What's next? Transgender ranks? the other 30 genders? How about black ranks?
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MONTREAL — When Josée Payeur joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2001, the Quebec woman felt that people who occasionally used the unofficial feminine version of her rank when addressing her in French were trying to belittle her.
"It happened a couple of times in the past that somebody called me by the feminine version of my rank, and it felt like an insult," Payeur said in an interview Monday.
"What I experienced the most as a woman in the military was to not be taken seriously. It’s always really subtle, micro-aggression … little jokes always close to being inappropriate."
But as of last week, the French versions of all military ranks for the first time have official feminine equivalents, and Payeur, a warrant officer, said she couldn't be prouder. Instead of being "un adjudant" in French, Payeur is now "une adjudante," a subtle but significant difference.
Maj.-Gen. Lise Bourgon pushed for the change as acting chief of military personnel. She said the move away from exclusively masculine terminology is aimed at ensuring members have options and can be addressed in a way that reflects who they are.
"I’ve felt through my entire career that I didn’t always fit in,” said Bourgon, who's been in the military for 34 years. “I had to use a masculine term to represent myself. That’s not who I am, not the gender that I’m comfortable with."
Up until this month, inclusive ranks in French had not been implemented in the Canadian military, and all members could only be officially addressed by the masculine rank. The feminine equivalents take a feminine article and typically have a minor change at the end of the word, for example "colonelle" instead of "colonel" and "lieutenante" instead of "lieutenant."