CAF Story | Hiding My True Self

Maj Foss

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My situation is different than most people. Most people, when they look in the mirror in the morning, they see themselves. I didn’t. I always knew that I was slightly different from everybody else when I was young. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. It wasn’t until I was 21 years old, I ended up reading an article, which gave me I think, the most key piece of the puzzle of my life. Because that one article explained what transgender is. But that was the key. When I knew what I was, I was able to know who I was.

The major problem I had in my life was anxiety. The anxiety of hiding my true self. Trying to keep track of all the “lies” that are told, the avoiding things. I started having memory problems, problems focusing on discussions. I’d lose words in the middle of a sentence. I didn’t realize at the time that after all those years, life was taking a toll on me.

The day that I decided to actually come out to my family was rather difficult. But at the same time, I also found out that my family was there. Two months after that, I ended up deciding to come out at work. In a typical scientist way that I am, I ended up doing a PowerPoint presentation to my directorate. I walked out of there with my head held high, with one of the biggest burdens of my life gone. The weight of the world was off my shoulders. All these people that I had worked with for years, they took some of that burden on their shoulders. They held the world up for me. Ever since then I’ve been telling my story. Every time I tell my story, I get more and more comfortable being me.

Just recently, I had a chance to meet General Vance and I took the opportunity to say directly to him that when somebody like myself has a chance to be their true selves inside and out, day in day out, it is a benefit to the Canadian Forces. Personally, I’ve turned to volunteering, wanting to give to those people that, for example, haven’t had this opportunity, that are still struggling. I personally have a hard time accepting the fact that everything I’ve done is actually courageous or brave. All of this is just about living, being myself. A soldier is a soldier no matter their gender.

Our Universality of Service clause has no gender as a factor in somebody’s ability to do their job. If you can pick up a rifle, you can march, you can carry a wounded comrade out of battle. It doesn’t matter what your biological sex is, what your gender expression is, your gender identity. Every one of us as soldiers, sailors and aviators, we all have courage on the inside. It’s just bringing that courage to the surface, is some of the most difficult challenges in our life.

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