Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor, formerly Malcolm, is the highest-ranked transgender person in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and serves as speechwriter to the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison.
McGregor wrote Morrison’s now-famous speech in response to an email ring scandal that implicated dozens of high-ranking Army personnel in activity that degraded female officers. The speech, which Morrison delivered on Youtube, went viral and refocused accusations of misogyny within the ADF fuelled by several similar high-profile incidents.
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Speaking on One Plus One, a weekly interview program on the ABC, McGregor told interviewer Jane Hutcheon that she had offered to resign if her transition would cause the Army embarrassment, but that Morrison had “insisted” she stay on as his speechwriter.
McGregor recounted her experiences of gender transition, saying that telling her wife was “ the hardest conversation I have ever had with another human being”.
“She had watched with growing alarm and sadness as I struggled with something that I couldn’t put a name on and it was distressing in the extreme for her. She’s experienced terrible loss in this in that she’s seen a husband essentially die but not had the closure of a funeral. But we get on very well. We’re soulmates, we’re very, very close and she’s the most wonderful person I’ve ever met,” McGregor said.
McGregor came out publicly as a woman in December 2012 after securing the support of the ADF to continue her employment. The army allowed McGregor several months leave to undergo hormone therapy and the transition process. McGregor told the Sun-Herald at the time that the Army had treated her with “enormous decency”.