DADT, and Trans in the Military

As DADT repeal continues its labyrinthine path through the US Congress, it is once again worth noting how far ahead other countries are. The DADT proposals are for inclusion of gay men and lesbians only, and make no provision for trans people in the services. In marked contrast, both South Africa and Australia have not only welcomed trans members, but have also provided extensive medical, surgical and psychiatric support for the transition process to  service people who have begun their journey while already members of the armed forces.

The National Post reports that Canada also “helps” one or two troops through sex change a year, but does not detail the extent of this support. Now, the Canadian Forces have prepared guidelines on how transsexual and transgendered troops should be accommodated. On the one hand, troops have a right to privacy and respect for their decision. On the other, they have an obligation to conform to the dress code of  their target gender.

As U.S. politicians continue to debate whether to let gays serve openly in the American military, the Canadian Forces have issued a new policy detailing how the organization should accommodate transsexual and transvestite troops specifically. Soldiers, sailors and air force personnel who change their sex or sexual identity have a right to privacy and respect around that decision, but must conform to the dress code of their “target” gender, says the supplementary chapter of a military administration manual.

Cherie MacLeod, executive director of PFLAG Canada, a sexual orientation-related support group, said she has helped a number of Forces members undergoing sex changes, surgery the military now funds.

“This is an important step towards recognizing a community that has always struggled for equal rights and basic human protection,” said Ms. MacLeod. “When government becomes more inclusive, over time, society will follow.”

Some within the Forces, though, were irked by the document’s appearance in e-mail boxes last week, just after a report by the military ombudsman that lambasted the National Defence Department for giving short shrift to the grieving families of fallen soldiers.

The armed services are still largely the domain of men who view themselves as “warriors,” believe headquarters staff are out of touch, and resent what they consider “politically correct” policies, said Scott Taylor, publisher of Esprit de Corps, a military-affairs magazine.

(Read more at National Post )

One Response to “DADT, and Trans in the Military”

  1. William Says:

    For a country to bill itself as the strongest in the world militarily and the best in the world, leader of human rights, equality etc. it sure has a funny way of showing it. As an American I can say that not everything is rosy over here. We have our share of problems and unfortunately the majority of those problems originate with the very people we elect to govern us. I believe DADT will pass eventually but when is the question. As far as the Democrats and Obama are concerned we, gays, have been sold out. Everything that comes out of their collective mouths now are lies and sadly always have been.

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