Taylor Miller’s aunt, Jenny Lindsey, pins a shoulder board during Miller’s promotion to Coast Guard lieutenant at the Long Beach, Calif., base in January. Miller’s aunt and her husband accept her transition. Miller’s parents have disowned her. (Amy Osborne) Miller tries on a dress to wear to a friend’s wedding in Orange County in July 2016. (Amy Osborne)
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.
Sara Solovitch contributed to this report.
Miller prepares to take her daily hormone replacement pills. (Amy Osborne) Miller tries on her new female uniform for the first time in Long Beach in July 2016. After the Pentagon removed the ban on transgender service members, Taylor was granted permission to adhere to female uniform standards. (Amy Osborne) Miller gets Lidocaine, a painkiller, injected into her chin, cheeks, lips and neck during an eight-hour electrolysis hair removal appointment in Lewisville, Tex. Miller has endured more than 45 hours of facial hair removal and still needs more appointments. (Amy Osborne) Miller pauses after writing in a journal during outpatient psychiatric treatment in Long Beach in September 2016. Miller suffered an earlier sexual assault and later had a panic attack while on duty at the Coast Guard Long Beach base. She was ordered into outpatient care for a month by her commanding officer. (Amy Osborne) Miller changes into her uniform at the Coast Guard Long Beach base in January. (Amy Osborne) Miller discusses possible complications of gender reassignment surgery with her friend while getting a pedicure in Phoenix in March. (Amy Osborne) Miller and her friend take a selfie while comparing breast sizes in Phoenix in March. (Amy Osborne) Miller visits her longtime friend Miles McCarthy and his son, Owen, in Connecticut in April. Miller spoke at an LGBT panel at the Coast Guard Academy that she and Miles attended. This was the first time McCarthy met Miller as a woman. (Amy Osborne) Amanda Roy takes a selfie with Miller after a LGBTQ panel at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut in April. (Amy Osborne)
More on In Sight:
‘They were interested in me as if I were a zoo animal. But … I’m a human.’ Intimate images explore intersex identity.
Transgender in Maine: What life looks like for women who transitioned over age 60
‘It was one tiny bit of the world that was ours.’ Polaroids of the men of Fire Island Pines.
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