made was that I had to change in a separate cubicle
for games and use the teachers' toilets. The school was
afraid of another girl seeing something they
"I got very
depressed when the other girls started wearing bras. My
own doctor wouldn't prescribe hormones for me at 13, so
my grandmother took me to Amsterdam to find a doctor who
"Within a few
months I'd grown very small breasts. Doctors agreed that
I should have had gender reassignment surgery when I was
younger but now that I was an adolescent, I would have
to wait until I was 18."
When Anna got a
Saturday job and needed a National Insurance number her
school wrote a letter confirming that she was living as
a girl, and all her official documents since then - her
passport and driving licence - show her as a woman.
1: Anna met Paolo at university. They'd been married for
13 years when he died
Just three days
after her 18th birthday, Anna underwent gender
"It would cost
£3,000 if I just wanted everything removing, a good
cosmetic appearance and a vagina. Or it was £4,000 if I
wanted more depth and my small penis to be repositioned
and trimmed so I could have orgasms. I paid the extra
"I was in hospital
for three weeks and two weeks after I came out, I was
ready for a test run. I went to a disco with the sole
intention of picking up a man for sex.
"I looked for one
who was trendy and attractive. I didn't want a virgin or
someone who'd be glad of anything he could get!
WHEN I'd found the
perfect guy, he took me home and wanted to light candles
but I made him do it with all the lights on.
"I had to make sure
that it not only felt OK but looked OK. I have a faint
scar on my tummy and I've been told it would take a
gynaecologist to tell the difference, but I had to find
asked for my phone number but I gave him a false one
because he was just an experiment. I had a few more
experiments after that and remember being complimented
on my wonderful muscle control."
She met Paolo, her
first husband at university. "He was Italian and very
good looking. When we eventually started seeing each
other I tried to tell him before we slept together.
"I asked him how
important children were to him because I was sterile. If
he wanted a family there was no point to our
"He said I was more
important to him than children and we could always
adopt. But I told him I'd need a brain transplant to do
that because I'm not at all maternal.
"He said he still
loved me and when we finally made love, I thought I was
going to hit the ceiling. He was very experienced, very
romantic - and very sexy.
"So I told him I'd
had a genetic problem when I was younger and had had an
operation to correct it.
"He said, 'These
are childhood things. Why do we need to talk about it
now?' I thought he'd understood what I was trying to
2: She bumped into teacher Steve in a car park. They
separated after five years
Using her passport
to confirm her identity, Anna never realised that her
marriage to Paolo wasn't lawful because, according to
her birth certificate she was still, officially, a
"Because I was born
intersexed I could have had my birth certificate
amended, but I never bothered.
"We were married
for 13 years and it was a very happy, very normal
"We had a wonderful
sex life and we both loved sport, travelling and the
outdoors. When he died of cancer I was devastated."
After Paolo's death
she had a two-year relationship before she literally
bumped into the man who became her second husband. Steve
was a teacher and she reversed into his car in a
supermarket car park.
"We were married
for five years and although this time I knew the
marriage wasn't lawful, I kept quiet.
"It never crossed
my mind to tell Steve - what purpose would it
Anna and Steve are
now separated and nine months ago she met a new man,
Mark, in an art gallery in London.
"He lives in the
States so we've only seen each other three times but we
speak every day on the phone.
"Mark told me a lot
of personal details about himself and one night on the
phone I decided to tell him I had been born a boy.
"He just replied,
'That must have been awful for you.'
"The next time I
saw him he was overly caring which really got on my
nerves. He kept asking me if I was really enjoying sex .
Was he doing it right? I hated all that concern.
"That's why I
haven't told anyone else until now and why I'm wearing a
wig in these photos to hide my long, dark hair so my
colleagues still won't recognise me.
"I wouldn't lose
any friends if they knew the truth, but I don't want
their concern. I don't want people saying, 'Well, you
could never tell.'
"That's why I worry
for Big Brother's Nadia and hope she doesn't regret
"She wants to be
accepted as a woman - but I hope for her sake she isn't
just accepted as a very good transsexual."
-All names have
been changed to protect the identity of Anna's husbands
and their families.