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Meet The First Transgender Officer In The British Army

Captain Hannah Winterbourne decided to transition while serving in Afghanistan.

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This is Hannah Winterbourne, of the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. She is the first transgender officer in the British army.

All About Trans / Via youtube.com

The 27-year-old was sponsored through the university by the army and commissioned from Sandhurst in August 2010.

Winterbourne says it was while she was at Sandhurst at the age of 23 that she realised she "was a woman but my body was wrong".

She said to the newspaper:

It's about finding that courage to do it. And that's not the easiest thing in the world.

I was acting for everyone around me. There was no let up where I could 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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Winterbourne is full of praise for the support she received from the army, revealing to not-for-profit project All About Trans that she even received an extra grant to change her uniform following her transition.

All About Trans / Via youtube.com

“I think, initially, it was a bit of a shock to some people," she said. "They weren’t really expecting it because it’s not something you come across every day in the army.

"However, I think people soon realised that it didn’t make a difference to my job. At the end of the day I could still do all the things I could do before I transitioned."

Captain Winterbourne is now second in command of a company of over 100 soldiers.

All About Trans / Via youtube.com

She is also the transgender representative for the British army, providing help and support for other trans soldiers.

She says she adores life in the army, and is looking to stay and become an even more senior trans role model.

All About Trans / Via youtube.com

Winterbourne told All About Trans: "Being trans is definitely part of me but it doesn’t define me – there's lots of other aspects of me and my personality which really define who I am.

"I’m really proud to be trans, but also, I’m not just trans."

Richard James is the News Director for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.

Contact Richard James at richard.james@buzzfeed.com.

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