Essay by MaryAnne Golon. The views expressed are the opinions of the author.
Taylor Miller is the first openly transitioning U.S. Coast Guard officer. Now 27, she began her transgender journey four years ago with hormone replacement therapy and is planning a full gender reassignment surgery. In July 2016, the Pentagon removed its ban on transgender service members and Miller was finally allowed to wear a woman’s uniform.
Because of the recent tweets by President Trump, Miller’s Coast Guard career is now uncertain.Miller’s transition includes painful facial and genital hair removal, constant medical appointments and staggering medical expenses. She suffers isolation in the Coast Guard and her parents have disowned her. “It’s a crap life,” Miller says. “I hate being trans. I don’t fight it. I know it’s what I am, it’s not going to stop me from being trans — but sometimes I just really hate it.” One aunt supports Taylor’s decision and she also relies on the loyal companionship of her beloved dog, Sunny.
For more than a year, photographer Amy Osborne has been photographing Miller’s daily life and plans to follow her through her surgery next year. “I hope that this moving tale of Taylor’s transition will help to inform public and political discourse on gender identity,” Osborne said.