Taxpayers’ $1m bill for soldier sex change ops
The Defence Force has charged taxpayers more than $1 million to pay for sex-change surgeries and provide treatment for personnel experiencing gender dysphoria.
Freedom of Information documents released this week by the ADF revealed that from November 2012 to last March, there were 27 ADF members who received treatment for gender dysphoria.
Seventeen ADF members had sex-change surgery — 10 being male-to-female reassignments — with the total cost amounting to $1,052,330, not including pharmaceuticals dispensed by the Defence Force.
Internal Defence advice from July also confirmed there is no existing policy on the management of transgender ADF members “aside from medical policy”.
“This is because transgender and transitioning members are administratively treated as their affirmed gender of male or female,” the advice said.
“Any ADF candidate with gender dysphoria is assessed by Defence Force Recruiting on an individual basis, against the inherent requirements of service and in accordance with the
Defence Health manual.” The advice also revealed that a previous policy on transgender personnel had been cancelled in June 2010 because it gave “inappropriate discretionary power” to commanding officers to consider discharge where “behaviour in identifying as the opposite gender ... could have serious consequences upon operational effectiveness, cohesion, morale and discipline”.
One of the key issues detailed in the documents is that transgender members are likely to be non-deployable for some time — the length of which will vary in each case including for psychological counselling.
A document titled “Navy Comments, Transgender” from last January, also covered several key challenges posed by transgender personnel, including the use of key facilities such as toilets and bathrooms.
It noted that those undergoing gender transitioning would “not be posted to ships”. While this meant “messing issues are not a problem at sea”, the document warned that “returning to sea post-transition (especially if the member does not undergo surgical reassignment) presents a range of challenges for the individual and the organisation”.
“A transitioning person may choose to use separate facilities such as an accessible toilet for disabled people,’’ the navy document says.
“However, it will be discriminatory to insist that the transitioning person permanently use facilities for the disabled.
“Should the situation arise where open communal samesex showers are the only showers available ... the transitioning person and their commander or manager should discuss and agree upon an appropriate arrangement.”
Last month Defence confirmed gender-neutral personnel could face restrictions from key roles under moves to obtain special exemptions from sex discrimination laws.
Defence revealed it was considering reinstating an exemption to the Sex Discrimination Act after The Australian revealed an Australian Defence Force Academy cadet had claimed gender neutrality — also identified as gender X status — which under national guidelines refers to a person who is of a “nonbinary gender”.
Bernard Gaynor, an Iraq War veteran sacked from the Army Reserves for criticising gender and sexuality diversity policies, said yesterday the documents highlighted the “sheer scale of bureaucratic Twister playing out inside Defence over rainbow inclusion”.