A police officer who came out as transgender after 17 years in the force says she’s never been happier.
PC Skye Morden, 44, has been stabbed, spat on and attacked while on duty but says nothing in her career required the same courage as telling her colleagues.
Ms Morden, who is originally from Yarm, Yorks, but serves in the West Midlands Police, shared her true identity two years ago and says she’s never been happier.
The front line worker has chosen not to reveal her former name as that person is “dead to her”.
She now wears a blonde wig to work and has had makeup lessons.
Ms Morden, who has overhauled her wardrobe too, said: “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.”
Ms Morden has received multiple awards for bravery but still found it difficult to find the courage to tell her friends and family that she was female.
But in 2018, she opened up to her supervisor and was overwhelmed by the support she received and wished she’d done it sooner.
Skye, who is single and has no children, praised her family and friends for supporting her too.
She said: “I had to tell people who I truly am as I couldn’t cope with the secret any longer.
“I was going to break.
“It is hard to accept yourself, never mind what anyone else thinks.
“But when I told my supervisor, it was fine and he didn’t judge me at all.
“I instantly felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
“My colleagues didn’t care and admired my courage.”
The police Taser subject matter expert and tactical trainer pays for a private subscription of cream to reduce her hair growth and prevent her stubble.
She said: “When I first started presenting at work, it was daunting.
“I once received a standing ovation after training a class full of men, I didn’t even know.
“They were so happy that I am finally able to be myself.
“It was incredible to know that they support me and respect me.”
Skye joined the force in 2001 – she admits the culture was “very different” to what it is now and the masculine nature of the organisation made it harder for Skye to come out.
She said: “The police hardens you and I’m very resilient so I was able to push my thoughts to the back of my head.
“But every time I looked in the mirror, it was an absolute horror show.
“I buried everything I could in a bid to lead a normal life.
“I would put on a brave face for work and was completely unfazed by the daily violence and crimes I saw.
“Transgender was almost unheard of back then.
“People accepted lesbian and gay colleagues but there was some kind of culture fear of transgender people.”
Skye is currently on the NHS waiting list for physical transitioning treatment but must first “socially transition” to demonstrate her commitment to doctors – a process that could take six years.
During this time, she hopes to inspire others to speak out if they are battling with their gender identity.
She said: “Everything I have to do is through courage, a wig and crayon.
“I am just trying to reduce the horror and anxiety.
“I hope my story helps others speak to someone they trust or even a therapist.
“The reality of coming out is people are compassionate and open.”