I’ve spent almost my entire career being one of the only women in my profession. First it was being in the Army Reserves after I finished college in the seventies, then it was being the third woman overall, and the first African American, to become a Texas Ranger. It got to the point where at work I just realized that I would never be completely accepted as one of the guys but that I wasn’t really one of the girls either. Sometimes I was somewhere in between.
My father was in the military in South Carolina when I was born, but we moved around a lot. Eventually we settled in Abilene when I was in junior high school. I was in the ROTC during college, and then I joined the Reserves after I graduated. They sent me to the 6th Cavalry Division at Fort Hood as an officer as a sort of experiment. There were lots of compromises that had to be made for women back then. Some were little things as simple as finding bathroom facilities. At one point I had to use the commanding officer’s bathroom because there was nothing else there. He wasn’t happy about it, but he also saw that I wasn’t going away. And when we’d go out into the field for drills, the other three women and I had to