An Orange County Sheriff's Office deputy is making a big transition — one that is making a positive impact for LGBTQ rights.

  • Rebecca Storozuk is Orange County's 1st openly transgender deputy
  • She told the agency of her transition in August 2016
  • Storozuk served in the U.S. Army right out of high school

Peter Storozuk said he has spent his entire life knowing he was someone else.

"I knew I was a (transgender) forever, and I originally identified as a gay male because I thought that would be easier than trying to explain being trans," Storozuk said. "I just couldn’t do it. I was terrified for so long."

Years of fear, however, have since turned into gratitude and happiness.

Now going by Rebecca, she's the first openly transgender deputy working at the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Her job and her coworkers are a big reason she was able to begin the transition, she said.

"Law enforcement has this type of reputation that is not true that they need you to be a 'good old boy' and behind the times," Storozuk said. "They have treated me fantastic. I don't think I would be where I am today without the Sheriff's Office."

Rebecca, now 29, began her career in the U.S. Army right out of high school. She took a job with the Sheriff's Office in 2012.

She first told the agency about her transition in August 2016. She said they're now working on a new transgender employee policy that would focus on helping make the transition easier.

"If someone can see my story — even just one, if it helps them come out and better understand themselves — that's something I'm all for," Storozuk said.

Rebecca said she still has a long journey ahead, but she knows she made the right change for her life.

"I'm happy now, so I'll just take it as it comes," Storozuk said. "I'm happy to finally be me."