It’s not been a good day for the Australian Defence Force.
First up, it has been revealed that basically everything known about our newest Navy ships and Air Force jets has been handed over to a hacker.
And now it’s been revealed that basically the entire senior leadership of the military doesn’t care anyway because they are knee deep in briefing notes about transgender soldiers and sex change operations.
A treasure trove of over 70 documents detailing the senior command’s approach to transgender military service has just been released under freedom of information laws.
They show that there are only 27 transgender Defence personnel in the entire Australian Defence Force.
Despite this, since 2015 Defence has worked up umpteen documents relating to transgender service including:
- 20 x Senate Estimates Brief
- 9 x Ministerial advice briefing notes
- 7 x Ministerial talking points
- 2 x Media releases
- Service newspaper articles
- A ‘Public Affairs Plan’
- A ‘Communications Strategies’
- A ‘Communications Plan’
- A ‘Diversity Communication Strategy’
- A response to Questions on Notice
- 2 x Quarterly Diversity and Inclusion Papers
- 3 x DEFGRAMs
In between all of that, Defence also managed to:
- Establish a Defence Gender Equality Advisory Board
- Establish an Army Gender and Diversity Executive Council
- Establish a Defence Pride network
- Commence planning for Defence Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex Employee Network
- Propose a Defence LGBTI Ambassador Network
- Appoint LGBTI Strategic Advisors
- Appoint multiple LGBTI champions to the Senior Leadership Group
- Brief Defence Force Recruiting
- Deliver presentations to Australian Defence Force Academy officer cadets titled ‘Let’s talk gender’
- Hold stakeholder consultation
- Sit in on AHRC presentations
- Support university research into LGBT military history
- Participate in LGBT workplace accreditation programs
- And even answer questions from the United States about what the hell this all means
And that’s not enough because Defence has also:
- Organised support for DEFGLIS dinners
- Participated formally in the Mardi Gras
- Held Wear it Purple Days
- Celebrated IDAHOT Days
All of this requires planning, briefings, travel, funding and a myriad of other bureaucratic support.
Fortunately, Defence somehow managed to juggle all of these events and still begin surveying soldiers on their LGBT preferences, support an Inspector General review into the ADF’s Equity and Diversity Program and even send a number of busy officers to Washington so that they could attend a conference on transgender military service.
And finally, Defence released some policies:
- Air Force Diversity Handbook: Transitioning Gender in the Air Force
- Army Forces Command Directive 49/17: Sex and Gender Diverse Members
- Diversity and Inclusion in Defence
- Navy Diversity Handbook Gender Transition and Sea Postings
- ADFA LGBTI Guide
- Health Directive 234
Despite all of this effort, some bright spark still managed to write these words about the whole transgender policy and action shindig on 28 July this year:
It is straight out of Yes Minister.
Three years of effort, hundreds of documents, countless committee meetings and numerous actual policies and the Minister for Defence is still receiving written briefings that there are no ‘official’ policies on transgender members (apart from a medical policy which has not been released publicly) because in some fictional universe of equality they are treated exactly the same as everyone else, even though the reality is completely different.
However, in the most delicious irony of all, the actual ‘guide’ that the Minister was informed about in the briefing above, Understanding Transitioning Gender in the Workplace (which sounds an awful lot like a policy document by the way) was written before any of this shebang started in 2015. And that document is publicly available on the website of the political lobby group DEFGLIS anyway.
All of this effort is for just 27 transgender Defence members.
Defence is worried about them when it should be concerned about other, more important things. Like how its F-35 data is now being whisked away to some foreign government’s underground bunker of analysis.
Hopefully the bad guys got the transgender policies too. They’ll either be entirely confused by them or drop dead laughing.
And this brings us to the title of this article.
What can you buy for $1,052,330?
The answer is not much. Just 17 sex change operations.
And that question is wrong anyway.
It costs a lot more than $1,052,330 just to get that.
This figure does not include daily pharmaceutical requirements so that transgender soldiers who have left their ‘biologically assigned’ gender can ‘live truthfully’. The truth is that the body does not recognise the fiction of sex change operations, hence the reason hormones must be provided in a taxpayer-funded bottle.
This figure does not include the cost of ‘transition’ leave. The documents released under FOI show that this can sometimes take up to two and a half years and then require ongoing support and counselling. US analysis shows that the average transgender soldier is unable to deploy for 238 days after surgery (if they deploy at all).
This figure does not include the likelihood that Defence has lost about 11 years of effective military service since it started dabbling in sex change surgery.
And, most of all, this figure does not include the cost of having the entire military hierarchy give up their day jobs and waste time, effort and resources developing policies that are not policies for just 27 people.
The truth is that the actual cost of 27 transgender Defence members has run well past just a cool million.
But who cares when it’s someone else’s money? And who’s counting when you can simply chant over and over again that diversity increases capability…
I’ve read every single document in the FOI release and there is much more to come.
You can find the source documents here but I will bring you key details over the coming days.