For as long as she can remember, Alisha Cacace, 37, of Basingstoke, has felt she was born in the wrong body. Having grown up in a Catholic family, Alisha eventually decided to enter priesthood as an adult.
But after six years of struggling with her identity, Alisha, who was born biologically male, came out as transgender and left the clergy.
She has now been on Hormone Replacement Therapy for a year and says she has never been happier.
Alisha told Barcroft TV: “Once you face that fear, and do it, you feel a lot better in yourself. “The best thing I’ve ever done was change over, I don't think I could ever kind of go back.”
Alisha’s upbringing was a difficult one, claiming she befriended the wrong crowds as well as having problems at home. “Being brought up in a dysfunctional family is very difficult, I was always very shy and kind of hiding away,” she said.
As Alisha thought she had found peace in God and religion, she finally decided to become a priest. She continued: “God calls you and you like and love it, and you then experience it, you look more into it, deeper into it. “The deeper you look the more prayer you do, the better you feel. My whole life was devoted to the church.”
But Alisha never felt right in her own body and eventually found the courage to embrace her true self. She ultimately realised that something had to change when she visited an LGBT bar with a friend and saw how happy the people were there.
“I knew I was a female trapped in a male’s body from a very young age, I was just pushing it to one side,” she said. “Seeing others happy was great and that really set a spark off in my mind.”
At first, Alisha was terrified of leaving her house in female clothes, but the local trans community in Basingstoke have since given her the all-important support she needed throughout her transition.
Alisha cherishes her past time as a priest and has even held onto the priest robes she used to wear – but she’s quick to admit that she has also completely left that part of her story behind now. She said: “I'm kind of out of that frame of mind of being a clergy member and into the frame of mind of being a transgender girl and focusing on the new life.”
But the trans woman has held on to her vocation, as she is still attached to her faith and regularly practices the Catholic religion. “I've still got God's support, definitely still have God's support. I can feel that,”
Alisha added. “I'm at that point in my life where this is my life. This is how I want to lead it. “Go out and be happy.”