Trans conversion therapy survivor: ‘I was strapped to a chair and electrocuted’

On a spring afternoon in 1952, two young siblings stood on the front porch of their parents grocery shop in Preston, Lancashire. Four-year-old Carolyn Mercer convinced her little sister to swap clothes with her, trading shorts and a shirt for her sister’s school dress. Standing on those front steps, looking down at the dress on her body, Carolyn realised for the first time that she was a girl.Speaking to me now over Zoom from her holiday in Madeira, 74-year-old Carolyn recalls that afternoon 70 years ago, and that little confused Lancashire boy, with remarkable clarity.“At the time, of course, I had no idea what being trans was,” she tells me. “I just remember desperately wanting to be female. There wasn’t an internet in those days or even access to any information about being trans at all. It concerned me and horrified me; I had no idea what was going on.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting