AN Army officer has said she decided to come out as transgender after “living an act” as a man serving on the front line in Afghanistan.
Captain Hannah Winterbourne of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers told The Sun she realised her “body was wrong” at the age of 23 while at Sandhurst for officer training.
And while the 27-year-old said she feared what the reaction would be when she revealed her decision, she praised the military for being “very forward thinking”.
Capt Winterbourne, the Army’s first transgender officer, according to the paper, said: “In Afghanistan I was living an act. I was acting for everyone around me. There was no let up where I could not stop that act.
“In my part of the tent there were seven guys living on top of each other. Previously I’d relished my own time where I could be honest with myself. In Afghanistan I could not do that. So that was a nudge which eventually ended up with me coming out and changing myself and my way of life.”
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While Capt Winterbourne, who did not reveal her former name as a man, said her feelings about her gender started from a young age, it was not until much later she decided to go through with the transformation and begin hormone therapy.
“The point where I realised I was a woman but my body was wrong was around age 23 at Sandhurst. But I wrongly thought I couldn’t do anything about it,” she said.
“Then I went to my first unit. All of a sudden I’ve got soldiers under my command. I thought, ‘This isn’t the time to do it, I’ll just bear with it’. But those feelings never go away.”
The military has won several equality accolades in recent times, including last year being named the world’s second most gay friendly military in the world by a think-tank, while the MoD won the most improved employer award in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.
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