Today I met an old friend who has known me from my first years as an officer in the Armed Forces. She learned quite early about my life situation and was nice and supportive back then. However, it was before I had been able to make the decision to start the formal transition process (which I did in 2004). We lost contact after that I and was a little bit worried that I had lost her and it was maybe natural to think it had to do with the transition process since I have lost a few other friends (from the Armed Forces) who were close to me back then. Mainly I guess it was my own insecurity. However, this New Year I suddenly got a New Year’s wish on my phone and it was her. We decided to meet for coffeé (what else nowadays:) and I was really looking forward to seeing her but I guess a tiny bit nervous as well. The feeling when I saw her and the warm hug removed all of this and I was so happy to see her. We spent the evening talking about life, love and work and it felt like it was only a few months since we met. I remembered how wise she is and how I value talking about her about the experience of being a woman in the society but also in the Armed Forces of course.
Transitioning while in the Armed Forces went more or less just fine for me but there is always the past to relate to. I have found that people from Air Force that I have been working with during my early days in uniform are the ones that seem most insecure or even uncomfortable around me. It is of course a little bit strange for me because the natural instinct when you see somebody that you recognize you smile and says hello. Sometimes it seems like they don’t recognize me (which I guess is good) or they seem to be a little unsure how to react. So I usually have to wait until I have met them a few times before things starts to return somewhat to normal. This still makes me a bit nervous when I go bigger meetings where these people might show up.
Therefore it means so much to me to have at least a few people in Armed Forces who know me from before but still respect and value me as a woman. And being a good friend as well just adds icing to the cake.