When Greg Abbink came out as transgender after 10 years in the Austin Police Department (and after a stint in the U.S. Army), his coworkers treated him with great respect, and he is proud to have blazed a trail as the first openly transgender police officer in Austin. He is a transgender man, meaning that he was born and raised female but knew from a young age that that didn’t fit, and so he transitioned from female to male and now lives every day as the man he has long known himself to be. In recent years, he’s developed a training program for cadets and field officers on best practices for interacting with transgender people. Part of that class confronts anti-transgender myths conflating transgender people with public safety – myths that have long been dispelled by statistical data.
Greg also considers himself extremely lucky to have his wife Joan, who is not transgender, by his side; they have been together since 2009, before Greg transitioned, and the couple has remained strong through the entire process.
“My hope is that people who may not know what it means to be transgender can be open to learning about my life and journey and realize that at the end of the day, we are all human,” Greg said. “Another hope that I have is that someone will read about me and know that they, too, can have an extraordinary life! They don’t need to be afraid – there are so many people who will support and encourage them. If my story can touch even one person, then I will feel like I have helped make a difference.”