Captain Hannah Graf, who rose to be the highest-ranking transgender woman in the British Army, has been awarded an MBE.
The former Army officer, aged 32, was honoured by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.
After collecting the honour for services to the LGBTQ+ community in the military, Capt Graf spoke about the British Army’s embrace of transgender people.
Congratulations to Captain Hannah Winterbourne who received an #MBE. @hannahw253 served as an officer of the British Army, becoming the highest ranking transgender soldier and an advocate for LGBT rights. pic.twitter.com/JLVzXWieq8— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 12, 2019
Capt Graf said: “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.
“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.
“There are hard-working, highly skilled, highly motivated people with deep integrity who are losing their jobs in the US military because of this archaic law.”
After collecting her MBE, 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, who served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, attended the ceremony with her family and husband, actor and director Jake Graf.
The couple met and married after Capt Graf came out during a tour of Afghanistan and began her transition. She has since left the military.
As part of the Army LGBT Forum, Capt Graf became the Army’s Transgender Representative, where she advises on transgender policy, and provides mentoring and support for the Army’s transgender soldiers.
Since coming out, Capt Graf has received recognition from the British LGBT Awards, Out in Work 100 Awards, and an Honorary Fellowship from Cardiff University.
She said: “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.”