Conservatives are freaking out over an Autralian Defence Force proposal that gender neutral bathrooms be installed on military bases.
The Australian Defence Force sent briefs to senior officials calling for gender neutral bathrooms to be made available where it is “feasible”, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.
“The Chain of Command must consider how to accommodate SGD members in environments where ablutions may not be segregated and or private (such as some barracks ablutions, field toilets and open communal same sex showers),” say documents released under Freedom of Information laws.
“Commanders are to manage SGD member use of ablutions on a case-by-case basis taking into account the facilities, nature of training or operations, and needs/requests of the relevant member(s) and their colleagues.
“A Defence policy covering management of individuals who do not identify as either gender is currently being developed.
“A number of units have commenced adapting or seeking to adapt their facilities to unisex in order to accommodate any combination of male, female or other gender(s) working within their units,” the documents read.
Liberal senator and noted anti-gender neutral bathroom campaigner Eric Abetz called the proposal “total nonsense”, saying that any funding used towards these inclusive policies would be better used to “keep our troops safe abroad or provide better mental health support for veterans”.
The Australian Conservatives have also jumped on the matter, the party’s Victorian senate candidate Kevin Bailey calling the policy “pathetic”.
Fellow Australian Conservatives Candidate and ex-Australian Christian Lobby head Lyle Shelton tweeted that “the gender fluid madness rolls on” on the “anniversary of Australia’s decision to de-gender marriage,” helpfully noting the convenience of having a new moral panic aimed at trans and gender diverse to stoke around the Yes anniversary.
But many users on social media responded positively to the proposal, with one saying that “having ‘gender neutral’ toilets would allow for greater number of accessible toilets at less cost.”
“There were gender neutral toilets in the Army in 1990s. Its nothing new,” another wrote.
“Out bush the Army has always been gender neutral,” one user joked. “What is more gender neutral than an entrenching tool to dig a hole & crap in?”
It’s far from the first attempt to concoct controversy around LGBTI inclusion in the armed forces this year, with the ADF having to dismiss another Daily Telegraph story as “wrong” after it was reported in August that the words “him” and “her” were being phased out of military use.
That story came hot on the heels of conservative panic over a campaign aimed at promoting gender-neutral language in Victoria.
The Australian Defence Force Academy last year admitted its first non-binary recruits, with Retired Major General Jim Molan saying that the recruits should be “welcomed”.
“If any gender can do a job, they should be welcomed.”