The Australian Defence Force has responded to a Daily Telegraph story reporting that the ADFA had labelled certain pronouns ‘gender bullying’, calling it “wrong”.
Over the weekend, The Daily Telegraph published a story on an internal ‘ADFA LGBTI Staff Guide’ which was made available last year.
The guide’s ‘command intent’ is to “ensure that all ADFA staff are provided with the knowledge and skills required to manage, train and support an increasingly diverse workforce.”
“This guide will provide a valuable resource with general information that serves to enable ADFA staff so they are better informed when making decisions regarding the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or intersex (LGBTI) community,” according to the intent written by Brigadier Cheryl Pearce.
“All ADFA personnel need to appreciate that the deliberate use of non-inclusive language, exclusion and bullying due to gender diversity are some of the behaviours which can affect LGBTI members,” the guide reads.
This was reported as suggesting that using any gendered pronoun could be inherently considered bullying, stating later that “misgendering can have a significant effect on transgender individuals.”
The ADFA today stated categorically that Cadets “are not being told that they should not use terms like him or her.”
“Reports regarding Defence requiring the use of gender-neutral language are wrong,” the statement reads.
“As was explained to the journalist prior to publishing, the Department has not, and is not intending, to issue a directive on the use of gender-neutral language.
“For example, every day ADFA cadets address their seniors as Sir and Ma’am. This has not, and is not, changing.
“There are around 80,000 personnel in the Australian Defence Force. Supervisors and commanders are required to lead teams from all walks of life, who often work, eat and sleep in close proximity for extended periods.
“Commanders must be skilled in harnessing these diverse backgrounds and experiences in their teams to deliver what is required.
“Effective teamwork is at the centre of ADF capability and it is built on respect and cohesion.
“Members of the Australian Defence Force are required to work with each other, and address each other, in a respectful manner. This includes members addressing each other by rank and using the customary military compliments,” it concludes.
Ex-Australian Christian Lobby head Lyle Shelton jumped on the story, tweeting, “We fed the crocodile by capitulating to its demands to de-gender marriage. Now the PC police are eating our military. This madness must stop.”
This particular confected outrage comes just a week after conservatives melted down over the Victorian Government inclusion initiative, ‘They Day’.