Canada: First trans military chaplain suspended for sexual misconduct

A Defense Department spokeswoman explained that Beatrice Gale had made an inappropriate comment to another person.

Beatrice Gale, the first transgender chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and a member of the Royal Military College, has been suspended from service for sexual misconduct. Gale was born as a male but identifies as female. The information was confirmed by True North, who spoke with sources from the Department of National Defense.

According to the information, Gale allegedly made an inappropriate comment to another individual. According to a source familiar with the matter who spoke with True North, Gale asked to grope a lieutenant's buttocks.

“This incident stems from an inappropriate comment or request to another individual. Neither member was in a position of authority over the other,” Defense Department spokesperson Andrée-Anne Poulin told True North. However, Poulin did not confirm what the comment was that led to Gale's suspension.

The mandate for Captain Gale to serve as a Canadian military chaplain remains suspended. The Chaplain General will consider the implications of the summary hearing’s outcome to determine if additional administrative actions within their authority are required

In addition, it was learned that the sanction for Gale was two days of deducted salary and the elimination of 20 days of leave. Gale now has administrative duties, but remains at the Royal Military College.

'Chaplains at the Royal Military College offer spiritual and religious care'

It was also learned that the Canadian Armed Forces had not referred the case to civilian police, as they have previously done in similar situations of sexual assault or harassment. When questioned by True North about the matter, the department explained that the Military Police decided not to do so to protect the interests of the victims.

"The Military Police (MP) conducted a detailed and thorough investigation into this matter, and after consultation with the Crown, the MP determined that the evidence gathered did not meet the threshold for criminal charges," Poulin said.

Furthermore, The North detailed that "the CAF has decided to withhold the record of Gale’s summary hearing, citing privacy grounds. According to military rules, a summary hearing 'is to be held in public' except if the conducting officer believes 'information affecting a person’s privacy or security interest, if that interest outweighs the public’s interest in the information.'"

Chaplains at the Royal Military College offer spiritual and religious care for CAF members as well as cadets studying at the institution. Part of their role includes facilitating religious services and counselling members seeking advice on religious, ethical or moral issues. The types of problems chaplains deal with include grief, addiction, suicidal thoughts, abuse and family problems. 

Canadian Armed Forces praises the chaplain

Gale's suspension comes almost a month after the Canadian Armed Forces praised Gale for becoming Canada's first transgender chaplain. "Contributions like those of Chaplain (Captain) Gale, the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) first openly transgender chaplain, who has been generous and candid about her coming out journey, are important," the Canadian Armed Forces wrote on its official page to commemorate Transgender Day of Visibility.

The Armed Forces also published a video in 2023 with a story about Gale's transition. Gale, who had a wife and children, apologized to them for deceiving them for so long about the matter.

"Chaplain Gale has been a vocal advocate for the rights of transgender members in uniform. Her efforts resulted in policy changes that contributed to more inclusive gender-affirming medical care for CAF members," the Canadian Armed Forces added.

In addition, the Armed Forces assured that "diversity and inclusion are vital to creating an organization which meets the needs of all Canadians and those who rely on its services. Greater diversity and inclusivity enrich the workplace and enable us to leverage the range of perspectives and expertise needed to address today’s complex challenges.”