As strange as it may seem, my three year stint in the Army, so long ago did wonders to further my goal of living as my authentic self. It turned out it just took me a while to get here.
First of all my forced enlistment was instrumental in ending a toxic relationship I was in with my first fiancé I was with in college. She knew I was a cross dresser and expected me to use it to stay out of the draft by saying I was gay. Obviously, I didn't.
Then there was basic training where everyone learned how to be an infantryman. Needless to say, there was no room to pursue the true source of my gender dysphoria, What it did do though was to make me mentally tough enough to realize sooner or later I could achieve almost any goal. After all, I was heading to what was deemed an impossible Army job as a radio/television broadcaster. I ended up serving on three continents in three years.
During the process, as I have written many times, I met the woman who was to present me with the greatest gift of my life, my daughter Andrea. Even though she was to find out later on I was a cross dresser (or transvestite) back in those days, when I summoned up the courage to dress completely as a woman at a Halloween party we went to. I ended up admitting to her and two other friends later on my desire to dress as a woman. This was way back in the days in the Army before the "Don't ask, don't tell" LGBTQ so called protection policy. So I could have found myself in trouble if the wrong people found out my "secret".
It turned out this experience in the Army set the way for me to work harder on my cross dressing feminine presentation and even to attempt to come out to my Mother. Which turned out to be a failure. Undeterred, I continued to stay in my closet and explore being a girl.
Throughout the middle of my life, regardless of what the Army taught me (or didn't), I became a more accomplished feminine person and increasingly wanted to try out my new found skills in the public's eye. It was about this time as I lost almost everything else in my life, I decided to take advantage of the Veteran's Administration medical benefits which would include access to hormone replacement therapy or HRT. It turned out, the meds resulted in a wonderful feminization process which continues to this day.
So you could say again, the Army was and is - is making a girl out of me.