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Gender-Fluid Former Army Officer Lives Half The Week As Feminine Man, And Other Half As Trans Woman

Gender-Fluid Former Army Officer Lives Half The Week As Feminine Man, And Other Half As Trans Woman
Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

A former army officer has branded the British Army “one of the best LGBT employers in the UK" following the kindness she was shown when she came out to her colleagues as gender fluid – after 25 years of military service.

For decades Julie Miller, 61, who is married and has children, only showed herself as a transgender woman in secret – finally being inspired to reveal her true identity to the world in 2017, after seeing the courage of injured soldiers at a Wiltshire recovery center run by the charity Help for Heroes.

Recalling her visit, Dorset-based Julie – who retired from the army in 2018 and now volunteers for transgender charity Chrysalis as an area coordinator, who offers emotional support to the trans community – said: “I was surrounded by all these people who had their legs and arms blown off and realized being a trans woman wasn't a big deal."

She added: “I told the veterans and, honestly, I couldn't have asked for more love, kindness and acceptance from a bunch of trained killers."

Overwhelmed by the positive reaction from her colleagues, Julie then decided to tell her commanding officer.

“He didn't flinch," she recalled. “He just told me he had three teenage daughters who often had trouble taking off their mascara after a night out – and he'd noticed I had the same problem."

Julie Miller(Collect/ PA Real Life)

“The British army is actually one of the best LGBT employers in the UK," Julie concluded.

Only officially diagnosed with gender dysphoria – where a mismatch between someone's biological sex and gender identity causes them distress – in 2016 after a year of psychiatrist appointments, Julie now lives for half the week as a feminine man and the other half as a trans woman, with the support of her wife of 13 years, who she remains with.

But Julie, who has a son and daughter who are in their 20s with a previous wife and does not wish to name either spouse or give her own pre-trans name, said that while telling her colleagues was far easier than she had imagined, when she told her partner two years before, in 2015, it was really tough.

Julie Miller(Collect/ PA Real Life)

“When I told my wife I wanted to live as a woman, we had to take one step at a time," she said, stressing that, at this point, they kept it private. “She had to go through about 10 therapy sessions before she could get her head around it.

“Now my wife is completely fine with it. She understands that in the same way that she relaxes by taking her make-up off, I relax by putting my make-up on and painting my nails.

“She's also really proud of the work I do now for the trans community."

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Despite their relationship being unconventional, Julie insists it works well and that they have found a happy compromise which suits both their identities.

She explained: “I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2016 – a year after I came out to my wife and after a year of psychotherapy appointments.

“The doctor recommended for my own sanity that I should live as a woman for the rest of my life."

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“But it wasn't just my decision, I had my wife to consider. So we came to a compromise – and now half the week I'm Julie, which means I wear my wig and fake boobs, and the other half the week I'm a feminine man," Julie added.

“It's very rare that you'll ever see me dressed as a stereotypical man."

Meanwhile, surgery is not something Julie wants to consider.

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“I'm happy with my male body parts – but to be honest, it's not important when it comes to the way you present yourself," she said.

“What people don't understand is that being transgender is about transitioning your gender, not your sex.

“I'm a trans woman because I want to present as the female gender – no one would know for sure what sex I was unless they had a look."

Julie Miller(Collect/ PA Real Life)

Julie has not taken female hormones either, despite her doctor recommending that she take estrogen.

“If I'd taken it, that would've affected my sex life, because it would've stopped my erections," she said.

“Being male or female can be in the mind. Some feminine men like to express themselves by putting on a yellow dotty dress and a pair of red stilettos."

Julie Miller(Collect/ PA Real Life)

Julie added: “Likewise, some masculine women like to wear baggy jeans and relax after a day at work with a pint of beer."

Julie found dressing as a woman helped to ease her anxiety at the end of a stressful day in the army.

She said: “I'd get really bad anxiety and wouldn't be able to relax until I went back home, took my trousers off, put on a skirt and some make-up."

Julie Miller(Collect/ PA Real Life)

“It was honestly such a physical feeling of anxiety not being able to present myself in a feminine way," continued Julie.

“I had very feminine habits that I had to hide at work.

“Sometimes I would sit in briefings with my legs crossed, or when I was instructing officers my voice would sound too high."

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“On one occasion I was sitting around a table drinking tea with a bunch of hardened army officers. I drank from a white mug and accidentally left red lipstick marks on it," she added.

“No one said anything. They all just stared at me as if to say, 'What is going on?'

“Another time I completely forgot to take my eyeshadow off before going into a meeting."

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Despite secretly trying on her mom's clothes as a teenager in the 1970s, Julie fought her trans feelings and joined the army as she said she was “trying to be James Bond."

“I didn't have an aggressive nature and I wasn't naturally a strong character either," she said.

“It seems like a strange career choice for a man who has always been very in touch with his feminine side – but it's actually not that uncommon."

Julie said: “Sometimes men like to overcompensate for femininity – I suppose you feel less of a man if you want to wear a skirt, and an army man is a man of courage.

“It was like I was trying to be James Bond."

Now in her role as a volunteer area coordinator for Chrysalis, she uses her own experiences to help other members of the trans community.

Julie Miller(Collect/ PA Real Life)

“In the 1970s, racism and homophobia was rife, so if I'd walked out of the door as a young man in a dress or a skirt, I'd probably have been locked up or sectioned," Julie said.

Recalling her first trips out dressed as a woman in the 1980s, when she would slip out without anyone knowing and go to places where she knew other trans people met, she likened it to being “in a war zone."

“As a former army officer, I can say with great authority that going out as a man in feminine clothes in the late 1980s was like being in a war zone," said Julie.

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“Before I went out, I'd always make sure I had an exit strategy in case anything went wrong," added Julie.

“I wouldn't dare step out of the door any time around 3pm either, because I didn't want to be surrounded by gaggles of school kids laughing at me.

“Back then I had grown women coming up to me and lifting up my skirt, without asking permission, just to check what was underneath."

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Fortunately, attitudes towards trans people have changed dramatically and Julie now feels happy to walk around in public looking however she pleases.

“Nowadays, people are better educated. No one in my local town gives a damn if I want to walk down the street wearing a skirt," she said.

“Of course, you'll get the odd person who says something, but I put that down to them not being very well educated."

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

She added: “Society is changing and the more we understand gender issues, the more we will accept them."

Sadly, Julie does have some horror stories of nights out when she has been accosted by ignorant people.

Recalling an incident in December 2018, when she was dressed as a feminine man, she said: “I was in a Wetherspoons with a few of my friends and there was a group of rowdy football supporters, who were a bit peeved that their team had lost, and they started yelling obscenities at me."

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Julie continued: “They started shouting, 'Show us your c*ck,' and, 'What's under your skirt?'

“They kept shouting and I just ignored them – then, suddenly, the mood in the pub changed and people started staring at them.

“I wasn't the weirdo in the skirt. Instead, they were the group of weirdos shouting atrocities in a packed pub."

Julie, who has devised 10 principles for coming out, which include finding a support group and being surrounded by like-minded people – similarly recalls some unpleasant encounters with strangers while dressed as a trans woman.

“Someone has randomly approached me before now and asked me to perform a sexual act," Julie said.

“I've also had a kid call me a 'he-she' and a man stop me in the street and just shout, 'Why?' at me."

Julie Miller (Collect/ PA Real Life)

A great believer in education, seeing it is the only way to stop ignorant behavior, Julie gives presentations to local councils and prisons to help improve their LGBT policies.

“Education is the most important thing in tackling transphobia," she said. “Society has taken leaps forward but there's still a long way to go.

“I've created a presentation called "A Bluffer's Guide to Transgender", which I want organizations, businesses and the families and friends of trans people to watch. We need to educate people while they are at school, though, when they are young, to make it easier to understand."

Julie concluded: “But my main aim is to help other men who are hiding the fact they are transgender to finally pluck up the courage and tell their loved ones and colleagues the truth, so they can live as the people they really are.

“It is a scary thing to have to do, though. People don't realize that it takes a lot of balls to come out and wear a skirt."

You can find out more about Chrysalis at Find out more about Julie's story at