Paula Neira: ‘I was always a woman’

She Pivots

Jun 1 2022 • 47 mins

When Paula Neira graduated with distinction from the U.S Naval Academy in 1985 and went on to serve in the Navy, she was faced with the difficult choice. As a transgender woman, Paula had to make the difficult choice to leave the Navy so she could live authentically. A difficult moment turned into an inspiring pivot when she decided to serve her country in another way - through nursing. She spent five years as a trauma ER nurse, but after feeling frustrated that she didn’t have a voice, she pivoted again. She decided to go to law school then used her law degree to fight for something deeply personal to her: the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (the archaic policy that barred openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service). Emily talks with Paula about how she leveraged her pivots and became a leading expert on transgender military service and health care. She now works at Johns Hopkins and has an impressive list of letters after her name (Paula M. Neira, J.D., M.S.N).

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She Pivots was created in partnership with Marie Claire to highlight women, their stories, and how their pivot became their success. To learn more about Paula, follow us on Instagram @ShePivotsThePodcast or visit marieclaire.com/shepivots.

This episode is sponsored by Michter's Distillery. Michter’s Distillery has a passion for making the finest bourbon, rye and American whiskey possible.For more information follow us on social media @michterswhiskey or go to michters.com or visit your favorite bartender.

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