Tara Allison graduated from high school in 1981 without a real plan for the future.
Like many teens, she enlisted in the Navy. She excelled in her field of nuclear power and graduated from the United States Naval Academy becoming an officer.
Her peers looked up to her and her family but she was also living with a secret that would end her military career.
Tara at the time was still living as Todd.
She didn’t reveal her secret until years after her military career.
“I grew up listening to toughen up. Be a man. Don’t cry, all of those kinds of things. And I knew that I couldn’t tell anybody what was going on inside of my head,” said Tara Allison.
Tara used her military career to keep her secret hidden but still had great pride in her service.
“Anybody who spends any amount of time on active duty, you’re proud of your service. You’re proud of what you’re doing. You’re proud of being a part of you’re doing.”
Since coming out as transgender Tara has used her story to help others in and out of the military.
“Nobody chooses to be transgender. This is not something anyone would choose to do. It’s just who you are.”
She’s even gone back to the Naval Academy to speak in LGBTQ issues.
“Shortly after I started speaking at the Naval Academy, the last administration changed its policy. A number of those people came out as trans. And then because of the current administration’s policy, they just were discharged.”
Tara hopes that policy will be reversed.
“ I think it’s really unfair what’s happening now to service members. They’re doing the job, they’re doing the job successfully. They’re doing the job well and there’s absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to continue to do the job.”
Tara also points out that transgender people have and will continue to serve in the military just not openly.
“I served nine years on active duty. I didn’t come out but I was trans and there was nothing that I did on active duty as Todd that I couldn’t do as Tara. There was nothing that I did that I couldn’t successfully do post-transition … You don’t have to like or agree with who or what I am but we’re all free to live our own lives.”