The Canadian military will review its badges, uniforms, flags and associated ceremonial activities to ensure they are welcoming to women, visible minorities, the disabled, indigenous people and members of the gay and transgender communities.
The move is part of the Canadian Armed Forces Diversity Strategy approved last May by Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance.
It is now up to the Canadian Forces to figure out how to move ahead with Vance’s strategy, and in January of this year the military produced a diversity strategy action plan, which was forwarded to the Ottawa Citizen by sources inside National Defence headquarters.
The action plan focuses on Designated Group Members, which the Canadian Forces defines as women, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities. Also included in the strategy is the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning and 2-Spirited) community. The plan includes a detailed list of initiatives the Forces can take to accommodate those members, among them:
• “Review current dress, badges, flags, music, lineages, affiliations, drill and ceremonial, etc. and ensure these customs complement and expand towards a more diverse and inclusive national military institution (Allow dress appropriate to one’s gender identity.)”...Here's the tongue-in-cheek letter I wrote in response:
When I heard that the Canadian military was looking to redesign its uniforms in order to be more "inclusive" and "allow dress appropriate to one's gender identity," one name immediately sprang to mind: Klinger.
Corporal Max Klinger, you may recall, was the cross-dressing character in 1970s TV series M*A*S*H who, in a desperate bid to flee the madness of the Korean War, took to wearing Scarlett O'Hara-like hoop skirts and other outlandish, ultra-feminine outfits. In those less "inclusive" times, a man who had a hankering to dress like a woman wasn't seen as army material, which is why Klinger, who was bucking for a Section 8--an official ruling that he was crazy and therefore unfit for military service--took to dressing that way.It's so heartening to know that, in these far more "enlightened" days, when "diversity" (though not, perhaps, sanity) has become a top priority, not only would Max Klinger's wardrobe choices not be seen as eccentric, they might actually be embraced by Canada's "inclusivity"-minded armed forces.