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Meet the first transgender service member to transition at Offutt Air Force Base under military's new policy

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Buch is pictured in front of an RC-135 jet in February at Offutt Air Force Base. “I’ve been getting involved with so many different things on base and in my squadron and just taking charge of a lot of things that I would have never done in the past. I would have been too scared, number one, and too shy to kind of put myself out there. … In the past I wouldn’t because I knew I couldn’t be myself,” Buch said.

For years, Staff Sgt. Ashleigh Buch hid the fact that she was transgender — a situation that, until last summer, was not allowed under U.S. military rules.

A Department of Defense policy was finalized in June 2016 that allowed transgender service members to serve openly.

Now her years of appearing male at work while living as a woman at home are over.

In October, Buch switched her gender from “male” to “female” in the Air Force’s system, the first at Offutt Air Force base to transition under the new policy.

Buch now hopes her experience can be used to help other transgender service members.

Read Ashleigh's story here.

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