After 36 years and a troubled life, California transgender veteran finally wins honorable discharge
By Scott Schwebke
October 26, 2020
Kelly Katherine Roser couldn’t shake the shame, self-loathing and persistent thoughts of suicide.
It was the fall of 1983 — a full decade before the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and nearly 30 years before she would transition to a transgender woman — and Roser was at war within herself. As a recently promoted Air Force staff sergeant, she struggled with proudly wearing the stripes of her new rank and living in her own skin.
One afternoon, at the height of her internal battle while awaiting a less-than-honorable discharge, Roser entered a parts room at Edwards Air Force Base. There, she slung a long, heavy electrical cord over an exposed beam and fashioned it into a noose around her neck.
In August, the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records upgraded Roser’s 1984 discharge from general to honorable.
Roser, who transitioned to a woman in 2012, has long been ashamed of the general discharge and is pleased it has been changed.
Wrong can be righted.