Offutt Airman Completes Gender Transition

SSgt. Ashleigh Buch, an instructor with the 338th Combat Training Squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb., has transitioned from male to female, providing an early example of the new Air Force guidelines for gender transition, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Buch began paying for hormone therapy out of pocket in 2015, and for months lived a dual life in which she maintained her male identity in the squadron but lived as a female at home and in private life. In October of 2016, the Air Force published the new guidelines that made allowance for airmen to transition while on Active Duty. During that same month, Buch changed her gender from male to female in the service’s personnel records system. “Everybody was pretty accepting that she was a part of the family,” said CMSgt. Stephen Mallette, the 338th CTS’s chief enlisted manager, told the World-Herald. Buch has completed a series of physical and medical tests the Air Force requires of transitioning members, and she is still waiting for the results of some tests before she can be cleared to fly again. With the change in policy, Buch also hopes Tricare will begin to cover the $120 per month cost of the hormone treatments she receives. While the Pentagon told the World-Herald that it is not tracking the number of transgender service members, a spokesman for the SPART*A advocacy group told the paper that an estimated 1,000 service members are currently undergoing gender transition.