Last Friday, 33 recruits from the San Francisco Police Academy graduated and became officers, but one represented a milestone for the city: Mikayla Connell is the first transgender person in her class and any that came before her.
As KTVU captures in the above video, Connell gives a touching speech as the elected president of her academy class, her voice breaking as she says "I could not be more prouder of you." That night, she also received two awards for academic achievement.
Connell, who started transitioning in 2001, first applied to be a police officer in the early '90s, but ended up dropping out and joining the Army, then going to law school.
"There's literally been a sea change in the way, at least this state and maybe the country, views LGBT people and transgender people." Connell says, adding: "I got literally nothing but love and acceptance from my classmates."
Now Connell is 45, the oldest graduate in her class, and ready to be an example in the transgender community.
"It means you can't screw up, because you can't ruin it for everyone coming behind you," Connell says. "I know people...are going to be watching me. I cannot let them down.
Be sure to congratulate Connell if you see her around town — she and her class started field training on August 16.