19 December 2014

Why the British Army is a great place to be trans

After being selected for officer training in the British Army at the age of 15, Captain Hannah Winterbourne is now second in command over a company of 100 soldiers. Hannah is also the highest ranking trans soldier in the UK. She came out one and a half years ago while stationed in Germany.  It came as a shock to a few of her colleagues, but transitioning hasn’t held her back. She is now the trans representative for the British Army. Despite what some people may think, Hannah says that the British Army is a fantastic employer for trans soldiers, and they’ve had a trans policy since 1999 – so that their trans employees can get on with being soldiers.

Helping her is Mel, a Private and the youngest serving soldier in the British Army – she’s also a trans woman. While she struggled in the early stages of her transition, she says that now being trans doesn’t affect her job at all outside of the occasional medical appointment.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 23.35.34

The film is part of the Patchwork Stories series that looks at the lives of transgender people of all ages and backgrounds around the UK. The series was commissioned by All About Trans and produced by Lucky Tooth Films in collaboration with Channel 4.

Fox Fisher and Lewis Hancox of Lucky Tooth have been making films together since meeting on the Channel 4 series My Transsexual Summer in 2011. To hear them talking about the making of the Patchwork series and see clips, click here.

Other films in the series introduce models, soldiers, artists, musicians, activists and psychics, who just happen to be trans – as well as their friends, partners and families.

In 2015, Channel 4 host a selection of the short films on ‘Shorts’, available to watch on All4 at www.all4.com. Shorts are Channel 4’s original short form videos on 4oD.

All About Trans


  • karen on December 20, 2014:

    What a great way to open the conversation of trans living in the forces, not only from a professional, but personal point of view also. Excellent work.

  • Chrisy Bradshaw on December 20, 2014:

    Im amazed ,i really am , good luck to all, i joined in sept 1966, and there was no way i could have come out with my transgender issues ,i would probably been locked up so kept it inside till i was 57 ,now all complete at 65 now with surgery and getting on with my new life ,have to say though there are still people out there with trans-phobic attitude

  • Shaine on December 20, 2014:

    Awesome! All militaries should get on board with this.

  • Mees Soffers on January 6, 2015:

    Proud I,am a Dutch army transgendet

  • Lily Robinson on February 14, 2015:

    I actually wanted to join the Royal Military Police when I was younger but I thought being trans would get me too much hassle in the military. I mean I read about a Gulf War veteran who had transitioned in the Royal Navy and was bullied out and ended up suing the Royal Navy and I think this was only within the last 5 years so it kind of gave me a negative view of the military but like this story really gives hope and shows attitudes are changing. I think over the last 5 years or so… especially the past two attitudes have been changing rapidly in society so only makes sense the same would have in the military and this story really gives hope I think that even masculine/male dominated job roles like the Royal Army are coming round to being an accepting and safe environment for trans people to transition. I find this really inspirational 😀