Here's the story as I know it - some first-hand and some gathered from other family members.
My mom and dad separated for a year when I was about 8 years old. I didn't know why. One day he sat all 6 of us kids down and told us he was leaving. We saw him a few times after that and then Mom moved us to a different state (where my dad's sister lived).
About a year later, Dad came back and stayed. Life went back to normal. Whenever I asked my older sister about why dad left, she said he was going through "an identity crisis." When I got older, I assumed he either had an affair or he was gay. I graduated high school, moved away and got married. Prompted by some marriage counseling, I finally asked my mom why they separated (they were still married at this time) and she told me Dad was TG. When they had separated, Dad had gone into transition and had planned on having the reassignment surgery but when he came back and saw us living in poverty, he felt he had to put his life on hold for the sake of raising us.
So . . . for several years I knew about this while Mom and Dad were still married and they still had children living at home. Eventually, Mom left Dad and met another man whom my brothers hated so they went to live with Dad. Dad felt he had to continue living as a man until my brothers got out of school. One night he got drunk and cut himself --- I think he tried to cut his penis off but he wouldn't specify what body part it was --- my brothers came home and he told them not to go in the bathroom because there was a lot of blood. My brothers called 911 and Dad went to the hospital.
He told the medical personnel that he was trying to cut off a wart. Fortunately, someone there understoof the real issue and got Dad some help. Finally, Dad began transitioning in his forties and had reassignment surgery several years later. She will be 70 this July.
We have a very strained relationship. Not because of TG issues directly but I do have questions about how someone can deny their core identity for so many years and NOT have it affect everyone around them. I mourn for the life my dad could have had if he'd been able to transition at a younger age. It makes me glad that there is so much more information available these days for TG people and that you don't have to feel so alone and isolated as my dad surely must have felt for so many years.
That's the basic story. I'm sorry if I mangled the pronouns. Care to share yours?