Photoset celebrating women in military includes trans armed officer

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The first openly transgender armed forces officer Caroline Paige celebrates the 100 years since allowing women to serve in military. SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, (formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) assembled a number of women who are serving now or used to serve in the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Airforce of UK. Among the women is Flight Lieutenant Caroline Paige, the first transgender officer to serve openly in the UK Armed Forces having her gender identity recognized. The 57-year-old joined the RAF in 1980, prior to her transition, as a Fast Jet and Battlefield Helicopter Navigator. She transitioned in 1999. Other women in the photograph from war photographer Robert Wilson include Olympic gold medallists Dame Kelly Holmes and Heather Stanning OBE. “It was wonderful to join SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity in its celebration of the centenary of women in the military,” she said.“Being the first openly transgender officer was very difficult, because back in 1999 the military was a very different place to what it is today.” She added that she is very happy to use her experience to make the military service more diversive and trans-inclusive. “The work SSAFA has done for women in our Armed Forces for the past 100 years is incredibly inspiring and I was honoured to be part of this celebration,” she concludes.

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