A TRANSSEXUAL believes she has been the victim of a hate crime after being attacked by a gang.

Miranda Lee, whose story about her sex change and battle for breast surgery has featured in the Echo and national press, was on her way home from a friend’s house in Southend, when she was pushed off her mobility scooter and punched in the stomach.

She said: “I was assaulted by five lads. They said ‘there’s that tranny freak from the papers’. They bashed up my mobility scooter and gave me a few quick digs.”

Miss Lee, 40, from Southend, said she uses the scooter to get about, after gender change surgery in 2009 left her with nerve damage around her groin, making it difficult to walk more than a few yards without being in agony.

The group ran off from the scene in Rochford Road when someone disturbed them.

She said: “I had to limp home, but I rely on the scooter so I’m stuck indoors now, as I can’t use it.”

Miss Lee, formerly Raymond Harwood, had a partial sex change at Charing Cross Hospital, London. However, she was then told there was no money available for a breast augmentation, needed to complete her transformation.

The Echo reported on Friday, December 31, that Miss Lee had won a fight to have the implants paid for by the NHS. she will have a consultation at Broomfield Hospital, Chelms-ford, later this month.

The story was covered by the Daily Mail on January 1, and she claims the article led to the attack.

She said: “I don’t blame the Echo as the picture used did not show my face, but I thought the national article would blur my face.”

Miss Lee said she suffers severe gender dysphoria – the condition which describes the feeling of being trapped in the body of the wrong sex. She has been on anti-depressants for a year.

She said: “People just don’t understand, it is an illness and it is a serious issue.

“I want to make people aware of how serious this issue is, but I just want people to leave me alone.”

An Essex Police spokeswoman confirmed a woman in her forties was assaulted between 6pm and 7pm, in Rochford Road, on January 2.

No arrests have been made. She said: “If the victim perceives it to be a hate crime that is how we will treat it.”