Message from the Champion to the Defence Team – Transgender Day of Remembrance

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As your Champion for Gender and Diversity for Operations, I encourage you all to learn about, and commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance today.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was first observed in 1999 as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, an American transgender woman murdered in 1998. It is now recognized annually to remember those who have lost their lives as a result of gender-based and transphobic violence, and draw attention to the violence LGBTQ2 communities still endure today. Around the world, candlelight vigils, church services, marches, art shows and other commemorative events are held. At these venues, the names of those lost within the last year are read.

Our Defence Team strives to create an inclusive work environment that is free from harassment and discrimination; it is a responsibility of every Defence Team member.  Our core values, set out in the Defence Team code of ethics, include a commitment to respect the dignity of all persons.  At the same time, we need to own that we have not always been open to or supportive of those in our Defence Team who are transgender.  We are learning from our past and I am proud that we are taking steps to better support our transgender members.  We have initiatives such as the Positive Space Program that fosters the creation of safe and inclusive work environments for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.  In March of this year, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) also released an internal, revised version of instructions for commanding officers to foster respect and inclusion, and end discrimination. This new policy stresses that every CAF member has the right to define their own gender identity and work in an environment free from harassment and discrimination.

I encourage everyone to learn more about these initiatives and how you can contribute to a healthy, safe and inclusive culture. I would also like to take this opportunity to invite Defence Team members to learn more about the proper terminology by visiting the GLAAD
Glossary of Terms – Transgender. This resource is highly informative and provides readers with a list of terms to avoid, as well as respectful alternatives.

The Defence Team supports all of its members, civilian and military, who are proud to serve a country that stands as a global leader on human rights issues and is committed to fostering safety, diversity and inclusion for all. 

RAdm Luc Cassivi
Co-Champion for Gender and Diversity for Operations

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