Taryn Wilson served her country for 23 years serving in the U.S. Navy. When President Obama announced in 2016 that transgender people would be able to serve openly, Officer Wilson was relieved. She was born and raised male but always felt that inside she was female; and so shortly after the president’s announcement she transitioned to live every day as the woman she has long known herself to be. In 2018 she retired, and while Taryn is clear that she is not retiring because of the Trump administration’s attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the military, she says she still feels a sense of betrayal. Being open about her gender identity helped Taryn facilitate positive conversation on her base and familiarize her unit with what it meant to be a transgender person.
“I made a decision when I transitioned — my job is very public in nature; I’m in front of sailors and civilian employees all day long, my name is next to the front gate, my picture is all over base. I didn’t have the ability to transition and be private about it. So I decided that I was going to be vocal, open, and honest about transition for others who feel they aren’t ready to make that step yet.” Taryn is planning on working in youth advocacy and has already spoken with her state representatives about the need to pass a statewide comprehensive nondiscrimination law in her home state of Florida.