Lance Cpl. Aaron Wixson is looking forward to the day he can attend the annual Marine Corps Ball in the outfit he feels most comfortable in.

Last Friday, he wore female Dress Blues to the gala at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. But next year, Wixson hopes to trade in the female uniform for the iconic Dress Blues worn by men — the gender he identifies with even though it’s not the one on his birth certificate.

“I will feel that I am finally seen as who I really am,” Wixson told CNN, going public for the first time with his gender transition, which is ongoing. “I will be 100 times more comfortable, physically and mentally — which will allow me to really enjoy the ball.”

He’s getting closer to his goal thanks to the new military policy that allows transgender people to serve openly. The 20-year-old field artillery radar operator is one of the first transgender Marines to be formally recognized by his command as a man.

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Image courtesy of CNN