I am a child of the 1950’s. I had a very happy childhood. The only exception being my gender identity issues. I have these since my first memories from the age of 3 or 4. I had an overriding ache to be a girl. I would go to sleep at night hoping that in the morning I could wake up and be a girl. It took about 55 years, but I did achieve this.
The incongruence of living your life in the male gender when your true gender identity is female is very difficult. This caused mental health issues with bouts of anxiety and clinical depression. I now know that this is a medical term called Gender Dysphoria. This is where the body and the brain are not in sync. In my case, the body was anatomically male but the brain female.
After a life-changing bout of clinical depression, I realised that I could no longer continue living my life in the male gender role assigned to me at birth. I started my transgender journey at Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic in 2012. You have to live full-time in your chosen gender (female in my case) to prove to the Psychiatric Team that you can live, work and socialise in your chosen (female) gender. With hindsight, I think this a sensible approach, given that gender reassignment surgery, male to female, is not reversible.
I am a general practice partner and head of the Forensic Accounting Department at Nyman Libson Paul, Chartered Accountants (“NLP”). We are about 135 people.
I was very concerned at how my partners and staff would react to my transition. In August 2012, I approached our managing partner to discuss this. It was a difficult conversation from my perspective. It took three attempts before I could broach the subject with him. Being a small firm, we had no experience of transitioning in the workplace. I shouldn’t have worried as the partners and staff at NLP have been fully supportive of me.
I started living full-time female in May 2013.
I contacted the ICAEW to advise them of my transition. I let them have a copy of my Deed Poll and Change of Name and my Membership, Fellowship and Practising Certificates were reissued very quickly.
In May 2015, I underwent gender reassignment surgery. I had *** augmentation surgery in July 2016. The dream of living my life in my true gender as a girl was at last realised and I now live my life being true to myself.
On a personal note, I am still married to the most wonderful woman I met back in 1978. Sadly, we no longer live together but we are still very close friends. My children who are 34 and 31 years old are fully accepting of my transition.
I hope that by sharing, anyone with gender identity or LGBTQI+ concerns will feel encouraged to live their life being true to themselves.
About Isabella Segal
As well as many years accountancy experience and skills, Isabella has something different to offer her clients – a fascinating life story.
Isabella is a general practice partner at Nyman Libson Paul, Chartered Accountants (NLP). She specialises in accounting and tax compliance, business restructuring and heads up the forensic accounting division.
In May 2013, with the full support of NLP, she transitioned to Isabella.
Isabella is an LGBTIQ+ activist in the business community.
Isabella qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1980, joined Levy Gee a year later and became a partner in 1985. Before joining NLP, she spent 20 years developing her own private practice, advising a wide range of loyal clients.
A problem solver who is ready to embrace change, she understands the challenges that life – and running a business – can bring and is uniquely placed to offer advice in particular to the LGBTIQ+ business community.
Outside of work she is involved and supports a number of charities including those in the LGBTIQ+ arena. Other favourite pastimes include cycling, hiking and supporting Arsenal where she is a season ticket holder.
Find Isabella on Instagram and Twitter.
Find Nyman Libson Paul, Chartered Accountants (NPL) on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is share your story. Thanks Isabella.
Thank you for sharing your journey, Isabella. A very empowering read.