'Life in the wrong body put me in a dark place - now I can help others through Pride'

Lee David Carter, from Clacton, was born Lisa. He came out after a long battle with gender dysphoria

Lee David Carter, from Clacton, was born Lisa. He came out after a long battle with gender dysphoria and began transitioning at the age of 42. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

An actor who battled gender dysphoria for four decades hopes to inspire others in his seaside hometown as he joins the committee of its first-ever Pride festival. 

Lee David Carter, who was born Lisa, struggled to reveal his true self for more than 40 years, which took a huge toll on his mental and physical health. 

The Clacton resident shared his life story with the world, detailing how he transitioned from a woman to a man aged 42, when he penned his first book Living With Lisa in 2017.

Mr Carter is due to star in Final Score, which is out on September 7 Picture: GREGG BROWN

Lee battled gender dysphoria for four decades - Credit: Gregg Brown

Now the professional actor, who underwent three gruelling operations and battled severe mental health issues, hopes to inspire people closer to home with a new role organising this year’s inaugural Clacton Pride event.

“I felt very strongly about being an advocate for this event," he said. 

"I thought, with my experience and going through what I did, I can help.

“I’ve been through so much and through my work with people in the LGBTQ+ community, people are talking to me about issues with their children even, how they are getting bullied at school just because they are gay.

“The gender binary system now is so vast and it’s a complex issue.

Lee David Carter, from Clacton, as a child

Lee David Carter, from Clacton, as a child - Credit: Gregg Brown

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He added: “I’m looking at this and thinking: ‘How can we stop this?’ 

"I want to educate people, I want to be nice about it, but in a professional way based on what I’ve been through.” 

Complete with tribute bands, stalls, meet and greets and a craft fair, Mr Carter says the town’s first in-person Pride event on August 21 is being supported by organisations such as Essex Police, and aims to celebrate diversity.

A larger-scale celebration is set to take place in 2022 when organisers hope Covid-19 restrictions will be a thing of the past.

Mr Carter previously told this newspaper how he knew he was “living in completely the wrong body”.

Mr Carter when he was younger Picture: SUPPLIED BY LEE CARTER/GREGG BROWN

Mr Carter when he was younger Picture: SUPPLIED BY LEE CARTER/GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

“I was in a really dark place,” he said. “In my time it was never accepted and although I knew I wanted to be a man there was barely any advice out there.

“I began taking hormones and started the process, had my womb removed and had several other operations done.

“I identified as a man and never really looked at men except in a friendly way.

He added: “Changing has made me such a different person and lifted me, I saw the proverbial light.”

Lee David Carter, from Clacton, was born Lisa.
He came out after a long battle with gender dysphori

Lee David Carter, from Clacton, was born Lisa. He came out after a long battle with gender dysphoria and began transitioning at the age of 42. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Since Living with Lisa was released in 2017, the actor has starred in various documentaries, including one produced by Amazon Prime, and international film Final Score.

Visit Clacton Pride’s website for more details about the August 21 celebration.

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