Bradley Cooper started dressing as a girl when he was just 13 - now he lives as Ria and is waiting to have a sex swap op on the NHS
“I’ve always wished I was a girl like my sisters and loved trying on their clothes from when I was just six."
He’s only 15, but shockingly Bradley Cooper is set to become one of the UK’s youngest transgender patients – and is already on an NHS waiting list for sex change surgery.
He’s been dressing as a girl since he was 13, has changed his name to Ria and hopes to start hormone injections next month to make him more feminine.
“I’m young, but I know what I want,” says Ria. “I’ve always wished I was a girl like my sisters and loved trying on their clothes from when I was just six.
“I hate the fact I was born in a boy’s body. I feel disgusting and uncomfortable and I know I’ll feel happier as a girl.”
Incredibly, mum Elaine, 40, supports Ria’s decision.
Bradley’s parents split up when he was three and his bodybuilder dad Bjorn, 41, moved out, leaving him with his mum and three sisters, Claire, now 24, Katy, 21, and Sophie, 18.
“I bought him Action Man dolls, but he wanted to play with his sisters’ Barbies – he’d even steal my lipstick,” recalls full-time mum Elaine, 40, from Hull. “By the time he was nine I started to wonder whether he was gay. I worried he’d get picked on.”
At primary school, Bradley’s friends were girls. If they played fancy dress, he’d always opt for frilly dresses and pretty shoes, even at the age of 10.
“I can’t recall ever feeling like a boy or it feeling right wearing boys’ clothes,” says Ria.
“I bought a curly brown wig, then put on hot pants, a silver top and heels. I was terrified people would stare, but no one did. It was the best time of my life.”
Aged 13, Bradley plucked up the courage to go out in public dressed as a girl for the first time with his cousin Stacy.
“I’d confided in Stacy, so we painted our nails and she helped me pluck my eyebrows,” says Ria. “I bought a curly brown wig, then put on hot pants, a silver top and heels. I was terrified people would stare, but no one did. It was the best time of my life.”
Then, a year ago, he started seriously considering a sex change. When he talked to his mum, she begged him not to rush into anything but agreed to let him change his name to Ria and start dressing as a girl full-time.
Now, Ria has hair extensions, shaves her legs and often wears fake nails. She loves dresses and wears a D-cup padded bra to give the impression of having breasts.
And after consulting a GP, Ria is ready to start the physical change to become a woman.
Her mum explains: “I can see this is what Ria’s been crying out for her whole life. She’s so much happier living as a girl. It’s going to be emotionally and physically hard, but it’s harder living as something that she doesn’t want to be, so I’ll support her, no matter what.