A few months after Ottawa’s apology to former LGBT soldiers, a Brantford woman claims that the Canadian military refused her request to join the Reserve because she is transgender.
The military says it does not accept people who are in the middle of their transition. Kennedy McArthur and his doctor argue, however, that his transition is complete.
The 24-year-old had the idea of joining the 56th Brantford Field Artillery Regiment last summer, following Donald Trump’s announcement to ban transgender people from the US military.
Shortly after, the Canadian Armed Forces started a social media campaign to recruit people from the LGBTQ community.
I thought, I’m going to prove that I’m capable. And I passed all the tests one after the other, “she says.
In December, after months of physical and psychological testing, Kennedy McArthur received a denial letter.
The letter, which she shared with CBC News: “The information you have provided indicates that you have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria for which you need medication (Estradiol). We regret to inform you that this does not respect the principles of universality of service and, therefore, the common medical registration standards described above.”
I was pretty devastated. I invested a lot of time in this process.
Her doctor, physician Carys Massarella, herself a trans woman, is blown away by this refusal.
“In my opinion, there is no reason, from a medical point of view, to reject Kennedy,” she says.
Captain Hooman Shirazi, Director of Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment for Southern Ontario, says “confidentiality concerns” prevent him from talking about McArthur’s case.
He adds, however, that the military accepts transgender people, but that they must have completed their transition and no longer take hormones.
This statement, however, seems to contradict many testimonials from people who made their transition into service, such as this one in Maclean’s magazine.
Kennedy McArthur said she contacted the medical recruitment office to appeal the decision. She was told that she could only be accepted if her doctor offered written proof that she “no longer needed her medication”
But according to Dr. Massarella, it would be impossible for her to do without it.
“Most transgender people will tell you that they prefer to be dead rather than not taking their hormones. It’s really a question of life and death.