Chloe Allen, officially recognized as the British Army’s first woman allowed on the frontline after transitioning in 2016, has reportedly been accused of breaking up a fellow soldier’s marriage — a serious breach of army ethics.
The Daily Mail, which broke the story, also alleges that the top brass refused to take the usual disciplinary steps against Allen, to avoid embarrassment around the high-profile recruit.
Chloe, 26, who joined the prestigious Scots Guards regiment in 2012 under her birth name Ben Allen, is to be cited in the divorce papers of Sergeant Mark Gray, who says that she used the pretext of needing help in presenting as a woman, to begin an affair with his partner of ten years, Sophie.
Allen featured heavily in the media after being made a symbol of the British Army’s commitment to diversity, following her decision to transition without stepping away from the frontline role, in which her responsibilities include driving a heavy armored truck. The move was reportedly prompted by an incident in which fellow soldiers found their comrade cross-dressing before an assignment to guard a royal palace, a standard duty for the regiment, which has been involved in the Trooping the Colour ceremony in the past.
The UK has been openly welcoming transgender troops into service since 1999, while restrictions on women in frontline roles were lifted two years ago.
According to the Daily Mail, in the aftermath of her announcement Allen began visiting the Gray household, where she would engage in dressing-up sessions with Sophie, who gave her make-up tutorials. Mark grew suspicious that the contact was more than platonic and confronted his wife, but she denied the accusations. However, when he returned from an assignment in the Falklands, his wife had moved all of her possessions and allegedly moved in with Allen.
Gray reported this to his superiors as a potential violation of the Service Test — the British Army’s internal code of conduct — which proscribes “over-familiarity with the spouses, civil partners or partners of other Service personnel.” Sanctions for violations range from extra duties and removal of privileges for the person found guilty, to discharge from the regiment.
But in this case nothing was done, even though none of the parties appear to have challenged the allegations.
“Scots Guards commanders gave Chloe their full support and stressed they wanted her to remain in the regiment whatever was happening in her private life and with her transition from man to woman,” an army source told the Daily Mail.
“They favored handling the matter informally, a decision made easier because Sgt Gray was no longer in the Scots Guards.”
Gray believes that he has been the victim of Allen’s preferential treatment.
“Mark is distressed and feels Chloe played him for a fool by having an affair with Sophie while maintaining that Sophie was only helping her learn how to present herself as a woman,” a source in the Scots Guards told the Daily Mail.
“Had Mark shacked up with another guardsman’s wife, he’d have been charged with breaching disciplinary rules and been in deep trouble, whereas nothing appears to have happened to Chloe despite her affair with Mark’s wife.”
Questions persist over whether the affair is continuing.
“I am not in a relationship, nor am I living with anyone,” Allen said in a statement, made through the army, before the story broke, labeling the revelations “untrue”.
But the Daily Mail has published recent photos of Allen and Sophie Gray together, and says that the two women have been spending nights together at Gray’s house, where she lives with her two children from Mark.