On October 20th, 2016 I was one of the first US Navy sailors who was finally allowed to transition while on active duty. That day, I put on my female uniform for the first time, and then I got got back to work. The long battle to be allowed to serve seemed over, and just 4 months later I was heading to the fleet to do the job I volunteered to do. My lifelong dream of serving in the military finally had no more roadblocks.
On June 12th, 2017 I was called to a meeting with my Commanding Officer, and was told I had to pack my things and be off the ship in one hour. He gave me no reason, and I had no idea what was happening. A week later, I finally learned that I had been falsely accused of groping a transphobic officer who I had originally believed was an ally.
There was a full 6 month NCIS investigation which found no credible evidence and recommended no further action. However, my Commanding Officer decided to hold a Non-Judicial Punishment hearing anyway, and he decided that I was guilty. After the NJP, and after I was denied my appeal, my CO's superior recommended I be discharged from the Navy. I fought that too, but eventually it came down to a choice I was offered: resign or be forcefully separated. I "chose" to resign with dignity, but the misconduct was placed on my permanent record, and my discharge was not the full Honorable discharge I should have received.
Because of the bogus misconduct noted in my file, I have been denied jobs since exiting the military. My integrity will not allow me to withhold this part of my military career from potential employers, no matter how false it is. Currently I have only been able to find a low wage hourly job where I have to work 70+ hours a week just to stay ahead of my bills.
To add on to all of this, the Navy has now sent me a bill for $59,621.62, to pay back my education because I was not able to serve my entire obligation. If I had been discharged due to medical or some other involuntary reason, I would not have to pay this back. However, because I was discharged for "misconduct," they say that I owe this debt.
I already have about $30k in debt from when I was dumb with credit cards and from when I began transition and paid for my new wardrobe and out-of-pocket hormones. I'm not asking for money to pay that. That is my debt, and I take responsibility for it. I just can not afford to pay my debts and my bills while also having a $60k debt looming over my head from a discharge that I did nothing to deserve.
It is with deep embarrassment and desperation that I create this GoFundMe. I do not like asking for money, but I am near the end of my rope. I no longer have hope of paying for surgery to complete my transition. I may never be able to afford adopting children. I may never even be able to afford a house. $90k is a very big hole to dig out of when the only job that will hire you is $13 an hour.
I am a survivor of multiple sexual assaults. I fought for 2 years just to be allowed to stay in the military after transition. I am also not a physically driven or intimate person. So to think that I would throw away a lifetime of working towards a military career just to grope someone when I myself know the very real pain of sexual assault, it is absolutely ridiculous.
All I ever wanted was to serve in the military as myself. When I was actually allowed to do the job I signed up for, I thrived and worked hard every day for my sailors and for my command. The false accusations against me were a blindsiding blow to every hope and dream I ever had, and I may never know why that person had it out for me.
Now, my goal is to move on and find something else to work hard towards. I need a clean slate, and I am doing everything in my power to keep this mountain of debt that I did not earn from burying me and ruining the rest of my life.
Thank you for reading my story, and if you have any questions I am always willing to talk. I am an open book, and promise to answer honestly