A transgender former Army officer honoured by the Duke of Cambridge took aim at Donald Trump’s “archaic” ban, which she criticised as being in “stark contrast” to the UK’s attitude.
Captain Hannah Graf, who rose to be the highest-ranking transgender woman in the British Army, was made an MBE by William at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.
After collecting the honour for services to the LGBTQ community in the military, she celebrated the Army’s embrace of transgender people, a process that led to her honour.
But she staunchly criticised the US, where the president has banned transgender troops serving in the military.
“I think it (the MBE) is particularly important when considering what’s going on in the United States where their commander-in-chief is saying transgender people don’t deserve to serve,” the 32-year-old said.
“It’s a stark contrast and I’m very proud to be in the British Army today and my heart goes out to all those people in the US who don’t get these opportunities.”
The US should “absolutely reconsider” its position, said Captain Graf, who lives in London.
“There are hardworking highly-skilled, highly motivated people with deep integrity who are losing their jobs in the US military because of this archaic law,” she added.
In contrast, Capt Graf said William was “very supportive” when discussing her experiences, as well as his own of the transgender community in the RAF.
Capt Graf, originally from Cardiff and who served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, attended the ceremony with her family including her husband Jake, who is also transgender.
They met and married after Capt Graf came out during a tour of Afghanistan and began her transition. She has since left the military.
For anyone with doubts, Captain Graf is clear of the benefits transgender people bring to the armed forces.
“Transgender people, just like any people of a diverse background, have a huge amount to give and the armed forces need that diversity and that strength, that difference of thought that people bring to a situation,” she said.