A Trans Woman’s Journey to Her True Self
As part of our ongoing Military Voices Initiative, StoryCorps Door-to-Door traveled to the Human Rights Campaign Headquarters in Washington, DC to record stories in partnership with the Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC), a non-profit that provides support, advocacy, education and outreach for partners and children of LGBT service members — including families of service members on active duty, in the reserves, national guard, and veterans.
During our stay in DC, I met Allyson Robinson, who came to StoryCorps with her wife Danyelle and shared her story of coming out as a transgender woman and, in her own words, eventually living a life with honesty reflecting who she truly is.
Allyson, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, spoke about having to suppress her feelings of who she really was throughout her Military career. During her time at West Point, she said she was in denial and would overwork to suppress her needs to express herself as a woman and felt guilty whenever she did. “I lied and I hid a lot. I kept a suitcase inside another suitcase in a a trunk room at West Point where I would keep some clothes and make up,” she said.
Allyson spoke about contemplating suicide as the only way out before realizing she had to “live life with honesty, quit fighting and just be,” she added. This is when she decided to come out to her wife, who she was married to since 1994, and their four children.
Her wife, Danyelle, talked about what went through her mind as her then husband came out to her as a transgender woman. ” I remember being bewildered and knowing it was better to know, but at that point I didn’t know what it meant. There were questions out there that I didn’t know”.
Danyelle said she admired Allyson’s honesty and stood by her side. “I let time work through all of the questions and details.” She explained how their four kids were accepting and how easy they took it. “They were wonderful, they were the easiest part.”
Allyson explained what she feared the most through the years, which was to lose her family, did not happen after she came out and how glad she is of it. She took the opportunity to thank her wife for sticking by her side throughout the difficult transition.
In 2012, after serving four years as first Deputy Director for Employee Programs at Human Rights Campaign, Allyson Robinson became the executive director of OutServe-SLDN, a leading advocacy organization serving active-duty LGBT members of the military and veterans. She lives in Maryland with her wife and four children.