Goodnight Auntie Gladrags. (In Memory Of Gladys Paterson Scotland’s Oldest Transwoman)

Hey everyone. Whilst attending my monthly transgender support group I was saddened to hear of the death of Scotland’s oldest transwoman Gladys Paterson who died a month ago as the result of a stroke in her home in the Stirlingshire village of Buchlyvie.

Gladys who made history becoming the oldest women ever to gender re assignment surgery at the age of 69 was and it has to be said a legendary figure within the trans community. Ask any transwoman in Scotland the name of the first transwoman they met and a significant number possibly even the majority will say Gladys Paterson

Approachable and articulate Gladys was famed for her wit warmth and wisdom though it can be claimed that there are a couple of attributes missing from that list namely diplomacy and political correctness. These were two things Gladys didn’t do and I think I liked her more because she didn’t. Make no mistake if you ever asked Gladys her opinion on any issue then her opinion however agreeable or disagreeable you found it would be exactly what you would get.

This was not someone who suffered fools gladly if indeed she suffered them at all. That said however Gladys was a kind women with a ready smile and a razor sharp wit who knew how to entertain a company. As a younger transwoman who was still living part time I was given many a confidence booster and when needed a kick up the backside by someone who I knew at all times had my back well and truly covered.

Being of a different generation I and many others used to call her auntie gladrags. This was a name she revelled in and would often play up to the image by teasing us mercilessly the way your auntie would. Now I try to help young transwoman whenever and wherever I can, as friends in England, Ireland, and The United States as well as Scotland will I am sure testify.

During her colourful life the woman I had come to know had in her pre transition days held high office in her local masonic lodge and this was to prove a source of controversy when after her sex change they refused to change the name on her degrees to that of what she had always known to be her true identity. To say she was somewhat less than pleased would I think be putting it mildly.

A popular figure in her local area I heard from a friend stays not too far from that she was irrepressible and that is certainly the Gladys Paterson I know. It was good to find out from this friend that when she went for her surgery the whole village was behind her. I know only too well how proud she was of her local area and it is I think comforting to know that they were equally proud of her.

When I heard the news of her death I was I have to say shocked and stunned. I don’t know why but I think it’s because you just expected her to go on forever which of course nobody does and her death is a painful reminder of that fact. It is I think safe to say that the Scottish trans community has lost a towering figure and a women who inspired many myself included to be the best we can be.

Goodnight Auntie Gladrags

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X


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