Growing up in Nashua, Dusty Fiero didn’t see anyone living openly as an LGBTQ person. That caused Dusty – who was aware from an early age that she was not the boy she was being raised as – to keep her transgender identity mostly to herself. An Eagle Scout, Dusty was raised with a strong sense of responsibility and duty to her community – even if, as a transgender person left vulnerable to discrimination, her community sometimes doesn’t reciprocate. An active duty Marine starting in 1993, Dusty met transgender people throughout the world, and counts that period in her life as one of the most fulfilling, both personally and professionally. In 1998, Dusty was retired from the Marines because of a severe hand injury. For five years after being discharged, Dusty continued to fulfill her duty to her community by serving as a police officer.
After being put into a situation in which she would have to come out in order to keep her job, she chose to quit. She was worried about navigating a transition while serving on the police force. She left the job, became self-employed, and began her transition in 2016. Now she lives every day as the woman she has long known herself to be. “I grew up with the idea that enlisting and serving your country was part of being a citizen,” she said. “In many ways, my service was the best time of my life.”