Rocky Horror Show writer Richard O'Brien has said he is now 30% woman after taking female hormone estrogen for 10 years.
He says he has long struggled with transgender feelings but did not act on them until later in life. His brother’s reaction to hearing O’Brien, at six-and-a-half years old, wanting to be a ‘fairy princess’ caused him to shut down and ignore his feelings for 50 years.
Speaking to the BBC, O’Brien said ‘you can’t just put the lid on things and pretend they don’t exist’ and began to take estrogen a decade ago.
‘It takes the edge off the masculine, testosterone-driven side of me and I like that very much. I think I've become a nicer person in some ways, slightly softer. For the first time in my life, I've started to put on a little bit of weight, which I like.’
Whilst he is happy with the results O’Brien says he won’t be undergoing sex reassignment surgery: ‘I don’t want to pretend to be something that I’m not.’
And he was pleased to be described as ‘third sex’ by actor Anton Rodgers.
O’Brien said: ‘It's my belief that we are on a continuum between male and female. There are people who are hardwired male and there are people who are hardwired female, but most of us are on that continuum and I believe myself probably to be about 70% male, 30% female.'
Research by Cambridge University Psychology professor Melissa Hines backs up O’Brien’s gender identity theory.
She said: ‘There's a range of gender, and there are many dimensions of gender and an individual person can be in a different position in terms of how masculine or feminine they are on each of these dimensions.'
Professor Dinesh Bhugra, of the institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, warns: ‘The distinction has to be made between gender and sex. Gender is very much a social construct, sex is biological.’
O’Brien shook up sexual attitudes in the 70s, creating hit musical The Rocky Horror Show with the song Sweet Transvestite and iconic mad scientist Dr Frank N Furter.