Hunter Davis rejected from Army based on her sexuality
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We are here to show support for Hunter Davis, a 19 year old who has been blatantly discriminated against by the Australian Army. She got to the final stage of her Officer Selection Board (OSB) with recommendation letters by many career soldiers and beating many men in all tests throughout the process, including the physical. However, at the last stage, the interview, she was told she has 'no dignity' by a high ranking female officer because of her sex life. She was told she was not Army material, and that not only did she have no respect, that no one would respect her. She is crushed, as joining the Army has been a lifelong dream. Please sign this petition to tell Lieutenant Colonel Renee Kidson (the woman who told her the above) that her actions are not indicative of the Australian Army, and not indicative of how the Australian citizenry expects their governmental organisations to behave. This is blatant discrimination, based on sex, gender and sexual practice. Hunter is a law abiding citizen who has had her reputation torn to shreds for no reason. Please sign to say that these actions aren't representative of you, and read Hunter's story in her own words below.
My name is Hunter Davis. I’m a bisexual, polyamorous woman. I’m open about my sexuality and my relationships with my partners. I’m also a full time student, and part time sex worker. I’m open about all of this on social media, a platform which has allowed me to help other young women like myself gain a better understanding of themselves and realise their own personal and sexual autonomy.
I’m also an outdoorsy type of girl who is more happy camping and four wheel driving than clubbing, and I’ve always been attracted to the idea of serving in the Army. When the Army launched a campaign to attract more women into its ranks, I believed them. As I’m a full time university student at UNE studying nursing, I applied to be in the Army Reserve. I also applied to be an Officer because I believed I had the academic qualifications and personal qualities that role required. Army recruiting agreed and my application was successful, and after passing all initial testing I was scheduled for my OSB (Officer Selection Board).
I was ecstatic, and couldn’t wait to become a Cavalry Officer–a combat role only very recently opened to women. It felt incredible to be doing something to advance the place of women in the Australian military.
On my OSB day, I truly believe I excelled. I outperformed a number of the men, not just in the mental and social exercises, but also in the physical. The feedback from the staff throughout the day was highly positive. As we approached the final activity, the OSB panel interview, I felt quietly confident.
Upon entering the room however, I quickly realised something was wrong. The first thing I was asked was if I had anything I wanted to disclose. The question took me by surprise and I genuinely answered that I didn’t have anything relating to my future service that I could think of to disclose.
After asking me the same question again and again, I was told that a search on the internet had revealed my relationship choices and sex life.
I was told that one of the core tenants of the Army is dignity and that based on my lifestyle I obviously lacked it. I was then told that my sexuality and sexual choices failed to meet the rest of the Army’s core values. That because of my sexuality my troops would never respect me, and that there was no place in the Army for someone like me.
I asked if this was Army policy and I was told by the board that it was. When I asked what policy, I was told that it’s not about policy specifically that the section board was using their discretion. I was then told the reason my application was rejected was because I was open about my sexuality and sexual choices on social media.
A board member then compared my openness about my completely legal and consenting relationships to a case of a subordinate who had spray painted homophobic slurs on the side of a church. When I pointed out that their example was both illegal property damage and a hate crime, and nothing about my lifestyle or sexual choices was illegal, I was told that it didn’t matter. There was no future for a woman like me in the Army.
A lifetime dream and six solid months of training and preparation gone. Not because I’d failed any test. Nor because I’d failed to excel at anything that had been asked of me. But because I’m a sexually confident, open, and liberated young woman who feels no shame about her life.
You know what the most tragic thing about this type of sexism is? At the head of the panel of five was a woman. The ringleader in condemning me for my sexuality was a fellow woman in a position of power. The lower ranking men in the room sat there mostly silent and nodding.
As I write this, I just feel numb. All this only happened last Sunday. The tears have ebbed away to a state of silent shock.
But now I want to know. And you want to hear it from the Chief of Army, and the Defence Minister themselves: Are women deemed unsuitable for service or leadership based on their sexuality? And if so, could they please point out the policy so we can confront the misogynistic bigots who wrote it.
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