(BG) I wrote a poem and the name of the poem was suicide note. In that poem, I apologized to my children and I apologized to my wife because I knew I couldn't live, because I'm a woman. And this is something I know that is not acceptable and that the world will not understand, and because of this I will likely die. I found puberty to be quite confusing.
The changes that were happening with me didn't really reflect who I felt I was. I knew that I was different. I was always...I always felt more comfortable with feminine forms. So it's something I worked really hard to suppress. It's something I worked really hard to hide. I didn't let people into what I was wrestling with, but I found ways to express myself in other ways which were safe.
(BG) [Laughter] I was really into punk music. I was the lead singer in a punk band, and part of that punk persona was I wore a skirt and tights onstage. It felt like I was at home with myself in that sort of way. It wasn't until I was about 35 when I realized that this was not something that was going to go away, and by the age of 40 it had become a crisis.
It was not that long ago that...that... Well, no. So my wife knew at that point, but really it seemed like this was just something that was going to be part of my private life. The level of education around gender identity and gender expression wasn't there yet. It took me until 43 to be able to say this is something I'm going to do. I'm going to publicly come out.
It's all in our hands this life of time. That's given to us all.
(BG) It was terrifying and what really surprised me, but also distressed me, was how accepting so many people were because I had rejected myself for so long. When I came out to my family, to my kids in particular, the two oldest were immediately accepting. My youngest, it really struck him hard, but, you know, it wasn't very long before he was calling me mom. The truth is the vast majority of transgender people don't have the same support I have.
Most lose their marriages and many even lose their family and friends. I am fortunate. I really thought everyone was going to reject me. I am still married. And I also thought I was the only one, which is bizarre because I got to Kingston and it's like there are, you know, there is a number of transgender military members here. It was very freeing for me. It allowed me to, for the first time in my life, break out of this box which wasn't meant for me. What I bring to the cadets here is the same thing that any other chaplain would.
Most of the cadets that I talk to actually don't see me as transgender. They see me as a chaplain. For me, it's a really, it's a humbling role to be able to be here to talk to people and their concerns, their fears. It makes us stronger when we share our challenges, and I hope that being a transgender chaplain sends a message to the 2SLGBTQI+ community that the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service cares. That it cares for that community. I know that the chaplain general wants to know if there are any chaplains who continue to discriminate against the 2SLGBTQI+ community.
I feel like we're on the right track, but I feel like that progress is fragile, and I feel like there's a lot of hurt. And I hope that...I hope that we can honour that hurt, and that we can seek to not do it again.