Retired Chinese Communist Party official Qian Jinfan, 84, is believed to be the oldest person in the country to live openly as a transsexual.
As a young person, she made peace with the fact she was born with a man's body and even married a woman 25 years her junior when she was 54.
Qian said: "It was only when I was 60 that I began experimenting with hormone creams and I found the confidence to start dressing as a woman in public."
Although she longs to receive a full sex-change operation, Qian said she would not consider getting one until it could guarantee her a 100 per cent female body.
About 2,000 people in China have undergone sex-change surgery and up to 400,000 could be considering one, according to a report in 2009 by state newspaper China Daily.
China's first sex-change surgery took place nearly 30 years ago in Beijing in 1983.