Statement on ADF personnel who identify as gender x
22 September 2017
Defence has a duty of care to all its employees both in Australia and when they are deployed on operations overseas.
In accordance with the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 which was amended in 2013 and the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, which commenced in July 2013, ADF personnel now have the opportunity to identify themselves as gender X if they choose to do so. Only a very small number of ADF personnel have chosen to identify themselves to Defence.
Defence is examining the policy framework that would apply to gender X members of the ADF to ensure that military operations and training can be conducted effectively.
Over the past two months, Defence has been actively considering its policy position in relation to ADF personnel who identify themselves as gender X.
An essential part of this consideration is whether the ADF can practically ensure the welfare of individuals, meet its obligations regarding non-discrimination and achieve its military mission.
Given the unique operational requirements of military service, the Government and Defence are currently considering the need for an exemption to the Act and the guidelines, as they apply to gender X only.
Defence is in the process of finalising its policy. In doing so, Defence will consult with the Attorney-General’s Department which includes the Australian Human Rights Commission.
This consultation will assist in determining Defence’s next course of action.