Two former Australian Defence Force Academy cadets are claiming they were discriminated over their transgender status.
Reading the article in the link may be difficult for some readers, this is due to the fact that the Sydney Morning Herald is quite imprecise in the language used throughout. Depending on one’s point of view, this confusion may be thought to be due to either a genuine desire to be sympathetic to the two subjects OR to deliberately cloud the truth.
After some re-reading, it becomes clear that a female (now called Joel) and male (now called Sarah) both joined the Australian armed forces as a woman and a man. Quite soon afterwards, they announced that they were “transitioning” to the opposite gender.
It should come to no surprise to anyone who has ever met a human that this this caused significant issues for all concerned.
For example, the woman now known as Joel found the physical training regime of her male colleagues somewhat inconvenient, as she was the only one running around with a large pair of functioning mammary glands tightly strapped to her chest. It takes some re-reading to realise that the issue was due to the fact that she was training alongside men, not women. It’s not clear from the article whose choice that was.
The selected quotes throughout the article reek of cognitive dissonance or at least an unhealthy lack of self-awareness.
“I don’t know what person in their right mind would think, ‘oh great, I’ll join the Defence Force for a free transition’.”
“It would be much easier to work in a civilian capacity and save money and transition than it ever would socially to try and transition in Defence.”
Or, in English, “I joined an organisation which demands the highest physical strength, fitness and discipline standards along with a strong esprit de corps resulting in a lethal and highly-effective defence service to the nation. Apparently, being confused about one’s gender dilutes this somewhat“.
The man now know as Sarah seems similarly confused about the purpose of the military;
Miss Bowley said when she joined the ADF in 2011 she was overcompensating with extreme masculinity.
“I was so masculine I was described as the epitome of aggression,” Miss Bowley said.
“I went so far to prove to everyone and myself that I was masculine.”
But that changed after she attempted suicide twice.
Again, this might be translated in to vernacular English along the following lines, “Imagine my surprise to discover my employer was less than impressed, after hiring me in part due to my aggression, to discover I wanted to wear dresses and be known as Miss Sarah. Unreasonably, they felt this might be an unhelpful diversion in the field of combat“.
This is quite an interesting point and one which our diligent journalist, Kimberley Le Lievre, has either accidentally missed or deliberately missed;
Both Miss Bowley and Mr Wilson were medically downgraded against their wishes and despite their physical ability. A spokeswoman for Defence said members who were transitioning gender were not automatically downgraded.
Sounds terribly unfair, doesn’t it? Except, at the time, transgenderism had its own DSM-5 category as it was considered primarily a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. This was amended in May 2013 to merge the categories of transgender and depression to infer that people who are transgender and depressed are depressed regardless of their transgenderness not necessarily because of it. Regardless of where one stands on this assertion, it’s clear the Australia Defence Force were acting on current medical advice by diagnosing both subjects as medically-unfit.
Another hilarious quote;
“You might identify as male but you might say ‘hang on a minute, I don’t fit all of those’. That’s going to lead you to question things.”
Again, the last thing a fighting unit requires in battle is someone who is living in an existential flux status. You want to trust the person fighting next to you implicitly, if you know they don’t feel comfortable in their skin, one assumes that trust is going to be reduced.
“Any organisation that has more diversity does better.”
That’s a claim with highly-dubious scientific sources but, even if proven correct in the world of commerce or pubic sector administration, I’d be willing to bet the defence budget on the fact that there isn’t a single corroborating study for fighting forces, especially ones that have fired live rounds any time recently.
Lastly, this gem;
“It was the scariest thing I’ve done, to be honest,” he said, of coming out while in the defence force.
Let’s have a moment’s silence for those who gave their lives on the Normandy Beaches while we consider the relative scariness of experience.
Being transgender is a personal tragedy for those concerned. The suicide rates within that demographic are the highest in society and do not drop for those who have the reassignment surgery.
These people should be supported and helped but with the realisation that, but for a recent capitulation by the APA, the professional opinion was agreed that they were suffering from a mental disorder, not some magical third gender yet to be explained by science.
Let’s support these people but for fuck’s sake keep them away from live weapons and in no way give them responsibility for the defence of anything so important as national security.