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SWE Diverse Podcast: Ep. 218: Transgender Voices in Engineering with Bree Fram

In honor of Pride Month, we spoke to Bree Fram (she/her) about her experiences in the engineering and military fields. She came out publicly as transgender on the day the transgender ban in the military was dropped in 2016.
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An active-duty lieutenant colonel and astronautical engineer in the U.S. Space Force, Bree Fram (she/her) is one of the highest-ranking out transgender officers in the U.S. military. In this episode, she sits down with host Sam East (she/her) to discuss her journey, both professional and personal.

Hear how an early interest in Star Trek led to her passion for space and STEM, what progress she has seen for the LGBTQ+ community in the military, and why organizations benefit from prioritizing diversity, vulnerability, and authenticity in the workplace.

Listen to the episode on SoundCloudSpotifyApple Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Speaker: Bree Fram

Bree Fram headshotBree Fram (she/her) is an author, podcast host, keynote speaker, and active-duty lieutenant colonel and astronautical engineer in the United States Space Force. Bree also co-leads the Department of the Air Force LGBTQ+ Initiatives Team, dedicated to eliminating barriers to LGBTQ+ military service in the Air and Space Force.

​Bree is currently stationed at the Pentagon to lead space acquisition policy development for the Department of the Air Force.

Prior to recommissioning into the Space Force in 2021, she served 18 years in a wide variety of Air Force positions including a Research and Development command position and an oversight role for all Air Force security cooperation activity with Iraq.

In earlier assignments, Bree served in the Air Force Directorate of Strategic Plans, as a Legislative Fellow at the US Capitol on the staff of Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo, on several tours as a program manager for satellite and technology programs, and deployed to Qatar and Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

​Bree came out publicly as transgender on the day the transgender ban in the military was dropped in 2016. She transitioned while in a command position and served through the re-imposition of a transgender ban from 2019-2021. She is currently one of the highest-ranking out transgender officers in the United States military.

Bree has appeared on national and international media, including ABC and NBC Nightly news, France 24, BBC, PBS News Hour, and NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and 1A. Her writing has been featured in the Washington Post, Military Times, Inkstick, and LGBTQ Nation.

Bree is an editor of With Honor and Integrity: Transgender Troops in Their Own Words from NYU press which released in November 2021 and an author of Forged in Fire: From Discrimination to Leadership in the LGBTQ+ Community, a forthcoming work on LGBTQ+ Leadership Development from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Bree has been married for 18 years to Peg Fram, and they have two kids.

Bree’s previous work includes serving in leadership roles in SPARTA, a non-profit that advocates and educates about transgender military service, from 2015-2023, culminating as President and Board Chair. Her work for SPARTA focused on national-level policy and advocacy to develop a more inclusive military. Bree served as a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Diversity Working Group from 2019-2023 and developed programming to increase diverse representation in STEM and aerospace.

You can follow Bree’s Forged in Fire: LGBTQ+ Leadership Development podcast on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and on Facebook.

Host: Sam East

Sam East - Engineering Podcast HostSam East is a media personality based in Toronto, Canada.

You can hear her on “Sam & Dames” in the afternoon from 3-7PM on Toronto’s #1 Hit Music Station, 99.9 Virgin Radio, and with the iHeartRadio Canada app.

When she’s not in studio, she might be hosting live events, hosting and producing the podcast “Lessons to My Younger Self,” or sharing a video that leads to a personal invite from Oprah Winfrey.

Sam is also a certified mindfulness meditation teacher and is thrilled to be able to share tools to help cultivate presence, peace, and self-awareness.

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