Military one of the UK's best LGBTQ+ employers, gender-fluid trans veteran says

Watch: A former male Army major now living as a gender-fluid trans woman praises the UK military.

A former Army major who spent a career as a man and is now living as a gender-fluid trans woman has said the military now "is one of the best LGBT employers in the country".

Julie Miller transitioned after retiring from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 2018.

When she joined the military, if she had been caught wearing a dress, she would have been removed on mental health grounds.

She told Forces News that "back in those days, I just hid that aspect of my personality".

"I suppressed it and denied it and parked it in a very distant, dark corner of my mind," she said.

"In a practical sense, what that meant was that I had to pretend to be a dynamic leader of men.

"I had to be one of the boys."

Watch: Dame Kelly Holmes on how life for LGBTQ+ forces personnel has improved.

Ms Miller said she would sit in a more masculine way, and lowered her voice an octave when talking, but "it was so unnatural".

"My last two weeks in the Army, I went as Julie, the trans woman, and I could not have found any more acceptance.

"The thing about being trans is that you're swimming against the tide. 

"So, for me, being a little boy, wearing a dress was so natural, but in that society of the 1970s, it was so despised.

"And so to actually come out and swim against the tide you've got to show courage and you've got to be a fighting person.

"The standards of the Army, courage and integrity, you've got to be true to yourself, and so a trans person is actually quite attracted to the Army because they are people who know how to fight, they are full of courage and they are honest to themselves."

Watch: The British Army veteran who is Fighting With Pride to help the LGBT+ community.

Ms Miller now spends her time helping other trans people through the charity Beyond Reflections, as well as giving awareness talks to everyone – from police forces to footballers.

One of those she helps is Alice Neale, who told Forces News she has known she was "transgender since she was six".

She was taken to a hospital for conversion therapy and, after being given a liquid, was forced to be sick at her own image in a mirror in order to cure her "from being what they thought would be gay".

"It didn't make any difference, I was still Alice and I just... I had to keep it a secret," Ms Neale said.

She added that since transitioning, having had transformative genital surgery, "everything is lovely".

"The voices have stopped, I'm just so happy," she said.

"If I could only have been like this 74 years ago, it would have been so great."

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