A message from the Defence Team 2SLGBTQI+ Champion: LGBTQPHOBIAS are irrational fears
By BGen Roger Scott,
Defence Team 2SLGBTQI+ Champion
May 17 marks the International day against homophobia, transphobia, & biphobia (IDAHOBIT). Created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex people, and all of those with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics, IDAHOBIT is currently celebrated in more than 130 countries worldwide and brings together organizations and initiatives at global, regional, national, and local levels. May 17th was specifically chosen because on that date in 1990, the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The definition of phobia is: an extreme or irrational fear or aversion to something. Perhaps the words homophobia, transphobia and biphobia are, in that case, misnomers. At its root, homophobia, transphobia and biphobia aren’t necessarily about fear, but hatred – an irrational hatred.
What we know with certainty is that the CAF Ethos is not about hatred. Ethos, as quoted in Trusted to Serve, is defined as characteristic of spirit of a culture, community, or organization as manifested by its beliefs and aspirations. Hatred is not, and cannot be, a characteristic of our military.
I have been proudly serving in the DND and CAF for over 38 years and in 2022, I became the Defence Team 2SLGBTQI+ Champion. There may have been a time during my career where I considered, even briefly, that things could never change. But, now, as I work on many aspects of culture change and with the advantage of hindsight, I see that we were changing. The changes and shifts in our thinking over these decades have not been giant leaps, but rather a steady stride of progress. I have seen the shift in thinking and in behaviours. I have seen the power of allyship transform our already rich institution to one that actively promotes and encourages diversity and practices inclusion.
While we observe other areas of the world take steps backwards with acceptance, we will continue to move forward with progress. We will challenge previously accepted norms. We will remain vigilant in addressing unacceptable treatment and behaviours and will not allow for hard won rights to be eroded. We will be allies to those around us, advocate for 2SLGBTQI+ peoples, and, as indicated in our Ethos, demonstrate clear principles, values and expectations within our military culture.
So, while tomorrow marks the International day against homophobia, transphobia, & biphobia, I invite to you reflect on the importance of your allyship, and the role you play in contributing to the betterment of the DND/CAF culture and community.