Now Lucinda Ferguson, of Langlee, Galashiels, is awaiting a sex change operation on the National Health Service.
Despite being an open cross-dresser throughout her first marriage, the 45-year-old former industrial roofer, originally from Fort William, revealed she only began living as a woman when she moved to the Borders to start a new life around a decade ago.
However, Lucinda, who is now divorced from her second wife and studying graphic art at Borders College, claimed she has been shocked by the level of abuse she has received from both men and women of all ages since setting up home in the region.
She has accused them of discrimination tantamount to racism and has called for greater respect and understanding of transgender and gender non conforming people amid fears that the bigots could force them out.
Speaking to the Border Telegraph in an effort to raise awareness of transgender identity this week, Lucinda, previously known as Fergus, said: “I get so much hassle I sometimes have to think twice about going out because I don’t feel safe.
“I think most people accept the fact that it’s not right to discriminate against coloured people or people with a disability but the same can’t be said of transgender people. It is actually very shocking to see the way people behave – shouting and being abusive. It happened in college and happens when I walk around the town but it only ever happened when I’m on my own. It can be very annoying.
“I would say generally I get a lot of abuse from young people who don’t know any better but there have been occasions when I have been abused by people my own age. They try to humiliate me, and it seems to come naturally to them. Quite a common reaction is hysterical laughter. I also get people who say: ‘That’s a man’. And ‘that’ means I’m a thing.”