Eighty one-year-old woman becomes oldest person in Britain to undergo gender reassignment surgery

Ruth Rose became oldest person in UK to have reassignment surgery in 2014 and after years she is living the life she wanted.

                            Eighty one-year-old woman becomes oldest person in Britain to undergo gender reassignment surgery
(Source:Getty Images)

Ruth Rose, a transgender grandmother became the oldest woman in Britain to have gender reassignment surgery at the age of 81. Ruth, who is now 85, underwent the complex male-to-female operation four years ago after spending decades knowing that she was inside the wrong body.

Born James, a former RAF navigator, mechanical engineer and financial consultant, Ruth said that she knew she was female at the age of nine. However, she thought that if she let the world know that, her feelings would be regarded as a 'sexual aberration', she decided to marry a woman and they went on to have three children. In 2003, she divorced her wife and seven years later, she began living as a woman. 

However, it wasn't until she turned 81 that she decided to make the big decision of getting a male to female reassignment surgery done. Ruth, now a grandmother of four, spoke about her experience after undergoing gender reassignment surgery in 2014. "It was absolute euphoria," she said. "It wouldn’t have mattered if it was all the pain in the world, it would still be euphoria." Ruth revealed that she waited for so long to have the surgery because she feared it would be classed as a 'sexual aberration'.

Appearing on 'This Morning' show, Ruth explained that after nearly 70 years, it was her doctor who encouraged her to take the next step. "I think it was very enlightened [of the doctor], I had never imagined it was worth asking," as reported by Daily Mail. "I suddenly found that it gave me plenty of years to live and made it worthwhile to have done it." Her treatments and operation cost her £4,000. 

The grandmother of four, born James in Hertfordshire in May 1933, was a wartime evacuee and educated at Gresham’s public school in Norfolk. Then as an RAF engineer, Ruth went on to marry her wife in 1961. The pair stayed together for 42 years, even when her secret was found out in 1973. They amicably divorced in 2003. However, Ruth stated that it was a difficult time when her wife discovered her secret. 

However, she chose to remain with him for the sake of their three children. "She was so forbearing and really was understanding enough to keep things going nicely and give me just that little bit of freedom so I could visit friends and be Ruth," she recalled. "She was very tolerant and I'm very pleased that she was." Ruth successfully overcame bladder cancer and at the age of 76 she also successfully battled pericarditis. 

This spurred her on to live her life as a woman. Now, her advice to other senior citizens is of perseverance. "It is never too late, but it is not an easy thing to do. It is not as if you pop into the hospital and come out a different person," she said. "You've got to really understand yourself and clean up your life as best you can as a male or a female if you're changing the other way. There are lots of challenges you have to meet, you have to bravely face those challenges and meet them because if you don’t you're going to live a life that has little places that you can't go and can't do. You have to embrace the whole thing properly."