65 year-old trans Irish farmer Erica showered with praise by Liveline listeners for her story of transitioning late in life

The brave lady received tons of support after sharing her story with the listeners of Joe Duffy's RTÉ Radio 1 show.

A woman with long hair covering her face in a field at sunset

There has been a wonderful outpouring of support for Erica Coates – a 65 year-old Irish farmer who shared her story of transitioning later in life. Erica shared with Joe Duffy and his RTÉ Radio One show, Liveline, listeners about how she feels she has been released from solitary confinement since ‘coming out’ as trans woman.

Erica shared, “All my life, even from a child, I knew there was something different about me… Never knew anything about transgender, I knew I wasn’t gay.” Then 15 years ago, Erica saw a trans person being interviewed on The Late Late Show and things finally made sense to her. “That ticked my boxes,” she shared. “I said, ‘that’s what I am.'”

Coming from a rural area and running the family farm alongside a very conservative father, Erica kept her realisation quiet, unsure of how it would be received. “I kept it to myself for years and years. It wasn’t easy,” Erica explained. “Told nobody. Felt bad in myself for a long time.”

Erica’s father sadly passed away, yet she was still living in silence. Then she shared an event that took place last year which changed everything.

“I was in Cork one day and I decided to go over to the Debenhams. I wanted to get some makeup. There was a very nice girl who kept talking to me from the Lancome counter. 

“I said I was interested in a bit of makeup, and she said ‘A lot of men are doing it now’. And it just came out of me that I was actually transgender and thinking of coming out. And she was so nice and honest and genuine to me.

“It just came out. She was the first person in the world I said it to.”

When Joe asked her how it felt after all the years building up to that moment, she described, “My mind was in solitary confinement, sent in for life, and the sentence came off and the gates were opened that day.

“I wasn’t going back, that was it.”

Erica explained how her life has changed since that moment, “I’m dressing female now, jewelry and everything. I get my nails done. Changed my name and drivers licence…The old me is left behind.” 

“A lot of people now have said to me, from the time I came out and crossed that bridge, ‘you’ve totally changed completely, you’re always looking so happy now, before you didn’t… you’re completely different.'”

“It just feels so right now, I don’t know why it is, but it does.”

Callers to the show praised Erica for her courage, and the outpouring on social media has been heartening. Another trans lady, named Rebecca, then called Liveline with her own story, as did a mother whose daughter was making her own transition. Listeners complimented the show as a great opportunity to share positivity at a time when transphobic content is far too prevalent on social media.

To listen to the full Liveline episode, you can follow the link here.

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