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Canada’s armed forces to ditch gendered uniforms to make sure all members are ‘safe and protected’

Josh Milton January 8, 2022
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Members of the Canadian Forces salute

Members of the Canadian Forces salute. (Brent Just/Getty Images)

Canada’s armed forces are to ditch gendered uniforms and allow service members to choose the get-up “most comfortable” to them.

The Department of National Defence is to bring in genderless uniforms for Canadian Armed Forces troops, according to a memo obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter, a news outlet that covers the nitty-gritty of government goings-on.

The briefing note, called “Diversity and Inclusion”, said new uniform guidelines will do away with gender-specific accessories such as the bowler cap, long seen on women in the Navy.

Overall, the new guidelines will “eliminate binary uniform and appearance choices” and let non-binary soldiers, sailors and aircrew pick and choose their clothing.

Defence Department vows to ensure all personnel ‘feel safe and protected’

Department officials told Blacklock’s Reporter that it’s unclear when the new dress code will be rolled out.

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

A 2016 Statistics Canada questionnaire commissioned by the Canadian military found that of the 104,000 personnel at the time, 0.2 per cent, or roughly 200, said they are trans.

The move follows the Canadian Coast Guard similarly throwing away gendered clothing categories in its uniform catalogue.

Since 2020, all labels on coast guard uniforms are now gender-neutral. The styles are simply labelled “A” or “B”.

Canada, long something of a standard-bearer in equality laws, recently banned conversion therapy.

Following several failed attempts, government ministers rolled out proposals which they said would make Canada’s protections against conversion therapy among the most robust in the world.

With the law going into effect Friday (7 January), prime minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau tweeted: “As of today, it’s official: Conversion therapy is banned in Canada.

“Our government’s legislation has come into force – which means it is now illegal to promote, advertise, benefit from, or subject someone to this hateful and harmful practice.

“LGBTQ2 rights are human rights.”

More: Canada

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