Sep 15, 2010

Let them serve: Defence drops ban on transgender soldiers

Chief of the Defence Force Angus Houston issued an instruction Monday revoking the policy that effectively banned transgender service members. The ADF is believed to be the last government agency that specifically fired employees for transitioning gender, writes Harley Dennett.

Chief of the Defence Force Angus Houston issued an instruction Monday revoking the policy that effectively banned transgender service members. The ADF is believed to be the last government agency that specifically fired employees for transitioning gender.

The individual whose recent gender transition lead to the reform work was not available for public comment, but the referral service that assists gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service members, DEFGLIS, was aware that commanders had been anything but understanding.

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48 thoughts on “Let them serve: Defence drops ban on transgender soldiers

  1. SBH

    Still, by Guy Rundle’s reasoning, the fact that men, with their hard bodies, have traditionally done the fighting bit, we should think very carefully about letting transgender people into the military. I don’t have a reason, just a prejudice based on some child hood trauma.

  2. Sancho

    [specifically fired employees]

    In Australia employees are sacked. Are we going to see “sidewalk”, “flashlight” and “flip-flop” as the standard terms on Crikey?

  3. Acidic Muse


    I hope you weren’t touching yourself when you were thinking about “men, with their hard bodies traditionally doing all the fighting”

    You are seemingly unaware that women first served in the Aussie military during World War II and that the RAAF was the first service to fully integrate women into operational units in 1977.

    The only positions from which women are currently excluded are those with a high probability of hand to hand combat, like infantry

    Having watched a 6ft Tongan tranny beat 4 bogans who had tried to mug her into unconsciousness in Kings Cross circa 1995, I suspect some would have a lot to offer in combat roles too

    As the prophet Eddie Izzard (all praise be to him/her) once said

    “We all know one of the main factors of war is the element of surprise. And what could be more surprising than the First Battalion Transvestite Brigade – Airborne Wing parachuting in behind enemy lines wearing fabulous make up?”

    From his Dressed to Kill DVD 🙂

  4. SBH

    you’ve missed the point comrade

  5. Daniel

    Cool, now transgender people can kill Afghan civilians too. What a victory.

  6. Nemesis

    Can you imagine what an enemy soldier will be thinking will be done to them, knowing they are facing someone who would cut there own testicles of.

  7. Holden Back

    Acidic Muse you are right- NEVER mess with a fa’afafine.

  8. RadarGrrl

    I am one of the Canadian Forces members who has transitioned while in uniform, the eighth out of likely well over fifty now, in fact. Outside of a few dinosaurs that have given people like me problems, there have been no problems. The Canadian Forces has every reason to accept people like me and to see us through our transition just as they do for any other military member with any other medical issue. I have been serving for over 23 years, and, as a qualified electronics technician, they have untold thousands of dollars invested in my training. Why would they want to throw that away for the sake of a fully treatable medical issue with one of the highest success rates in modern medicine? It seems to me that the Australian Defence Forces would do well to follow our lead.

  9. RJ

    Thank you!
    I have suffered with this secret for years(fearing dismissal), which has taken its emotional toll. I was actually on the verge of coming out this week anyway.
    This is such heavenly timing, my prayers really have been answered. I now feel I have the strength to come out and be the real me. Interesting and rocky times ahead, but its about time the ADF caught up with countries like Canada. Words can not express what a development like this means for my life, and how that improves the workplace.

  10. Harley Dennett

    Sancho, you caught me! I’ve been living in Washington too long and picked up all those dreadful American words. I shall flagellate myself with a Macquarie dictionary at once.

    But perhaps a more apt critique is why was this ADF policy shift only noticed by a single journo who doesn’t even reside in Australia? The ADF has more than 120 press handlers across its labyrinthine organisational structure, but not one considered that this information relevant to the public, or even the servicemembers affected. Somewhere along the line the Australian media stopped reporting Defence department stories that weren’t spoon-fed.

    To my thinking, that weakness in the media is of greater concern than an evolving style guide.

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