PC Skye Morden said she had always known she was transgender, but kept it secret for decades.
And it was only after separating from her wife for unrelated reasons, that she realised she had to address this part of her identity.
She is now determined to blaze a trail for other transgender officers across the country.
Skye said she knew that though she was assigned male at birth and had lived as a man for many years, she was in fact female.
The 44-year-old joined West Midlands Police in 2001. She was one of the first officers in the Force to be trained with a X26 Taser, which led to a career on the frontline of policing, responding to violent incidents and training other officers to use the devices.
During her career, she has been spat at, shoved and punched while employed in a frontline role. However, her biggest challenge has been much harder than any of her colleagues could have realised.
Skye said: “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.”
She joined police WhatsApp groups for LGBTQ members and was encouraged to write a blog for one about her experiences.
This ultimately led to her officially coming out as transgender in 2018.
Skye, who is currently a Taser trainer at the Midlands Region Tactical Training centre in Albrighton, said: “I was incredibly nervous. How do you say to male police colleagues that you are trans to some of the most alpha guys around?
"Initially, I was terrified, but everyone has been so welcoming and inclusive so it has been a huge relief and I feel like I can finally be me.”
But coming out as transgender has not been easy for Skye and she had to deal with offensive and hateful comments on social media. But the support of her colleagues and the wider policing family gave her the strength to deal with these transphobic comments.
She said: “Everyone I have met in person within policing has been wonderful and really supportive.”
Skye 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 transgender members.
When asked what her message to those colleagues would, Skye added: “You can be who you are, and colleagues and friends will be more supportive than you think.”