The Canadian Forces — which, under then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien refused to join the U.S. and U.K. in sending troops into 2003’s Iraq War — are revising guidelines for transgender soldiers. Which, in a concept foreign to American military officials, are allowed to serve! And while trans soldiers, sailors, and air force personnel are entitled to privacy, the new rules stipulate they must wear the uniform of their “target” gender, or the one they identify with. Not that the new regulations, sent to personnel via email, went over with everyone.
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. “You couldn’t get much worse timing on that internally,” he said, referring to the juxtaposition of the transsexual document and the ombudsman’s report. “It’s so removed from what the guys are facing over in Afghanistan … That doesn’t really relate to dress codes of the transgendered.”
FWIT, the new rules will effect approximately one to two persons each year. That’s how many trans troops the National Defence Department says transition per annum.