A police officer has revealed she is transgender and is now identifying as a woman after nearly two decades on the force.
West Midlands Police officer Skye Morden said she always knew she was transgender but ‘kept it a secret for years.’
The 44-year-old, who wears a blonde wig to work and has had makeup lessons, has now come out as a woman after splitting from her wife.
PC Morden is on a waiting list for physical transitioning treatment but must first ‘socially transition’ to demonstrate her commitment to doctors.
She said that means, ‘wearing a wig and using some crayons.’
The force shared PC Morden’s story online but it sparked a backlash from some who questioned whether the officer would be given powers to carry out searches of female suspects. Others criticised PC Morden for posing with a Taser.
It remains unclear whether PC Morden carries out frontline duties or is based solely in the Taser training team.
According to guidance issued by the Association of Chief of Police Officers (which has since been replaced by the National Police Chiefs Council), any officer with a gender recognition certificate can carry out searches on an individual whose gender matches that now recorded for the officer.
West Midlands Police officer Skye Morden said she always knew she was transgender but ‘kept it a secret for years’
PC morden is on a waiting list, one that could last several years, for physical transitioning treatment
PC Morden said: ‘I have always known I was transgender, even before I knew there was a word for it’
Under the Gender Recognition Act 2004, trans people who have lived in their acquired gender for at least two years can make an application for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to the Gender Recognition Panel at the Tribunals Service.
Once granted, this enables the person to legally change their gender. It is not essential for an individual to have had surgery or have hormonal treatment in order to be granted a GRC.
PC Morden, who is single and has no children, added: ‘I have always known I was transgender, even before I knew there was a word for it.
‘But I kept it a secret for decades – I never knew how to come out to friends, family and colleagues.
‘I’ve been one of 14 officers holding a police line against an angry mob of more than 1,000 people. And I’ve been surrounded by a gang of burglars armed with baseball bats and hammers.
‘But none of that is as terrifying as walking out as a transgender woman in front of 30 police officers on a tactical training course that I’ve never met before.
‘We’re undoubtedly in a more tolerant era now than 10 or 20 years ago – that’s what held me back from coming out earlier – but it’s still scary.’
PC Morden pays for a private prescription of cream to reduce her hair growth as her recurring stubble is ‘breaking’ her.
She added: ‘As I put on my lipstick and blonde wig ahead of a day at work for the very first time; I could barely contain my nerves.
‘My colleagues were used to seeing me with a shaved head and ‘Hollywood’ stubble. I was scared of what colleagues and members of the public will say and how will they treat me.
‘I have dealt with the worst of humanity during my 19 years at West Midlands police.
‘I’ve been spat on, stabbed and punched whilst on duty but nothing compared to the fear of turning up to work as the real me.’
Pc Morden joined West Midlands Police in 2001 and was one of the first officers in the force to be trained with an X26 Taser
The 44-year-old has faced transphobic abuse online since coming out, but says her colleagues have been supportive and helped her weather the storm
Pc Morden joined West Midlands Police in 2001 and was one of the first officers in the force to be trained with an X26 Taser.
She revealed she came out as trans to her supervisor in 2018 but only in the last few weeks, ‘has she been true to herself in front of officers under her tutorage.’
The 44-year-old has faced transphobic abuse online since coming out, but says her colleagues have been supportive and helped her weather the storm.
She added: ‘Since I was young I always knew something was different inside of me, that my head and identity didn’t match my physical self. This has caused near constant worry, anxiety and stress which I have tried to hide, ignore, run from and bluster my way through.
‘This past year I simply had enough. I realised that I needed to be me, I needed to be true to myself, I needed to do this for my own sanity.
‘Since plucking up the courage to come out to colleagues at work the support and love I’ve had has been incredible.
‘Most people here in the police are interested and supportive and simply want to know me, so that they themselves can be more understanding and aware. The world hasn’t ended since I came out and I can be at peace with myself for the first time in my life.
‘I am absolutely sure that someone you know is also confused about their gender identity, or even like me, certain about their identity.
‘We simply ask to be allowed to live and be ourselves, without fear of being subjected to hatred, harassment, ridicule and abuse. I am still me, your friend, your brother, your sister, your colleague, no matter how I present, or what clothes I wear or how I identify.’
She says joining police Whatsapp groups for LGBTQ members helped her find the confidence to be honest about her gender identity with colleagues
She says joining police Whatsapp groups for LGBTQ members helped her find the confidence to be honest about her gender identity with colleagues.
On coming out, Pc Morden added: ‘I was incredibly nervous. How do you say to male police colleagues that you’re trans to some of the most alpha guys around?
‘Initially, I was terrified, but everyone has been so welcoming and inclusive so it’s been a huge relief and I feel like I can finally be me.’
Pc Morden, who is currently a Taser trainer at the Midlands Region Tactical Training centre in Albrighton, is now working to help other transgender officers feel comfortable and accepted at work.
She is on the Force’s LGB&T committee and is working with the West Midlands Police Federation on practical ways to help trans members.
In a message to colleagues, she added: ‘You can be who you are, and colleagues and friends will be more supportive than you think.’