Canadian Armed Forces Revamps Policies To Welcome Transgender Troops

Canadian Armed Forces now welcomes troops of all genders by promising equality, respect, and accommodation.
Canadian Armed Forces Revamps Policies To Welcome Transgender Troops

In stark contrast to Trump's ban on transgender military recruits, the Canadian Armed Forces are paving the way for gender equality by welcoming transgender troops with open arms.  According to CBC, Canada has become a safe haven for transgender soldiers since the Canadian Armed Forces recently revamped its policies that promote equality, respect, and accommodation.

Guidelines from the Canadian Armed Forces were internally circulated today and obtained by CBC News, providing direction on medical and surgical supports, uniform and naming procedures, and accommodations for bathrooms, showers, and other private areas.

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The statement from the Department of National Defence explains, 'The revised version is less restrictive than in the past, strives to ensure consistent application, and encourages open lines of communication."  This new document substitutes a previous version from 2011 for "transexual members" that consisted of outdated language.

South of the border, Trump ordered a widely-condemned ban on transgender military members "in any capacity" back in 2017.  Critics have challenged the ban in court, calling the ban bigoted and discriminatory.

We welcome Cdns of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Join us! #DiversityIsOurStrength#ForcesJobs

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Just as Trump officially announced the ban, the Canadian Armed Forces retorted by reinforcing its pro-LGBT position with a tweet, "We welcome Cdns of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Join us!"  The post on Twitter was accompanied by a photograph of Royal Canadian Navy Band members playing instruments adorned in Pride colours.

According to CBC News, Canada's new military standards emphasize every Canadian Armed Forces member's right to define their own gender identity.  The policy also guides commanding officers to consider a member's request for accommodation needs alongside their duty to meet operational requirements.

New directives include (directly excerpted from CBC News):

  • Respecting and protecting the personal and medical privacy of the transgender member.
  • Using a collaborative approach to develop an accommodation plan.
  • Requiring leadership action to ensure members are free from harassment and discrimination.

"When a transgender CAF member seeks to align their gender expression with their gender identity, immediate leadership action is required to address any discriminatory conduct in order to reinforce diversity as a core CAF value that is critical to operational success," the policy reads.

Department of National Defence spokesperson Derek Abma explained that the Canadian Armed Forces is focusing on recruiting and retaining underrepresented populations, such as members of the LGBT community.  The Canadian Armed Forces recently participated in the Transgender Job Fair hosted in Toronto.

"The CAF is committed to building a force that is composed of individuals with new perspectives and a broader range of cultural, linguistic, gender, age and other unique attributes, to better understand our increasingly complex world and respond to the challenges it presents," reported Abma.

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"CAF recruitment campaigns actively promote diversity as a source of strength and essential to our military's operational effectiveness and long-term success."