Master Sergeant Nicole Millican enlisted in the Air Force in 1995 and earned five educational degrees over a nearly 23-year career. When Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed in 2011, Nicole began to take steps to become the woman she’s always known herself to be; previously, she had expressed her gender as a teenager but was initially met with hostility by her family. In 2015, she risked her career when she came out to her military doctor, but was met with a positive response by her commanding officers, who worked with her to develop an inclusive policy on her base. Now, after retiring, Nicole works to improve conditions and work against discrimination for LGBTQ people, including by collaborating with the Florida Transgender Alliance.
“Transgender people deploy, serve honorably, and are prepared to give our lives in defense of our country – the same as all other military members,” she said. “That is really all you need to know.”