Monday, 29 August 2011
I have been quite busy over the past month and whnever I have been at home it has been wet, so my (largeish) lawns have not been cut for several weeks. Yesterday (Bank Holiday Monday) it was dry and I was at home, so it was the opportunity to give the grassthe cut it needed.
For tasks like this I have kept some of my male jeans and jumpers back during the great clear out of a month ago. For a couple of months now, I have been wearing nothing but female clothing, which fits nicely, is stretchy where it needs to be and fitted where it can be to show my shape... Over my underwear I pulled on a T-shirt (I am close to a B-cup now) and then a male pair of jeans and a grey jumper.
How shapeless and baggy and sloppy they looked! I stood looking in the mirror - it was really strange. These were clothes that only a few weeks ago would have been totally normal for me to wear. Now they seem totally wrong! I did wear them for the work, but it felt like being swathed in far too much material. As soon as I was done I pulled off the jumper and changed to a nicely-fitting pair of straight leg female jeans. Not skin-tight by any means but I had my shape back.
I love being a woman and having my womanly curves, even if they are still developing. I'd love to be wearing more fitted trousers (when I have wear trousers) but there is still that annoying bulge to ruin the impression......but only for another 14 months or so.
Robin Moira White
Friday, 26 August 2011
The week before last was a gentle re-introduction to the legal world, answering e-mails (including lots offering lovely support to my re-appearance) and some gentle paperwork.
This week I have been back in the Employment Tribunal in female form, In central London on Tuesday and Southampton on Thursday. Clients, solicitors, staff, the oppiosing barristers and Judges have all been lovely, plainly making an effort to call me 'Ms' or 'Miss' White, which is wonderful to hear but still sounds distinctly odd. I wonder how long it will take to get used to it? I have felt comepletely comfortable presenting as female, the 7 weeks or so that I have been doing that full time have helped in relaxing me with my female presentation. I even had the confidence to wear a purple Hobbs dress with a black jacket, rather than an all-black outfit. And I even managed to win all points decided in the first case (which will be finished off later in the year) and a hand-down victory in the second case, including getting costs against the untruthful claimant!
The other aspect of my normal life which I have gone back to in the past week is my volunteering as a (now lady) signal man on two of Britain's wonderful heritage staem railways. My denoument was at Swanage last Sunday, and then I did a day at Crowcombe on the West Somerset Railway (Taunton to Minehead) on Wednesday. Both are lovely locations and a great break from the trials and tribulations of court, doing something a bit physical but where thought and manual dexterity can help the train service along. In each case I wore the lovely new female uniform I have had tailored, although my waist is narrowing (good), so I had to stitch up the skirt waistband a little. One of the drivers called me 'dear' so I suppose that should be taken as acceptance. As usual, at Crowcombe, I had some public visit the very attractive 1930's signal box and if they thought I had a deep voice for a 'girle' they didn't let on.
I think that makes me the Swanage Railway's first female signal man, and only the third the West Somerset Railway have ever had, and to my knowledge, the only trans gender signal man on either railway. Both sets of management and volunteer collegues have been lovely, although I understand that my re-appearance in altered form has given folks a fair amount to talk about over tea in the mess rooms.
It is lovely to have two big parts of my life's jigsaw back in place.
Robin Moira White
Friday, 19 August 2011
It is just over a week since 'The Times' published an article about my transition by their chief law correspondent, Frances Gibb. I have had quite a number of e-mails congratulating me on my bravery (not really - just what had to be done), openness (yes, what a relief) and appearence (yep, I like it too, but a lot of that is down to Dr Bart van de Ven's skill). These have been lovely to get.
Even better, though, have been a small number of e-mails from other transgender folk in the legal world, more than I would have thought.
Best of all, was an e-mail from a legal executive in a provincial law firm who e-mailed me to say that they have been working towards transition for some time and are about 6 months away from needing to speak to their partner (= department manager, for you non-legal folk). The Legal Exec had been worrying about what the reaction would be and how to handle the meeting.
'The Times' article about me became the topic of discussion for the day in their department last Thursday and the partner expressed a number of very positive sentiments about what I had done. So the Legal Exec is now feeling rather happier about approaching the partner early next year. Lovely to have done some good, remotely.
I see also that I have had positive comment in a number of TG and legal discussion forums on the web.
I have also been asked to speak to several law firms on TG issues. In each case their employer clients have not had to handle a worker transitioning, but given time and numbers, it will come up before too long, and the employer (if sensible) will go to their law firm for advice. Now I get the opportunity to show that we TG folk still have the usual number of heads, still have a sense of humour, and treatment of us need not just be focussed on which toilet we should use....
On a more personal level, I volunteer on a couple of Britain's wonderful heritage steam railways and this Sunday will be my first day working a signal box in a skirt! I have had some women's railway uniform tailored based on that supplied to the ladies who kept Britain's railways running during World War 2 when the men were away fighting. Heritage railways are a bit of a male preserve, so it will be interesting to see what (if any) reaction there is....wish me well.
Robin Moira White
Saturday, 13 August 2011
The barriers between the different parts of my life can finally come down.
I am a barrister, specialising in employment law (including, appropriately enough, equality, diversity and discrimination) at Old Square Chambers in London. You can find me at
From Monday next (15 August 2011) I will be practising as 'Ms Robin Moira White'. I used to be 'Mr Robin Mark White', although I hardly ever used the 'Mark'. Advice was that it might be best in terms of gender change, to pick a new and very feminine name. However, 'Robin' is gender-ambiguous and I have been 'Robin' for a very long time, and also, that is the name I have practised law under for 17 years. I decided to change my middle name to a female name starting with 'M' which would allow me to keep my personal e-mail address, signature etc etc. Last September I spent an afternoon in a cafe in St Ives, Cornwall, working through the 'baby names' websites to see what 'M' name suited. It needed to be reasonably short to fit in with 'Robin' and 'White'. However, the likes of 'Mary' or 'Maria' were too religious for me. 'Moira' just seemed right. Apparently it is Celtic in origin and means 'fate' or 'destiny'.
On Thursday of last week (10 August) 'The Times' newspaper in London published an article about my changing gender as a barrister and the wonderful help and support I have received from colleagues, staff, friends and clients. That made transition so much easier for me. Up there as well is the fantastic job that Dr Bart did on my facial surgery in Belgium. The look gets better every day, already wonderful and it is not quite 6 weeks since surgery.
I will be keeping up the blog whenever I have anything interesting to say, so keep following.
Robin 'Moira' White
Saturday, 6 August 2011
It is now just over a month since facial surgery and less than two weeks before I go back to work.
The surgery is now very well settled down, including my jaw, whicvh no longer feels stiff to the touch. My jaw opening is still a little restricted and there is plainly some more settling down to go but I have to say that I am very happy with the result so far. I plainly look much more feminine than before. One day last week I was out in Wells and Glastonbury in Somerset with a good girlfriend who reports that I am now mostly accepted as female without question, at least until I speak.
Today (Saturday 6th August) I was helping with the vintage vehicle rally at the West Somerset Railway near Taunton. I have volunteered on the railway for over 30 years now, since the tender age of 16 and this was my first day back there. A number of folks plainly did not recognise me until I spoke to them and I am also told that my new look is very successful, even as it stands.
This is all wonderful, but there is a cloud to every silver lining.....
I am now completely confident that I can look appropriately feminine in public (and I know that with work I can sort my voice out). However, every time I go to the lavatory, change clothes, shower, get ready for bed etc etc, I am reminded that my top and bottom don't match. It is already beginning to jar, and I know that soon it will start to drive me round the twist. The best I can say is that I already have reassignment surgery provisionally booked for 5 December 2012 with Dr Suporn in Thailand. Last autumn my facial surgery and beginning to live full time as a woman this July seemed an impossible time away at 10 months, so 16 should be possible to bear with good grace but I just want the process over and to be able to get on with a normal life.
That's the top and bottom of it!