A New Zealand transgender woman has revealed how she transitioned from a boy to a girl.
Auckland resident Lea Membrey, 20, suddenly realized at age 18 that she "didn't have to be a boy anymore," reports the Daily Mail.
Membrey explained that it took 18 years to "learn how to be a girl."
She had "never been happy being a guy," she said, especially after she hit puberty.
"It was the most disturbing time because I was growing into the wrong body," she explained. "I would do guy things even though I had no interest in them just because I wanted to fit in. Now I feel like I am who I was supposed to be -- the most amazing moment was when I got my breasts and I could show them off -- almost to prove to everyone that I was a woman. Before that even when I was on the female hormones I felt like I had something to prove. It was like look at this it is part of my body this is real."
She hadn't known gender reassignment was possible until she was 18 and met other transgender women.
"I met these beautiful women and didn't realize they were transgender and it was amazing," Membrey recalls. "They were so beautiful and looked like women, which is when I decided to go to the doctor to and tell them I wanted hormones -- I wanted to be a woman."
She continued: "I think growing up all I had seen in the media about transgender women made them look like drag queens or prostitutes -- not beautiful like these women were. It made me wonder why I was still living as a boy when I was miserable."
So far, her surgical transition from male to female has included only breast enhancement surgery and Botox injections in her lips.
"I guess I did everything at a good time, I have no Adam's apple so don't need to have that shaved," she said. "I want to concentrate on making my face a bit softer -- taking away some of the harsh lines -- it is more important for me to fix what everyone sees when I am outside before I change what's between my legs."
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) defines transgender as "a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth … For transgender people, the sex they were assigned at birth and their own internal gender identity do not match."