Leo decided to embrace the truth in 2008 and started the process of sex reassignment. Leo began living as Lea T and started hormone replacement therapy. "It's really difficult because you fight with all the world. You fight with your family. You fight with yourself too," Lea T says. "You have to change everything in yourself."

After making the decision to change her gender, Lea T realized she had to tell her parents. "Everybody was thinking it would be a big shock, but actually, my father surprised me because [he] took it so naturally," she says. "He was like, 'If you're a boy, if you're a woman, if you want to be a dog, whatever you want to be, I'm going to love you for what you are.'”

Lea T says she recently participated in a fashion show in Brazil, and her father attended. "He saw me in the show," she says. "And he said, 'Now I can die happy because I'm so proud of her.'"

Lea T says her mother has had a harder time accepting the change from Leandro to Lea T. "Everybody thinks a mother accepts more, but she comes from a really religious family, a real Catholic family," Lea T says. "For her it was a fight with her religion. But she's always next to me and she accepts me very well."


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