Staff Sgt. Patricia King did as many of us have done by trying to lose ourselves in the masculinity of infantry. The difference, in this case, is 16-year veteran SSG King is still on active duty making her the very first out transgender infantry sergeant.
Everyone else I know who was on active duty like myself felt strongly compelled to wait until after we got out to come out. It wasn’t a choice. Even back in the 80’s it was ok to be perceived as gay, especially in a shortage MOS like mine, no one would say anything unless you stood on the commanders desk and shouted it out.
Some did exactly that unable to cope with the isolation and deprivation associated with living in caves. The ones who did that weren’t gay, they just wanted out. They were considered weak and undeserving of the uniform, shunned and envied untill discharge.
Source: The Gazzette Becoming Patricia: A combat veteran’s story of transgender life in the Army
The Army, though, officially forbids transgender service. Army Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Ben Garrett said the “policy on transgender individuals serving in the military hasn’t changed.”
But in February, the Army made it far more difficult for units to discharge transgender troops, in a move that was later echoed by the Air Force.
Kicking a transgender soldier out now requires the signature of the undersecretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs.
The move on discharges gave King the confidence to tell her commanders about her changes.
“You can’t be the best leader unless you can be genuine,” King said.
King was ready for the worst when she told her commander and comrades on March 9. She got the best.
“I have been met with nothing but the warmest support and that includes in my Army,” King said.
Fort Carson referred questions about King to the Pentagon.
Still, King must be careful to balance her new life and military rules.
“In uniform, I do not express my femininity,” she said.
Senate confirms Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary. Austin confirmed his suppoert of President Biden’s plan to allow trans people to once again serve openly.