THE Australian Defence Force is currently reviewing its options in light of Bernard Gaynor’s Federal Court appeal win over his dismissal last year for making homophobic and transphobic comments.
A former Major, Gaynor was sacked in 2014 after publicly attacking efforts made by the ADF to promote LGBTI inclusion and for personal insults directed towards Air Force Group Captain and high profile-trans woman Cate McGregor.
In addition, Gaynor said the participation of uniformed ADF members in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade meant the army was “actively discriminatory against Christian members who make public comments about their faith”.
“Defence gave approval for its proud uniform to be paraded through the streets of Sydney during the Mardi Gras, sharing the road with pimps, prostitutes and purveyors of moral decadence,” Gaynor wrote on social media.
Gaynor has gone as far as to liken the annual celebration of the LGBTI community to child abuse.
“If you then knew that on this excursion [to Mardi Gras] my children would be exposed to nudity, sexually explicit activity and groups promoting sado-masochistic homosexual practices and clad in leather like they were about to begin, you would probably think about calling in the child protection agency,” Gaynor said on his website.
The reservist, who now will be reinstated in the ADF after the Federal Court appeal, also has a history of waging personal attacks on McGregor via social media, once accusing her of being a “full-time cross dresser”.
In his decision, Federal Court judge John Buchanan found Gaynor had made his remarks not in his capacity as an Army reservist and was sacked for “publication of his private views about political matters”.
Buchanan also found Gaynor’s comments were made in a personal capacity and supported by a right to freedom of political communication.
“The fact that those publications were at variance with ADF or government policy… does not appear to me to be sufficiently connected with any legitimate legislative aim to displace the freedom of political communication implied in the constitution,” Buchanan said.
The ADF believed Gaynor’s comments at the time were at odds with military rules on conduct.
There is an ADF ban placed on posting material on social media that is offensive towards any group based on personal attributes including gender, religion or race.
Speaking to the Star Observer, an ADF spokesperson said they were reviewing the outcome of Gaynor’s appeal: “The Federal Court’s decision is currently being examined. No further comment would be appropriate until the decision and its implications have been fully considered.”
Gaynor thanked “normal Australians who helped fund my case” and that the court had “preserved free speech”.