Transgender policy in the Australian Defence Force : Medicalization and its discontents

Journal article


Riseman, Noah. (2016). Transgender policy in the Australian Defence Force : Medicalization and its discontents. International Journal of Transgenderism. 17(3-4), pp. 141-154. https://doi.org/10.1080/15532739.2016.1227759
AuthorsRiseman, Noah
Abstract

In 2010, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) repealed a Defence Instruction that had effectively barred transgender people from serving. Transgender personnel have slowly been coming out since 2010, positioning Australia as an international leader in terms of recognizing the contribution that transgender and gender diverse people can make to military institutions. Yet ADF documents, media reports, and the testimonies of transgender personnel, past and present, suggest a more complex picture of evolving ADF policies toward transgender personnel. This article traces the history of ADF policies toward transgender service and focuses on the medical frameworks deployed. Repealing the ban on transgender service in 2010 left what was essentially a policy vacuum, and gradually medical regulations have filled that void. Medicalized understandings of gender dysphoria (as distinct from transgender identity) had the potential to support transgender personnel through health benefits not available to civilian Australians. Yet as policies evolved, the ADF developed directives around particular treatments for gender dysphoria, adopting subjective time frames and medical downgrades and restricting transition options. So while ADF rhetoric has emphasized diversity and transgender (among LGBTI) inclusion within the ADF, gradually the medicalized approach to transgenderism has disempowered and restricted transgender service members' opportunities.

Year2016
JournalInternational Journal of Transgenderism
Journal citation17 (3-4), pp. 141-154
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN1434-4599
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/15532739.2016.1227759
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84988589020
Open accessPublished as green open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range141-154
Research GroupSchool of Arts
Author's accepted manuscript
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Open
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
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This record includes an authors accepted manuscript. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Transgenderism on 23 September 2016, available online:http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/15532739.2016.1227759

Place of publicationUnited States of America
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