A TRANSGENDER police officer was invited to a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with the Prime Prime Minister in the garden of 10 Downing Street.

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and questioning (LGBTQ) community from across the country gathered together for the summer reception for a special celebration of pride season.

Sgt Gina Denham, who now works in the Castle Point and Rochford community policing team, was only of only four police officers invited to the event with Theresa May - including a chief inspector from Norfolk, a detective from Merseyside and a police officer in the Gloucester force.

Ms Denham, who transferred to the force in 2007, finally decided to speak to her command team about wanting to live life as a woman in November 2014 as her “double life” was affecting her mental health.

She has now fully transitioned into a woman and received a gender recognition certificate last week.

She said: “It was an amazing life experience.

“I shook her hand and spoke about receiving my gender recognition certificate and how it was one of the biggest challenges that trans people face.

“To me, it was such a bureaucratic process and she said that she would take it on board.

“I still don’t know how I was invited - an email just landed in my inbox.

“But I am proud to represent Essex and the trans community.”

Since beginning her transition journey, Ms Denham has also set up the Southend Transpire voluntary group - which aims to offer support to vulnerable transgender people in the community and their friends and relatives.