Gabriella, or gender nonconformity revealed

Q: How did you become aware you had a different sexual orientation or gender identity?

A: Well, it wasn’t that hard.

At three I walked past the gates of my nursery school for the first time and saw the girls and the boys. They looked so different to me, and I thought ‘Who am I going to play with now?’ I went back home and asked my grandmother for a doll (which would shortly afterwards become the first victim of innumerable and unforgiven doll kidnappings) to go and play with the girls – I was incredibly popular among them, a true Princess and heartbreaker.

When I was five I used to spend my days planning extravagant fashion shows using towels and scarves I would find at home. My favourite act was ‘the Bride’. Total white, très chic.

At six I would jump all around on the sitting room sofas twittering to the astonishment of casual guests: ‘Oh, please, call me Gabriella, Gabriella!’ An inexorable doll by my side – Maria, my Caribbean doll.

I was a tall, skinny boy with matchstick legs, pale, freckled skin and shiny black hair trimmed in a bowl haircut. But I liked my name that way, Gabriella.