Transgender Awareness Week – Champion’s Message
November 12, 2021 - Defence Stories
Transgender Awareness Week, also known as Trans Awareness Week, is observed every year from November 13-19 and leads up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20—a day to memorialize victims of transphobic violence. November 20 was originally a vigil to honour Rita Hester, a trans woman who was murdered in 1998. Now this day represents a time to honour those lives lost to transphobic violence every year. As a Defence Team, we remember those trans and gender diverse people who have lost their lives to transphobic violence.
The Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) envisions a Defence Team that is free from harassment and discrimination. All members deserve to feel safe and be treated with dignity and respect. It saddens me to say that there are people who do not yet feel safe coming to work as their authentic self. To this end, I recommend visiting the GLAAD website, Tips for Allies of Transgender People (you are now leaving the Government of Canada website), for more information on how to become a more supportive colleague, supervisor, peer, friend and ally to members of the trans community.
Trans Awareness Week is also a chance to learn more about the experiences of trans and gender diverse people. I encourage everyone to take time to learn and better recognize systemic barriers that trans and gender diverse people continue to face when presented with policies, programs and initiatives. The DND/CAF is committed to building a Defence Team that reflects Canadian ideals of diversity, respect and inclusion. Respect and inclusion are everyone’s responsibility to ensure that diversity—and this includes gender diversity—is a strength that is essential to our military’s operational effectiveness and long-term success.
I encourage teammates throughout the Defence Team to research, reflect, and learn more about inclusion, the experiences of trans and gender diverse people, and to honour lives lost to transphobic violence.
RAdm Luc Cassivi
Champion, Defence Team Pride Advisory Organization (DTPAO)
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