Like Jenner, Levine had wives and kids before she decided to take the plunge in becoming a woman. And her reasons for transforming herself and her life are common among some of the older people interviewed for this article: information and other resources on transgender issues and medical interventions were not there when they came of age in a more conservative time.

“Most of us lived on islands because of the age,” she said about the isolation.

For every person who transitions, how much they transform is unique to each individual, said Andrea Bowen, 28, executive director of Garden State Equality, a New Jersey-based LGBT advocacy group.

“People understand themselves at different ages. Everybody’s process is really different,” said Bowen, who is a transgender woman and transitioned at the age of 25.

Some people go through the full suite of medical intervention while others are content to simply take hormones or none at all.