Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think?

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Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think?

Postby NecklaceOfShadow » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:43 am UTC

The Vancouver Sun, the source wrote: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.

A gay-rights advocate hailed development of the guidelines as a progressive approach to people whose gender issues can trigger life-threatening psychological troubles.

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 “Basically Decent” 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.”

The National Defence Department, which helps an average of one or two of its troops through sex changes a year, drew up the report in response to questions from administrative staff, said Rana Sioufi, a department spokeswoman.

“The CF is unique in that it must recruit, house, clothe, train and deploy its members,” she said. “This requires clear direction and standardized instructions to deal with individuals who may not fall into the generally accepted gender categories.”

Psychiatrists say true transsexual people essentially feel imprisoned in a body of the wrong sex, and are at high risk for anxiety, depression and suicide. Most provincial governments fund sexual-reassignment surgery under medicare for such patients.

Added as a chapter to a National Defence manual, the new document defines transsexual as someone with a psychological need to live as a member of the opposite sex, whether they have undergone sex-change surgery or not. Their unit must treat them with the “utmost privacy and respect,” meaning, for instance, that there is no need to explain why a person’s sex is being changed in computer records.

A transsexual service person must comply with the dress code and standards of deportment of the gender to which he or she is changing, the document says. It draws the line, though, at retroactively changing the name associated with any medals awarded to the individual before their change, saying “there is no legal authority for rewriting history.”

While a written policy document on transsexuals is new, the Forces have been dealing with the issue for over a decade, paying for the first sex change of a member in 1998.

Cpl. Natalie Murray, an IT technician at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario who made the transition more recently, told the CBC Radio show Day 6 last week that many of her colleagues were supportive as she started the process. Some superiors, however, attempted to push her out of the army, she said.

“They try and turn things around and invent an excuse so they can get rid of you, and they almost succeeded, but fortunately cooler heads way up high prevailed,” Cpl. Murray told CBC. “There shouldn’t be any issue at all. We’re just regular people doing a regular job, the same job as everybody else.”


It's nice to have some pretty good military-related news, right? At least one North American military isn't being held back by repressive rules and standards...
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Shivahn » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:54 am UTC

The extreme irony of this, along with the DADT thing, and the general US American perspective that we're the "most free" nation is kind of hilarious. Hilarious while making me want to punch kittens at the same time.

This is really neat though. <3 Canada more and more.

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Glmclain » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:54 am UTC

America, fuck yeah
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Glass Fractal » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:42 am UTC

Shivahn wrote:The extreme irony of this, along with the DADT thing, and the general US American perspective that we're the "most free" nation is kind of hilarious. Hilarious while making me want to punch kittens at the same time.

This is really neat though. <3 Canada more and more.


Americans are the freest. They just start by redefining what it means to be free.

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Joeldi » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:50 am UTC

Why does there need to be a difference in dress code?
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:56 am UTC

Joeldi wrote:Why does there need to be a difference in dress code?
Because, for instance, issuing male service members bras is likely an inefficient use of resources?
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby badmartialarts » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:51 am UTC

Also, I don't know about Canadian uniforms, but in the US military the male and female dress uniforms are quite a bit different. The combat uniforms are exactly the same, though, save the undergarments. Another point that might come up is the hair. US military allows female soldiers to retain their long hair, but prohibits it in males. That might also come up.

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Shivahn » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:22 am UTC

badmartialarts wrote:Another point that might come up is the hair. US military allows female soldiers to retain their long hair, but prohibits it in males. That might also come up.


I heard about someone (Anecdotal friend of a friend, whee!) in the Air Force who got yelled at for not having cut their hair. After the person yelling realized he was yelling at a girl, he promptly got very apologetic, red-faced, and left.

Anyway, that's a really stupid rule. If it ruins their ability to do their job there should be no exceptions, everyone should have to cut it. If it doesn't ruin their ability to do their job, there should be no exceptions, no one should be forced to cut it. It seems so pointless.

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby masher » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:00 am UTC

Joeldi wrote:Why does there need to be a difference in dress code?


Because females like being able to wear skirts (in my experience), and female pants are cut differently to male pants.

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby EmptySet » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:38 am UTC

masher wrote:Because females like being able to wear skirts (in my experience), and female pants are cut differently to male pants.


Pants? Female body armour is cut differently, along with a lot of other gear, because there are slight differences in proportion between males and females and it doesn't quite fit if these are not accounted for.

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby bam » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:32 pm UTC

Kind of a side note I hadn't thought of before: if a male gets a sex change and becomes a female (ie his "target gender" is female), will he be allowed to go into combat?

And for the most part, uniforms are the same for both genders (excluding dress uniforms and such). Here at USNA, our working uniforms are the same; the only real difference is that the women wear necktabs rather than ties and have a different make of shoe.
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Greyarcher » Fri Dec 10, 2010 1:08 pm UTC

bam wrote:Kind of a side note I hadn't thought of before: if a male gets a sex change and becomes a female (ie his "target gender" is female), will he be allowed to go into combat?
Looks like the Canadian military has let women into combat roles since 1989. So it's not a problem.
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Jessica » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:17 pm UTC

I saw this yesterday and was really happy.

I also love how they even put in provisions for non-op! Fuckin' eh! This makes me so happy!

This, along with bill c-389 passing the report stage, makes me a happy tranny in Canada. :D
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Diadem » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:40 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:
masher wrote:Because females like being able to wear skirts (in my experience), and female pants are cut differently to male pants.

Pants? Female body armour is cut differently, along with a lot of other gear, because there are slight differences in proportion between males and females and it doesn't quite fit if these are not accounted for.

Yes but a transsexual won't suddenly have different proportions after a sex change. So fitting them with gear for the 'target sex' seems inappropriate, if that is the reason. Anyway, there's quite a lot of individual differences in proportions within males and females anyway, so isn't combat gear made for specific individuals anyway?

The dress code part probably refers to dress uniforms, no?
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby podbaydoor » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:04 pm UTC

How do they deal with different physical requirements? Don't know anything about Canadian military, but I remember the requirements for U.S. females are usually different (running fewer miles, lifting less weight, etc.) from males. Do they deal with that?
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:59 pm UTC

From this thread, my understanding is that hormone replacement therapy tends to move trans women toward the various statistical averages for athletic fitness in women.
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Jahoclave » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
EmptySet wrote:
masher wrote:Because females like being able to wear skirts (in my experience), and female pants are cut differently to male pants.

Pants? Female body armour is cut differently, along with a lot of other gear, because there are slight differences in proportion between males and females and it doesn't quite fit if these are not accounted for.

Yes but a transsexual won't suddenly have different proportions after a sex change. So fitting them with gear for the 'target sex' seems inappropriate, if that is the reason. Anyway, there's quite a lot of individual differences in proportions within males and females anyway, so isn't combat gear made for specific individuals anyway?

The dress code part probably refers to dress uniforms, no?

My thinking on this would be. They'd figure out which set of gear actually fits and go with that one. You know, because we have the ability to test and try things on and all. We don't really have to make a guess and go with that. Just saying, the decision doesn't have to be handed down on high from a general's aide's aide.

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby EmptySet » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:46 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
EmptySet wrote:
masher wrote:Because females like being able to wear skirts (in my experience), and female pants are cut differently to male pants.

Pants? Female body armour is cut differently, along with a lot of other gear, because there are slight differences in proportion between males and females and it doesn't quite fit if these are not accounted for.

Yes but a transsexual won't suddenly have different proportions after a sex change. So fitting them with gear for the 'target sex' seems inappropriate, if that is the reason. Anyway, there's quite a lot of individual differences in proportions within males and females anyway, so isn't combat gear made for specific individuals anyway?

The dress code part probably refers to dress uniforms, no?


Well, my point was that the answer to "Is there even a difference between male and female clothing in the military?" is yes. I was under the impression that equipment is not generally tailored to individuals because that would be expensive and a logistical nuisance; instead there are a set number of sizes and shapes which fit most service people, and possibly you can mix-and-match bits like chest plates and shoulder guards. That said, I'm hardly an expert on the military supply chain, so I may well be wrong.

Also, hormone treatment can change proportions slightly, the most obvious being the development of boobs if you're on female hormones. It seems like it would be difficult to get stuff to fit trans people in general, because they wouldn't quite fit under the norms for either sex and because I imagine their body shape would change significantly as their treatment progresses.

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Joeldi » Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:26 am UTC

Okay, so a trans person, MUST conform to the target gender's dress code. But if they are pre-op, they are more likely to fit into their original sex's clothes. And I can think of a lot of a few other issues.
I've always been one for universal dress standards, however unlikely that is in current society. Either way, this ruling is a very good thing.
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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby johnny_7713 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:38 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:
Diadem wrote:
EmptySet wrote:
masher wrote:Because females like being able to wear skirts (in my experience), and female pants are cut differently to male pants.

Pants? Female body armour is cut differently, along with a lot of other gear, because there are slight differences in proportion between males and females and it doesn't quite fit if these are not accounted for.

Yes but a transsexual won't suddenly have different proportions after a sex change. So fitting them with gear for the 'target sex' seems inappropriate, if that is the reason. Anyway, there's quite a lot of individual differences in proportions within males and females anyway, so isn't combat gear made for specific individuals anyway?

The dress code part probably refers to dress uniforms, no?


Well, my point was that the answer to "Is there even a difference between male and female clothing in the military?" is yes. I was under the impression that equipment is not generally tailored to individuals because that would be expensive and a logistical nuisance; instead there are a set number of sizes and shapes which fit most service people, and possibly you can mix-and-match bits like chest plates and shoulder guards. That said, I'm hardly an expert on the military supply chain, so I may well be wrong.

Also, hormone treatment can change proportions slightly, the most obvious being the development of boobs if you're on female hormones. It seems like it would be difficult to get stuff to fit trans people in general, because they wouldn't quite fit under the norms for either sex and because I imagine their body shape would change significantly as their treatment progresses.


The dress code doesn't apply to stuff like body armour, you will get whichever size fits you best. The dress code applies to the dress uniform. I can't find a picture of the Canadian uniform, but if you look at the American one here, you'll notice that there's a male and a female version. Men have to wear pants, women have to wear a skirt, also the hats are different. It doesn't really have much to do with the cut of the clothes or anything like that. Having gendered versions of the dress uniform is something other countries do as well and so presumably does Canada. Since there are rules for which version you have to wear based on your gender, it makes sense that they would make a rule for trans people as well.

tldr: Uniform rules aren't there because of statistics about measurements but because women are 'supposed' to wear a skirt and men are 'supposed' to wear pants (or a kilt, but I don't know if Canada has any regiments with those).

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby Shivahn » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:47 pm UTC

Joeldi wrote:Okay, so a trans person, MUST conform to the target gender's dress code. But if they are pre-op, they are more likely to fit into their original sex's clothes.


The bottom operation really doesn't matter in terms of what clothes fit, unless you're talking underwear or something. Top operations might, but it depends on the individual a ton then anyway, as two cis women are just as likely to be completely unable to wear each others' clothes.

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Re: Canadian military seems to be pretty cool, dontcha think

Postby LtNOWIS » Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:47 pm UTC

Shivahn wrote:I heard about someone (Anecdotal friend of a friend, whee!) in the Air Force who got yelled at for not having cut their hair. After the person yelling realized he was yelling at a girl, he promptly got very apologetic, red-faced, and left.

Anyway, that's a really stupid rule. If it ruins their ability to do their job there should be no exceptions, everyone should have to cut it. If it doesn't ruin their ability to do their job, there should be no exceptions, no one should be forced to cut it. It seems so pointless.


One of the primary purposes of military uniforms is to present a professional image. This is important to how people perceive the military, and how the military sees itself. If a military allowed long hair for males, unregulated beards and mustaches, facial tattoos, facial piercings, and the like, it would be harder to take it seriously. That would also demoralize people who are used to the old standards.

Essentially for hair, either allowing men to have long hair or requiring females to have male-standard short hair would tick off a large proportion of the force.

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