Lea T was born Leandro Cerezo and grew up in Italy, the son of international soccer star Toninho Cerezo and a religious Catholic mother. All through childhood, Leo questioned his sexuality and identity. "I wish I could accept my body like men. It would be much easier for me if I could be a straight guy and have a girlfriend, family and daughters, married, all this normal life. But it's something in your brain," Lea T says. "Born in the wrong body."

While she was growing up as a boy, Lea T says she had a feminine bearing and long hair. Though some people may have thought Leo was gay, Lea T knew the truth. "I was hoping I was gay," she says. "Because, for my family, it would be less painful. And then I could ... have a normal life."

Lea T says she realized she felt more comfortable living as a woman than a man while on a vacation about five years ago. After spending an entire month with a group of female friends, Lea T says one of them told her: "'We treat you like a girl, and everybody treats you like a girl. Maybe you should have to go to a doctor or something because we see you like a girlfriend. We don't see you like a guy.'"

Lea T says she was devastated to hear this. "At that point I cried a lot. For three days I was closed in my house," she says. "But that was the point I made this decision."


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