Canadian Armed Forces

Canadian Armed Forces

From camouflage to fabulous! Canadian soldiers now have the option to “choose the uniform that makes them most comfortable,” says a Department of National Defence (DND) briefing note.

Blacklock’s Reporter said the DND on Wednesday did not say when the dress code will be rewritten.

“We will continue to work hard to build a defence team where all members feel safe and protected,” said the note.

Data shows a small number of regular members and reservists, less than 0.5%, self-identify as transgender.

“It is clear a lack of diversity in the Canadian Armed Forces is just one of the issues confronting this government,” wrote staff.

“National Defence is committed to building an inclusive and modern defence team that reflects Canada’s diversity, values and culture.”

Under a Dress Instruction Update, new guidelines will be issued to abolish gender-specific uniforms like the bowler cap for navy women.

“This will eliminate binary uniform and appearance choices, allowing Canadian Armed Forces personnel the freedom to choose the uniform that makes them most comfortable,” saidthe note.

Other changes will also be considered, it said: “The Canadian Armed Forces is exploring feminizing options for ranks in French. All ranks are currently exclusively masculine. Non-binary members would have the option to describe themselves as they wish.”

The proposals follow the 2020 appointment of an Advisory Panel on System Racism to “support indigenous, Black and people of colour along with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit community and women.”

A final report from the panel is due January 31.

The military has no official count of transgender or non-binary soldiers, sailors and air crew.

Another report noted a 2016 Statistics Canada questionnaire commissioned by the military found of 104,000 regular members and reservists at the time, about 3,000, self-identified as gay and 200 identified themselves as transgender.

“Uniforms and appearances are standardized according to gender,” said the Forces College report.

“There are no exceptions or allowances for transgender Canadian Armed Forces members who are undergoing transition.”

“Dress uniforms are gendered as are accommodations and shower and toilet facilities,” said Gender Binary.

“Military personnel by virtue of the design of the institution are distinguished and gendered by what they wear, where they sleep, where they shower and what restroom they use.”

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