Irish author A. V. Perry has opened her heart and bared her soul on the struggle of growing up in the wrong body in a small, backward town.
The 39-year-old, who lives in Ireland, has written a powerful new biography series with the first book currently on release — “Confessions of a Nobody: Mistreated” — which charts her life both before, during and after her gender therapy and reassignment operation.
The book unveils important issues such as gender identity, religious morals, child abuse, corporal punishment, parental neglect and bullying; while also giving a very personal insight into living through these controversial experiences. However, the focus remains on positivity and what can be achieved when you turn your life around.
The motivation to write her books came from a song by Tracy Chapman called Tell it like it is. The books subtitles were inspired by a song from the artist P!nk entitled Perfect; Mistreated, Misplaced and Misunderstood in the quest to be Ms Perry.
Born in a male body that lacked an Adam’s-apple Alicia was christened with a boys’ name. From birth she always identified herself as a little girl and at the early age of six was confused by the boundaries of what was allowed by her parents. She loved playing with dolls and the girls so when her mother made her play with an action man, she knitted him a cardigan!
The years that followed this were cursed with diverse trauma that knew no boundaries but life became much harder as Alicia reached the age of eighteen. She knew in her heart that she was not a ‘boy’ like all the other boys. She was depressed, lonely and felt like life was simply not worth living as someone she didn’t recognise when she looked in the mirror. The pressures of trying to conform and the constant hopelessness steered her to self-harm often and she attempted suicide just before her 19th Birthday.
This led to an encounter with a Psychiatrist and she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. She states ‘when I discussed my gender-identity issues with them they became increasingly frustrated and told me I was either gay or not gay; there was no in between. So I felt I had a choice to make a choice.’ After this she seemed to be ushered towards discharge and a move to the city of Belfast to live independently.
Arriving on Belfast’s gay scene was a positive step for Alicia as for the first time in her life she was free to dress femininely, date boys and live a life that she never thought imaginable but it wasn’t enough. She felt safe on the gay scene and expressed herself in the clothes she wore, the home she decorated and her personality but she still felt as though she didn’t fit in there either; there was still something missing from her life. Alicia was starting to recognise that she was indeed a woman and always had been however she was worried that her new found friends would judge her harshly. Feeling ashamed, confused and lost she turned to self-harm once again to cope with her private pain.
Some years later an article in a Sunday tabloid newspaper as to change everything forever. Alicia had no idea that lifting a Sunday newspaper was about to save her from herself and birth a whole new life. A new TV show being made for the BBC called The Last Resort starring a line-up of experts including life coach Gillian Killen. The series which selected six people from around the country was to offer a new approach to assist those, who felt they couldn’t be helped, find a new path in their life. Alicia states ‘the whole team were great but in a session with Gillian Killen suddenly everything made sense in my head. Immediately after the show aired I was on a mission. No more was I going to live a life that pleased everyone else, it was time for me to live as me; as God intended me to be.’
Following certain personal revelations that were broadcast in the 10-part series she turned down work, chose to step away from the limelight and concentrate on her gender identity. She also knew that she had to face past events of significant suffering so during the process she began to write her book as an outlet of personal therapy. After receiving overwhelming support and encouragement from her consultant she decided to self-publish her series with the release of the first book ‘Mistreated.’
It took a lot of guts and courage but she began living publicly as the woman she is in September 2011. She changed her name legally by deed-poll and began hormone treatment. Sixteen months later she travelled alone to Brighton, England to have her gender reassignment surgery. She informed us that ‘to date that was the best day of my life and I have never looked back. I’m so pleased to announce that I’ve never been happier and am now on a mission to be a yummy mummy!’
Since releasing her first book she says ‘I have been overwhelmed with the sincere and genuine support I have received from everyone and especially the LGBT community. I have even been moved to tears at times as the human spirit is such a remarkable thing! My wonderful friend Anthony Millar wrote a very positive piece on my book, which was featured in The Sunday Life tabloid. The awesome Vinny Hurrell interviewed me as part of his show #The Clinic on Blast 106 Radio, both of which can be found on my twitter and facebook page.’
Alicia has a few media projects in the pipeline and has been networking on an international scale. She told us ‘I have been receiving beautiful messages of support from as far as USA, Canada and Australia so huge thanks to everyone who has been supporting me and following my journey; without them I couldn’t do the positive work that I am thoroughly enjoying right now.’
She was nominated for a global Shorty Award in the Author category with the awards ceremony taking place in New York City in April and beamed live to a global audience. She told us ‘I finished 6th place in the international public vote out of hundreds in my category. The top 3 are selected for the ceremony with one more wildcard place to be announced in March so I’m hopeful I’m still in with a chance. Whatever happens I am so humbled and proud of coming 6th place.’
Confessions Of A Nobody ‘Mistreated’ is available on