By the time she was nine, Isabelle was the only child in a small, heavily-populated town in the northeastern French province of Flanders.
Her father, a businessman, and mother, a retired teacher, were both employed.
Her parents had a small plot of land, where Isabelle and her younger sister would play on the weekends and hunt ducks.
She and her siblings spent most of their time at home, playing with their toys and riding bicycles.
She was not allowed to go out at school.
“I was always thinking, What if I was a girl?” she said.
“I would play outside, I would go to the park, I went to a park every day.
I always wanted to be a girl.”
In her teens, Isabelles shyly asked her mother for permission to wear makeup.
But her parents refused, and she continued to dress as a boy.
Her mother eventually left her.
In her late teens, she started dressing as a girl, and began wearing makeup in public.
“That’s when I started to get bullied,” Isabelle recalled.
“People would be walking by and they would see me wearing makeup, and they’d call me names, so I stopped.
But I always did that because it was my way of showing my true self.
I never liked being bullied.”
After graduating from school in 2005, Isabel, who was 16 at the time, joined the army and spent two years in Germany, before she was sent back to Flanders to live with her grandparents.
She attended a local middle school and graduated in 2008.
In 2012, when she was 18, Isabel was working as a nurse in a public hospital, and had a job offer from a French cosmetics company.
She chose to return to Flemish society and started working for the company.
After completing her training, she went on to work for a cosmetics company as a makeup artist, a position she held until 2017.
“It was quite hard because I had to work really hard, and I was not happy with the way I was treated,” she said, adding that she often had to do extra tasks because of her disability.
She said she had difficulties fitting into her male colleagues, who had their own opinions on her appearance and gender.
“They didn’t understand my feelings,” she told the Reuters news agency.
“One of my colleagues told me that my skin is too red,” she added.
“He said that I’m too masculine.”
For Isabelle, makeup is a “discipline” to which she is unable to adhere.
“When I was young, I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do,” she recalled.
She said that she always felt that she had to conform to society, because the people around her did not see her as a female.
“For me, it was very hard, I was afraid of being judged, of being discriminated against,” she explained.
“That’s why I went into this job, because I wanted the chance to be able to be myself.”
A year after her first job, Isabel decided to move back to her hometown of Flemings.
Her sister and mother did not want to live there anymore.
“It’s a very difficult situation,” she admitted.
“Because my father is a very strong man, he has made sure that I was educated.
I think that my parents understand that I am disabled.”
As a teenager, Isabel tried to find a way to express herself without feeling rejected or being ridiculed.
“My parents were supportive, but they also told me I would never be accepted in society,” she lamented.
She explained that she felt shame when she began to wear make-up to hide her disability, and it took her some time to accept that she was not normal.””
But people do not understand that people with disabilities are not necessarily beautiful.”
She explained that she felt shame when she began to wear make-up to hide her disability, and it took her some time to accept that she was not normal.
“A year ago, I made a change, and now I am happy, I am a little more independent,” she noted.
“The beauty of this is that I can live without being judged by others.”
However, Isabel has not always been successful.
When she was 13, she was sexually assaulted and raped by a man while she was walking to school.
Isabel has said that the incident was a shock to her, but she has since recovered and is now a better person for it.
“My parents understand me now, and that’s because they saw the impact of my story,” she continued.
As for her mother, Isabel said she never spoke about her daughter’s sexual assault with her parents. “
For me now it’s OK to live my life as a woman.”
As for her mother, Isabel said she never spoke about her daughter’s sexual assault with her parents.
“She didn’t want to know,” she remarked