First transgender officer in the British army - Hannah Winterbourne

Meet Captain Hannah Winterbourne of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers: the first openly transgender officer in the British army.

After serving in Afghanistan as a man, Hannah realised that she had been “living an act” and decided to come out as trans in a training camp in Germany.

Since then she has risen to become the highest ranking openly trans soldier in the regular army and is second in command over a company of 100 soldiers.

Meet Captain Hannah Winterbourne of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers: the first openly transgender officer in the British army.

After serving in Afghanistan as a man, Hannah realised that she had been “living an act” and decided to come out as trans in a training camp in Germany.

Since then she has risen to become the highest ranking openly trans soldier in the regular army and is second in command over a company of 100 soldiers.

Talking about how her colleagues reacted, Hannah says:

 

“I think initially it was a bit of a shock to some people, they weren’t really expecting it because it’s not something you come across everyday in the army.  I think they soon realised that it just didn’t make a difference to my job.”

 

Despite the army’s old fashioned reputation, Capt Winterbourne says it is actually a very forward thinking organisation and a “fantastic employer” for trans soldiers.

 

“We’ve had policy since 1999 and it’s all really, really clear and just helps everyone in the entire process know what their responsibilities are, what they’re doing etc.

It’s just there to support the soldier and just allows us to get on with being soldiers rather than just being trans soldiers.”

What’s her background?

Hannah joined a college for armed forces at the age of 15 and the army helped to pay for her degree in engineering at Newcastle University. She then undertook officer training at Sandhurst.

After the tour to Afghanistan, Hannah asked doctors to help her transition and she is now going through hormone therapy.

“By going through hormone therapy and some surgery they have allowed me to change my body to an extent where I can feel happy enough to walk down the street as a female,” she said. “People see a female and they interact with me as a female. It has given me self-confidence.”

What does the future hold?

Capt Winterbourne now works as the transgender representative for the British army which sees her deal with education and welfare issues.

She says she sees a future in the army in the medium term and hopes to become an even more senior trans role model.

 

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