AN RAF veteran is hoping she can be the first trans woman elected to Brighton and Hove City Council.

Josephine O’Carroll believes her candidacy for the Queen’s Park ward in the May local elections can set an example for younger trans women.

Ms O’Carroll said: “We need to stand up and be counted. We need to be heard. If I can’t stand up, then no one is going to do it.”

The retired veteran was almost kicked out of the Air Force after being caught reading materials on transgenderism.

She served for 25 years.

The Queen’s Park resident said: “Being trans and in the forces in the Eighties was a complete no no.

“When I was caught I was told I would get court-martialled or thrown out.

“So I slammed the lid and went back into my box for 20 years.”

Ms O’Carroll began transitioning in her fifties after moving to Brighton in 2010.

She studied politics at the University of Sussex.

The 64-year-old said: “I finished the degree as Josephine and had my final operation in 2016.

“I’ve learnt through all the trials and tribulations I faced through the forces and all the issues in transitioning.

“I wanted to put that back into the community and that’s one of the reasons I went into politics.”

Last year it was announced that Scotland’s only openly trans councillor Gregor Murray would be stepping away from public life following online abuse. Ms O’Carroll said she was not put off by potential abuse.

She said it would only “spur on” her motivation to be an advocate for younger trans women.

If elected, she would join a small number of trans women to hold public office.

These include Rosalind Mitchell, who became the first trans councillor in the UK in 1997 and the first trans mayor, Jenny Bailey, who held the Cambridge post in 2017.

Ms O’Carroll said: “I’m retired so I can offer myself as full time councillor – I will supporting residents seven days a week. I will be offering my background and skills and everything I’ve learnt in more than 40 years of working.”

She joins Queen’s Park resident James Noble and Brighton magistrate Lee Farmer as the conservative candidates for Queen’s Park ward in the local elections on May 2.