Fire chief in small Georgia community — uncomfortable as a man — began 'medically transitioning' three years ago

The city of Byron in Peach County, Georgia, is described by WMAZ-TVas "small." Indeed, the 2010 census shows its population is just over 4,500.

But one individual from Byron is making headlines: The city's transgender fire chief, Rachel Mosby, who's led the department for the last 11 years but began "medically transitioning" in 2016.

The station noted that Mosby was uncomfortable as a man.

"I mostly grew up in a small town, smaller than the one I live in now, and information wasn't available, and it wasn't something you just went and asked grownups about," Mosby told WMAZ. "There just wasn't information sources for this stuff."

Mosby didn't want to go into details about life before the transition, saying the man during that period simply doesn't exist anymore, the station said.

How did the chief's fellow fire station employees react?

"I needed to be able to trust them with this the way that I ask them to trust me every day when they come to work," Mosby told WMAZ. "These people are like my family here at the fire department. We're all family, and it's the same thing like going to family with that, and I think that the majority of the reluctance on my part had to do with my own underestimation of their character, and in the end, it wound up not being as big of a deal as I thought it was."

Firehouse sleeping arrangements haven't changed, WMAZ said, noting that everyone changes clothes in the bathroom, both of which are unisex.

Mosby also talked about the transition to city department heads, which the station characterized as a "perceived tough task in a small town in the Bible Belt."
But Mosby told WMAZ that wasn't the case: "What I've found is that allies and friends have come from some of the most unexpected places."

Why is Mosby speaking out?

"It's important to have visibility for those that can't. There [are] a lot of folks that are unable to be visible with their transition because of a lot of different reasons," Mosby noted to the station. "And then there's people that are afraid of everything that goes with it — it's not always smooth for everyone that follows this path."

'I've never seemed happier in my life'

Mosby added to WMAZ that life is better following the transition, and it's been rewarding to be a leader in the transgender community.

"Everybody who knows me or has known me for some time says I've never seemed happier in my life," Mosby said.

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