Essex Girl Becky is more widely known as Rebecca Shaw. Born in 1964, she has spent most of her adult life in Essex but originates from the North East. She graduated from the University Southampton with a law degree in 1986, read for the Bar in 1986/87 and spent much of the next 18 years working in the civil service until being made redundant in 2004. Thereafter she worked briefly in the National Health Service, in local government and in the hospitality industry in the East End of London before relocating to Leicestershire in 2011 where she continues to prove that you can take the girl out of Essex but you can’t take Essex out of the girl. Rebecca is now employed on a part-time basis by a local mental health advocacy charity.
Rebecca identifies as a transgender woman; she transitioned in 2003. In April 2010 she was elected co-chair of Rainbow Hamlets, the LGBT forum for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets where she campaigned actively for LGBT people and for greater community cohesion. In March 2011, with co-chair Jack Gilbert, she led community responses to a “gay free zone” literature campaign in the borough and in the summer she took a leading role in the protest against a planned demonstration in Tower Hamlets by the English Defence League, addressing a meeting of over 600 people at the London Muslim Centre. She was also part of the team which organised the first large scale Pride Event to take place in Tower Hamlets since 1995. In Leicestershire Rebecca has continued to work for equality and social justice both as a volunteer project manager at the Leicester LGBT Centre and, more widely, as Chair of Leicestershire County Council’s ‘Leicestershire Together Equality Challenge’.
Rebecca (or Becks to her friends) has never knowingly danced round a handbag and does not own a pair of white stilletoes. She does however support Manchester United, and is proud to claim that she has been to Old Trafford and can pinpoint Manchester on a map. Among her hobbies she lists wine, eating out and rock music. Rebecca is not in a relationship but is devoted to her cat Moses, whose picture appears on these pages.
Diary of a Reluctant Transgender Activist is Rebecca’s first attempt at blogging. She will be using these pages to comment on LGBT issues and on other subjects of interest to her. The views she expresses on these pages are her own and are not to be held out as the views of any of the organisations with which she is currently, or ever has been, associated.