Early in the year Lt Col Malcolm McGregor went to a Sydney doctor and ordered him to, “Completely eliminate this man.”

From Malcolm to Cate. Pic: Supplied. Source: Herald Sun

The man was himself, and the order was obeyed.

Now, Lt Col Catherine ‘Cate’ McGregor is in his place as a brilliant and important thinker and political strategist in the Australian Army. She also is one of about six members of the Defence force who have undergone a gender change and are still serving. Ostensibly the only alteration has been in the cut of the uniform and the replacement of “sir” with “ma’am”. She is part of a band of brothers…and sisters.

But there was no glib transition for Cate, no painless segue. Nor has there been an easy transition for his loving and much loved wife.

At one point Cate told me in an email, “Fuck it’s happening to me and I am still disorientated.” We have known each other for around 25 years and last met as two men at the Canberra Dawn Service last ANZAC Day.

More recently, she collected herself to reveal her sense of humour remained strong.

“Actually mate in the best tradition of the Australian Army I have become Cate - or mate which represents the amalgam of mate and Cate,” she said.

I don’t know about others, but having a friend change gender is not a common event in my life. Having that friend announce the long-yearned change in a cricket book is, I will venture, unique.

The book, a beautifully written and thoughtful diary of the last Indian tour of Australia, The Indian Summer of Cricket, looked destined to have a finely crafted, calibrated, and reflective conclusion, positioning the author on the state of the game today.

The final dig, Chapter 11, did a lot more.

It said in part: “Over the course of this summer some deep and troubling psychiatric issues returned with an alarming intensity. I had actually been diagnosed as transgendered in 1985, but resolved to repress it and man up”.

In the light of its recurrence I frankly do not know how I completed this manuscript. The summer sped past me in a disorientating blur of panic attacks and lack of sleep that fuelled thoughts of suicide. Eventually I decided to end the agony the only way that seemed to offer peace and fulfilment in my remaining years.

The book, to be launched on November 24 by Cate’s friend and boss, head of the Army Lt Gen David Morrison, is about cricket and that is the only basis for judging it. And it is well worth reading to reach that judgement.

In mid-October we met for coffee at a Yarralumla cafe. I did not recognise the Army officer in skirt, lipstick and stockings who joined me at the table.

But as soon as the conversation started the person I had known for a quarter of a century was obvious - the clever insights, the jokes, the energy. And the courage.

She apologised for monopolising the talk. “Mate I can’t top this. Keep going,” I replied.

I was pleased to have had the chance to talk to Cate. I hope the chat, so minor an event in her recent life, helped convince her friends would stay friends. Many others have readily given the same assurance.

We hugged just before taking separate paths to our cars. I was surprised how quickly I had accepted her change, as I remember saying to myself back in my office, “Cate wears too much perfume.”

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDST.

Most commented


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    • Christine says:

      07:09am | 12/11/12

      Thank you Malcolm for reinforcing the reality that difference is everywhere, everytime, every culture, every demographic.  Thank you for sticking by your mate regardless.

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:17am | 12/11/12

      Strange, isn’t it, when an organisation so routinely blasted in the media for its backwards, traditional and hide-bound mysoginism somehow managed to incorporate Cate into its ranks with nary a whimper.

      Good article.

    • James says:

      07:54am | 12/11/12

      The most important question regarding the ADF is whether changes in policy (acceptance of women, homosexuals, transsexuals and other victim groups) leads to a more or less effective ADF.

      Given the function of the military, anything changes that could possibly undermine its ability to fight and win is in my books a bad change. Allowing victim groups into the military is a bad change.

    • Middo says:

      09:21am | 12/11/12

      Good question James.

      As someone who has served in the ADF from the time when homosexuality was illegal through to the present day where sexuality is largely irrelevant, I can say that the only useful question is ‘can you do the job?’. I’ve yet to come across someone from your so-called victim groups who can’t. Nor have I seen any negative outcomes on morale, unit cohesiveness or esprit de corps.

    • James says:

      09:30am | 12/11/12

      I would disagree, Middo.

      HMAS Success
      IDF taking women off front lines.
      Various US military issues.

      Moreover, just because you did not encounter these issues or consider them issue does not mean they do not exist. I have had significant interaction with ADF personnel and am aware of attitudes towards women even if it is not spoken aloud.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      09:45am | 12/11/12

      @James: Well I’ve been C130’s that were flown/captained by females, sorry victim groups. They flew really well, who would have thought it. One of the units I was at had a gay pilot, he was well regarded as one of the very best we had, who would have thunk such a thing eh!! Crazy, crazy times!!!

      I’ve worked with more then a few women and homosexual people in the ADF in my 20years and they were all well capable of doing the job, another revelation I know!! Oh the horror of reality is shocking sometimes isn’t it!!

      I’ll bet your just scared you couldn’t perform at their level of competency, you know beaten by a girl and all that.

    • Kay says:

      10:13am | 12/11/12

      ‘victim groups’ have always (and will always) be in the armed forces, political office, preparing your meals out, managing your money, etc.  The majority of these people can do their job and do their job well.  Why label them as ‘victim groups’?  And where does the criteria to be in this group end?  Is it just gender based?
      How about labelling people “can do job” or “cannot do job”.  The reason
      ‘...attitudes towards women even if it is not spoken aloud.’ continue is because people continue to refer to groups of people, like this case, as ‘victim groups’.

    • James says:

      10:36am | 12/11/12

      Listen, just because I point out issues that do exist as a result of human nature doesn’t mean I am worried a woman or a homosexual could perform a job better than me. Instead of trying to shame me with some sort of little penis syndrome why not just relax and address the points? 

      My referal to “victim groups” is a criticism of the need for people to constantly see them as such, so in essence I agree with you Kay. But seemingly everyone on the punch has a hair trigger for outrage.

      But whether or not they can and do perform jobs just as well as anyone else and that YOU personally have no issue as long as they do the job, doesn’t mean that is a shared view by all!

    • Kay says:

      11:08am | 12/11/12

      My post wasn’t full of outrage and I thought I did touch on, if not address at least one valid point…
      “But whether or not they can and do perform jobs just as well as anyone else and that YOU personally have no issue as long as they do the job, doesn’t mean that is a shared view by all!”
      No, you are right, this view does not have to be shared by all - but aren’t we getting a bit ‘too much into things that aren’t our business” if we question beyond a person’s ability to do their job?  If a job is being done well - why does anything else matter???

    • Middo says:

      12:10pm | 12/11/12

      You haven’t described the nexus between the introduction of so-called victim groups and deterioration in operational capability. What you have described are the outdated views of ill-educated and cowardly members of the ADF, who are - thankfully, in the extreme minority. For the rest of us in the military who are overwhelmingly the majority, serving alongside women, homosexuals and yes, even trans-sexuals, is a non-issue. Please let me know what other ‘victims groups’ you are referring to.

      The incidents from the ADF you’ve attempted to cite in support of your argument are all incidents of inappropriate behaviour. These are not the fault of the women involved, but of the thick-headed and wrong actions of the perpetrators. You’re using the same illogical argument as those who say that rape is the fault of the victim when attempting to blame these incidents on the presence of women in the military.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      12:22pm | 12/11/12

      @James: “Listen, just because I point out issues that do exist as a result of human nature”

      Ah, that old chest nut. I’ve heard that time and time again. Men are stronger so they can do heavy lifting and withstand G’s better etc,etc. My experience of 20 years in the RAAF in aircraft maintenance just doesn’t support the human nature catch cry. There are many stories of the successes of women in combat roles, have a look at Kim Campbell who was an A10 pilot, Nancy Wake, aka The White Mouse, also comes to mind.

      “But seemingly everyone on the punch has a hair trigger for outrage.”

      Yes an argument I’ve seen from quite a few when their opinions are opposed by others. You pigeon holed select groups in your first post and sighted them as points of weakness within the ADF. Then your upset when others point out the flaw in your argument and try to defend yourself by pointing out a few select issues, (ADFA, Success etc). There are a myriad of successful stories in the ADF regarding your victim groups, please don’t try to pull them down because of your own prejudices.

      “But whether or not they can and do perform jobs just as well as anyone else and that YOU personally have no issue as long as they do the job, doesn’t mean that is a shared view by all! “

      The only measure should be if they can perform the job or not. People should not be restricted in their endeavors because you have a narrow view point.

    • Ali says:

      07:51am | 12/11/12

      Beautiful piece Mal. So good to see friends supporting Cate in what must be an incredibly difficult transition.
      I once worked with a fellow who came to work as a man, but lived life at home as a woman. We didn’t know until one night he invited a three of us (all women) from work around for dinner. When he opened the door it was quite a surprise, but I always remember thinking how brave it was for him to share that part of his life with us. It was humbling and an honour.
      I’m so pleased to see Cate still accepted in the military.

    • Gregg says:

      07:51am | 12/11/12

      Some people do have very different lives Malcolm and for Cate that had also meant some difficulties which we hope are now consigned to the past.

      What does seem a little odd for our armed forces however is that first they allow an officer to take leave to write a book on a personal interest and then we have the Chief of the Army launching the book.
      Do we not have an army with reduced funding needing the full attention of it’s officers and the most senior one at that.

    • TheRealDave says:

      09:25am | 12/11/12

      Launching a book takes all of what….lets be generous and say half a day. I’m sure we won’t get invaded by Kamarians in that time….while we are down 1 man….

    • Jay2 says:

      08:02am | 12/11/12

      I don’t really give a rats what a consenting adult does, but honestly at the risk of sounding un pc, it would throw me for a loop if somebody I’d worked with as a woman/man for yonks, turned up as the opposite gender because I would honestly be curious into the “When did you feel like this?  And ....was it bloody painful?
      @obber, yep, pretty much my thoughts.

    • lj says:

      08:43am | 12/11/12

      what a beautiful, sensitively written piece…..  thank you

    • Aly says:

      08:51am | 12/11/12

      Great article. Good to read about Cate’s acceptance in both her personal and professional life.

    • Gordon says:

      09:38am | 12/11/12

      agreed, It must have taken a deal of courage & self-belief so I hope it works out.

      Nice job on the ears anyway!

    • scott says:

      09:07am | 12/11/12

      I find this story totally bizarre.  And in my unqualified opinion, believe that transexuals are just homosexuals with mutilated genitals.

      I find the whole sex change procedure to be totally unnecessary.  The important, defining characteristics of a person are between their ears, not between their legs.  Afterall, after the surgery they will still have the same thoughts, opinions, feelings, intellect etc.

      There is no explanation for getting the procedure done, besides vanity.

    • SimpleSimon says:

      09:39am | 12/11/12

      I think you’ll find that, biologically speaking, it’s not nearly as simple as that.

    • Dave says:

      09:47am | 12/11/12

      No worries Scott. Head down to the surgery, get your male bits sliced off and then please come back and tell us you feel as much a man as you ever did.

    • nellybean says:

      09:48am | 12/11/12

      a very unqualified opinion indeed Scott. Transgenderism is about self identity, not a sexual preference.

    • Louise says:

      09:51am | 12/11/12

      I understand what you mean, Scott. The friendship and loyalty aspect of the story is laudable, and no doubt this person has been deeply troubled and is blessed to have such support.  But is removal of penis and testicles really necessary to find peace in this modern day?  And is that all takes to - hey, presto - make a woman, a ‘she’?  Do they surgically insert a womb too?

    • Jade says:

      09:54am | 12/11/12

      Scott, please don’t form these opinions without educating yourself first. For many transgendered people who do not have hormone therapy/surgery they suffer intense body dysphoria - crippling anxiety and depression from what their mind perceives as an inherently wrong body. You can’t run away from your body, so you can’t run from the dysphoria. It is an incredibly damaging experience for many transgendered people, and is a cause of severe mental health problems.

      Also, gender and sexual identity are two completely separate parts of a person. I happen to know more than one transgendered person - and while one, for example, transitioned from being a female to a male and then fall in love with a woman, another transitioned to being a man and then fell in love with another man. As should be blatantly clear just looking at the cis population (people whose gender matches their born body) being a male or a female doesn’t determine if you’re attracted to men or women. The same goes for transgendered people.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      10:11am | 12/11/12

      @scott and @Louise: Why is it that people like you feel the need to comment/judge other peoples lives and decisions? I think you should just worry about yourselves and let others be. I guess there’s that old saying though, ‘Opinions are like a$%e holes, everyone’s got one and there usually full of #$%@”.

    • Kay says:

      10:25am | 12/11/12

      So because you don’t understand Scott (and Louise), then that means it’s worthless in this day and age and shouldn’t be done?!  How lucky it is you haven’t said what’s important to you, or your values and beliefs.  Some people may not understand… Does that make YOU wrong?  Do we then get to decide what YOU can or can’t have?
      If it doesn’t concern you, and you don’t understand it - don’t judge it!

    • scott says:

      10:33am | 12/11/12

      @ SimpleSimon

      If it’s “not nearly as simple as that”, can you please explain it in detail.  I am always open to hearing about different perspectives.

      @ Dave

      Testicular cancer claimed both of my testicles.  I have an empty sack, and still feel the same as I did before.  I could have got some ‘implants’, but why bother?  Now I find riding my bicycle to be much more comfortable.

      @ Louise

      That’s exactly the point!  Biologically speaking, ‘Cate’ is not a woman.  She is just some bloke in a dress who had plastic surgery.

      @ Jade

      Most people do not like the way they look….Most people do not undergo extensive plastic surger to radically change their appearance either.

      Take me for example.  I am short, balding and have a beer gut.  I am ugly by all conventional standards, and admittedly I do not like the way I look.  In my school days I was constantly teased for my appearance, I was always the ugliest kid in the class room.  But I don’t suffer from anxiety or depression over what I perceive is wrong with my appearance.

      Which begs the question, should these confused transgendered people should be getting therapy instead to help them with their issues rather than radical plastic surgery???

      @ Expat Ozzie

      You feel the need to comment on my opinion.  How about you either add something constructive or give us your point of view on the article.

    • Louise says:

      10:59am | 12/11/12

      @ExpatOzzie, are you telling me you don’t make judgment/pass comment? Isn’t that why this article has been put up here.  Or must we all just *baabaa* in agreement, like David Penberthy’s sheeple?  Yes, you have an arsehole too. Profound.

      @No, Kay, I didn’t say it was ‘wrong’ - but evidently that’s what a lot people here like to brand different opinions - you know, those things we all have, like Ozzie said.  I value my femininity, my womanhood - and I happen to think, as a woman, I am more than just a man without a penis and testicles. So while I have compassion for someone as troubled as the subject of this story, and I’m very glad he has loyal friends, my opinion - if I were allowed it - is that it just doesn’t sit easily with me to call someone ‘she’ just because he’s had that surgery. Sorry - so burn me at the stake for my opinion!

    • Amastaycia says:

      12:08pm | 12/11/12

      @scott & Louise - I do truly understand where you are both coming from regarding the idea that have gender realignment surgery just makes you a man (or woman) with plastic surgery, I would however like to provide my story to challenge your ideals.

      I got married at 19 to a then 21 year old man - it was a naive decision in hindsight - but everyone when young makes stupid decisions. About a year into this marriage hubby drops a bombshell - he feels he was born a woman, and would like to investigate this further. Well 21 year old me spins out a little (and who wouldn’t) and sent him off to counselling and to see a professional psychologist.

      What I didn’t know at the time but understand far to well now is that transgender people in the mind, heart and soul - truly are a person of the opposite sex. They were given the wrong body - this is as innate to them, as sexual orientation - be it gay, straight bi-sexual or as our gender is for most of the population.

      That marriage did not survive, and I won’t blame husbands transgender for this - we just weren’t suited on any level, and getting married for us was a way to escape other issues on both sides.

      My ex-husband is now living life as a happy successful woman, after having the gender realignment surgery, and his health, both physical and mental has improved to a point that she is now thriving. - For the record she is a lesbian so the whole issue was never about being ‘gay’ when he was a man.

      I do understand while people struggle with this idea, but like anything until you’ve been close to someone going through this struggle it’s not something that you can rightly comment on. As the saying goes walk a mile in someones shoes before committing a judgement.

    • Kay says:

      12:18pm | 12/11/12

      You are entitled to your opinion - and no - I certainly won’t burn you at the stake (not to mention the ‘wrong’ comment was in quotation marks - does that not mean anything?  eg - perhaps it’s inappropriate for others to jump in with uninformed opinions(including myself!), or does the word irony work better??).
      However, from all accounts of qualified people, this is not an easy situation. Why would these people put themselves, their loved ones, marriages, etc, at risk of scorn and ridicule, if it wasn’t important.  I imagine it’s like waking up, feeling like a woman and looking down and seeing a penis (or vice-versa - aka Chasity Bono!).  It’s a constant and daily reminder of what you are vs who you should be.  Some people even resort to self-mutilation to get rid of the things they don’t see as a part of themselves.
      And, as a woman, I don’t see womanhood having a brand that’s already been copyrighted. And what does make a woman?  Her breasts? Her uterus?  What about women who, for whatever reason, don’t have those things anymore? 
      Or is it her thoughts, her feelings and her essence (how could Zoolander not fit there?) that make her one?  What is the definition?

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      12:38pm | 12/11/12

      @scott: “How about you either add something constructive or give us your point of view on the article.”

      I have given my point of view scott. I thought it was quite clear. In a nut shell, who are you to judge others life choices. If those choices have no effect on you personally then why do you feel the need to comment on it. I commented on your opinion because I personally think your small mind view is, well stupid. If Cate wants to be Cate who are you to tell her otherwise. You don’t know how she’s feeling. You have no Idea what motivates her. So why do you feel self righteous enough to belittle her choice?

      @Louise: Yes I do make judgements, usually I try to restrict myself to those that have a direct bearing on my life e.g voting, is it safe to pull out of a side street etc. However, when it comes to the personal life choices of an individual I’m not so small minded and self important as to judge their choice. If they want a be a women, a man or whatever then so be it. Who are you to tell others how to live their lives. So yes Louise you are talking out of your a$#e.

    • scott says:

      12:42pm | 12/11/12

      @ Amastaycia

      “About a year into this marriage hubby drops a bombshell - he feels he was born a woman, and would like to investigate this further”

      This is the part that I don’t understand.

      Your ex-husband was born a male, and lived his life as a male.  So how on earth does he like he was “born a woman”?!?!  This is why I see it as a psychological issue rather than a physiological one.

      Good for him for having some plastic surgery to feel better about himself!  Although he may now declare that he is a female (in a legal sense), he will never be a true woman biologically. 

      And this gets back to my point earlier about why can’t they get over their issues with therapy or counselling?  From a young age, we are all drilled with the message that looks are not important and to judge people on the content of their character.  Hell, we even grill teenage girls about the dangers of becoming obsessed with their body image.  Why not do the same with blokes who are confused about their gender?!

    • scott says:

      12:58pm | 12/11/12

      @ Expat Ozzie

      If my comments have no direct bearing on your life, why do you feel the need to make judgements about what I write?

      I am just expressing my opinion.  I am also asking questions and reading other peoples comments to see from different perspectives so I may broaden my view.

      I guess, in a sense, I am more open minded then you are since I am not automatically dismissing every opinion I disagree with.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      01:55pm | 12/11/12

      @scott: I commented on your opinion because all to often people like yourself that feel a need to judge others do have an impact my life. Once again why is it that you feel you have the right to judge others life choices. You may express your opinion and I have the right to counter it. I hope you do broaden your view scott I also how you don’t stop expressing your opinions.

      I read many of the posts here. Sometimes I put forward my opinions and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I agree with people and sometimes I don’t. On occasion I’ve been corrected and am happy to admit when I’m wrong.

      However I never agree with people that make judgements surrounding other peoples lives based on their own preferences. If someone wants to change their appearance then why do you care? If they want to be a man or woman why do you care? Why should individuals have to justify their ideals to people like you scott? Why are you so important that you feel the need to belittle another persons life because in your judgement what they want is merely vanity. Have you ever thought that just maybe it isn’t vanity scott. Just maybe they really do feel like they belong on the other side.

      Your more open minded? All your reply’s are nothing but a steadfast refusal to see the issue from a different point of view. If you really where open minded you’d not care about it.

    • Louise says:

      03:42pm | 12/11/12


      Thanks for not wanting to burn me at the stake. 

      As a Catholic [please Leftists, forgive me] woman, I see my womanhood as ‘copyrighted’, as you say, by God.

      What makes a woman?  “Her breasts? Her uterus?” Er, yep, that’d be part of it. (I don’t think anyone’s actually told me whether artificial womb insertion is part of this transition-to-womanhood surgery…)

      ‘What about women who, for whatever reason, don’t have those things anymore?’  Well, that doesn’t change the fact that they once *did* have them.

      “Or is it her thoughts, her feelings and her essence” Yep, her ‘essence’ too. (I agree, we’ve almost got ourselves a perfume here - ‘Womyn’. grin  )

      Generally speaking I’m a believer in things as they naturally are, in their natural (rather than surgically induced/created) state - maybe I’m a hippy, who knew!  So I agree with Scott on this.


      The personal life choices of this individual have been up on this page for discussion and comment - there’s a *book* out about it, for crying out loud! In your world, the reviews would consist of this:  “baabaabaabaabaa”.

      My having and voicing an opinion (that you don’t like) doesn’t equate to telling anyone how to do anything.  But that’s the nub of it isn’t it:  when *you* give an opinion, you *are* laying down the law, so can’t conceive of any other way. 

      “If they want a be a woman, a man or whatever then so be it.”  And if they want to be a unicorn or a frog or a king or Prime Minister or a pumpkin…hey presto! Wish granted. Yeah. And I’m the one talking out of my arse. Right.

      @ Amastaycia (the person directly affected here, and the most measured, thoughtful response - interesting)

      I respect what you say, appreciate your understanding and acknowledge I’ve not walked in your or your ex-husband’s shoes.  It’s great you’re both happy now.  I do still agree with Scott though - I may be wrong, but I don’t believe anyone was “given the wrong body”, and I would instinctively struggle with using ‘she’ to describe a person in that situation.  Just my personal opinion, which I would never just ‘launch’ on a stranger like your ex-husband as it’s none of my business.  Just commenting on the article which has put the issue right ‘out there’ in our faces.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      04:50pm | 12/11/12

      @Louise: No Louise in my world the reviews would be something along the lines of “What a story of courage and struggle, triumph and achievement in the face of prejudice and stupidity”. You know, something up lifting and encouraging. But then I don’t base my existence on a book of fables and an organisation the excludes women and protects child molesters and steals art from all over the world.

      You know, just saying.

      Oh and yes, you are still talking out of your arse it’s just starting to make less sense now that’s all.

    • ben says:

      09:43am | 12/11/12

      A thoughtful piece - but too often we read hate-filled articles (Devine, Ackerman) that target minorities like the transgendered or homosexuals.

      We needs the tabloids to encourage acceptance, not derision (and yes, that means giving same-sex people the right to marry…)

    • Louise says:

      09:58am | 12/11/12

      Miranda Devine and Piers Akerman’s articles aren’t filled with hate; far from it.  I see more hate and derision coming from intolerant pro-‘acceptance’ campaigners these days.  Currently it’s the Catholic Church that’s been unfairly singled out for mass attack, when it surely couldn’t be the only organisation with a history of child sexual abuse in its ranks.  I wonder what the agenda is?

      “We needs the tabloids to encourage acceptance, not derision (and yes, that means giving same-sex people the right to marry…)”

      Because ‘ben’ said so, evidently.

    • dave says:

      10:09am | 12/11/12

      So let’s see Louise - we should be slamming the awful pro-acceptance people suggesting that we stop judging people on artificial differences and treat them equally, (like a certain bearded walking-on-water kind of guy suggested) and embracing the Catholic church and its centuries of covering up paedophilia and victim-blaming (which I am pretty sure that guy wouldn’t be a fan of).

      Unsurprising you are a fan of Devine and Ackerman, child-abuse apologism and homosexual discrimination must go well with your afternoon tea and scones.

      All you need to do now is reference Andrew Bolt and claim the Stolen Generation was a myth to score the crazy right wing trifecta!

    • TheRealDave says:

      10:22am | 12/11/12

      I dunno Lousie…maybe the ‘agenda’ is simply to be able to investigate and prosecute child rapists without them being protected by their employer who is trying to protect their ‘brand’ more than they care for the child victims??

      If you’ve got eveidence of a widespread paedophile network working for an organisation who is protecting them, please forward it onto the relevant authorities. E#ven if there was - it doesn not absilve the Catholic church of ANY wrongdoing nor does it mean we should not investigate them to the full extent of the law.

      I find it absolutely abhorent that in this day and age people have the gall to sit there and say ‘hey, leave the church alone….I’m sure other ogranisations might have paedophiles working for them’ or words to that effect. The church has dug its own hole hear. Decades of covering up is coming out into the open. All because 1 man said ‘enoughs enough’ and wouldn’t let it go - even when his superiors try to get him off the case.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      10:25am | 12/11/12

      @Louise: “Miranda Devine and Piers Akerman’s articles aren’t filled with hate; far from it.”

      Are you reading the same Piers Akerman that I am or is there another one some where?

      “Currently it’s the Catholic Church that’s been unfairly singled out for mass attack, when it surely couldn’t be the only organisation with a history of child sexual abuse in its ranks.”

      Is this in someway supposed to be an attempt at mitigating the churches responsibility/culpability? Your saying there must be other organisations that did this so please leave us alone. I wonder if this defense is relevant for individual abusers, he did it to so I’m not all that bad!!

      The church is being attacked because of it’s hypocrisy. On one hand it promotes it’s-self as a high order bastion of humanity all the while attempting to cover up it’s rotten underbelly.

      The sad fact in all this is it undermines the all the good the church has done.

    • scott says:

      10:43am | 12/11/12

      +1 Louise

      A child is more likely to be molested at a family barbecue then they are under the care of a Catholic priest.

      Why aren’t you lot being whipped up in a frenzy over generations of family covering up abuse to their children by the creepy uncle?  I guess it’s because it’s not as fashionable as slagging off the Catholic church.

    • Louise says:

      11:05am | 12/11/12

      Scott , you are a voice of reason - so you’ve got no hope here against the Daves and the Ozzies.  Whistling in the wind.  They just won’t discuss rationally.  Suggesting that investigations into child abuse should cover *all* relevant institutions - not just one hated church - is equated to ‘discrimination’ and ‘victim-blaming’ or ‘abuse-apologism’.  Clearly some bizarre agenda at work.

      While I go and have my ‘tea and scones’, hopefully these people might have a Bex and a liedown. grin

    • Dave says:

      11:52am | 12/11/12

      Wow, two paedophile apologists for the price of one!

      I bet ten thousand bucks if it were the Labor Party accused of covering up child abuse you’d be howling for blood.

      The fact that you are sweeping the horrific trauma inflicted on children by thousands of priests in the service of your political agenda goes beyond horrifying.

      It’s because of people like you that this goes on.

      Yes, child abuse occurs in many places.
      Yes, the Catholic Church isn’t the only institution where it has been covered up.

      It just happens to be the BIGGEST.

    • Louise says:

      12:11pm | 12/11/12


      Biggest, smallest whatever - what I’m saying is if we’re going to have something as massive as a comprehensive national inquiry, then should we not include *all* relevant institutions - or are you not concerned about abusers in any institutions smaller than the Catholic Church??

      My thoughts on this matter don’t make me a “paedophile apologist”, nor responsible for paedophilia. You’re saying so might make you an offensive bigot, though.

      So, take a deep breath, put your brain into gear and *think* carefully before you start throwing out labels and accusations at people.  Turn your outrage meter right down, please. You’re the offensive one if you just cannot have a civil conversation without resorting to this abuse.

      As for Labor - well we just don’t know what it is or isn’t hiding, do we - stonewalling is the order of the day with modern Labor governments.  Though, in news just to hand, ICAC - reports of corruption on an unprecedented scale.  Punch? No, right, sorry - back to AbbottAbbottAbbottCatholicevilbudgiesmugglerssexist….

    • London Calling says:

      12:17pm | 12/11/12

      @+1 Dave.


      ‘Why aren’t you lot being whipped up in a frenzy over generations of family covering up abuse to their children by the creepy uncle?’

      Yep, that’s a terrible thing in some families, keeping it hushed up.

      However, families do not move/keep moving their creepy uncle’s on to a myriad of other families.

    • scott says:

      12:25pm | 12/11/12

      @ Dave

      I think you are confused.  We are not apologists, we are only suggesting that the investigation should widen the scope of their investigation to include organisations outside of the Catholic church.

      Why not investigate the abuse of children within welfare organisations? The education department?  AIS?  Scouts?  Local sporting clubs?

    • scott says:

      12:30pm | 12/11/12

      @ London Calling

      Are you implying that it is OK to protect child abusers within your family because they are not hurting anyone else’s kids?!  They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!

      You are a vile, disgusting human being!

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      01:04pm | 12/11/12

      @Louise: My opinion is all institutions should be investigate equally if child abuse or signs of it are found. My feeling towards child abusers are they should at the very least be locked up for the term of there natural lives, preferably in the general population of a goal.

      The church is a target because there appears to be no end to the instances of child abuse coming to light. There is also a stead fast refusal within the church to air it’s dirty laundry once and for all. We can see this by your apologist post here. As long as the church tries to cover up these issues the spotlight will for ever be firmly fixated on it. I find it appalling that individuals such as yourself could defend an institution that actively covered up such heinous crimes.

      By the way I love the churlish reply and solidarity with scott. Ah the bizarre rationality of truly indoctrinated.

      @scott: Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t individual child abusers constantly in the spot light? I seem to remember Derryn Hinch going to goal for naming and shaming.  As far as I know child abuse found any where garners a far degree of attention, why should the Church get any less. If any thing the Church should get more since it holds itself up as something we all should morally strive to emulate.

    • London Calling says:

      01:40pm | 12/11/12


      No, I am not implying that at all.

      Without going into private details, as a 12 year old, I was in the ‘creepy uncle’ situation,  I told my mother, and we did something about it.

      Some weeks later, we (my mother and I) were told by some family members that they knew what he was like and some of the things he had done.

      My mother was devastated and really angry and made it her duty to make everyone aware.

      So yes, certain families keep it hushed up, we did something about it, we did not move him on to other families.

    • dave says:

      01:48pm | 12/11/12

      Well Louise, I hate to tell you this, but if there was indeed a national investigation into all organisations, you’d probably end up regretting it.

      Despite your distaste for progressive points of view, the fact of the matter is that conservative organisations are more likely to be breeding grounds for these kinds of things.

      It’s only due to the work of ‘evil’ progressives that we are even having this conversation - in the ‘good old days’ it was taboo to even suggest child abuse was occurring at all. And it’s organisations with ‘old boy’s club’ codes of silence and protection that allow these things to occur. You know, like the Catholic Church.

      So if you’re calling for a national investigation, you might want to take on board that the #1 abusers are older, white males - and that you may not like the ramifications of what would happen when you start lifting stones in the various organisations made up of older, white males.

    • Mack says:

      02:17pm | 12/11/12

      @Louise - ‘I wonder what the agenda is?’

      They’re targeting the Catholic church so that our media friends in the ABC don’t get scrutinised like the BBC currently is.  A few skeletons in the closet there, methinks….

    • dave says:

      03:01pm | 12/11/12

      @Mack, thanks for providing the usual link between extreme conservatism and paranoid delusion.

      The Catholic Church isn’t coming under scrutiny due to some massive conspiracy by socialist lesbians at the ABC to distract attention away from themselves.

      It’s coming under scrutiny because thousands of priests sexually abused innocent children - that we know of so far.

      The more you people keep playing your whacko conspiracy card because you refuse to admit the heinous nature of an organisation that covered this abuse up for decades, the more you become accessories to its activities.

      For all you people whining about the scrutiny the church is getting and how ‘other’ organisations need to be examined too - don’t you realise that the Church would just be the first?

      When you open a lid on the disgusting secrecy Church elders have been shrouding everything in and start providing some justice for their victims, it will embolden others to come forward and start whistleblowing on other organisations.

      But then you don’t care, do you? All you care about is protecting your ideological ‘team’.

    • ben says:

      03:07pm | 12/11/12

      @Louise - in your own words, you do not believe tabloids should stop deriding/demeaning people born gay and lesbian (or transgender). 

      For one minute, could you, Devine or Ackerman think of the world you want for a 14 year old lesbian? The fact that for being born differently, a person can be fired, denied custody of a child or have their relationships denied.

      Anyway, Louise, how in hell does it effect you, or your beloved Piers, if two people want to marry? Like decriminalisation of homosexuality, it is an option, NOT COMPULSORY.

    • Louise says:

      03:51pm | 12/11/12

      dave and Ozzie,

      I don’t care if they’re white, black, brown or brindle; young or old; conservative or progressive.  If they abuse children they are sick predatory deviants and should be brought to justice under the law.  Unlike you, I happen to care that they may not only be found in the Catholic Church.  I don’t know how to spell it out any more clearly for you.

      @ Mack,

      Yes, we heard precious little from the ‘progressive’ media regarding Andy Muirhead from the ABC.  Like he never existed.  File shredded, look the other way. Does that make the ‘progressive’ ABC folk child porn apologists?  Imagine if it had been a shock jock/conservative from the dreaded News Ltd stable! Never hear the end of it!!

    • TheRealDave says:

      04:32pm | 12/11/12

      @Lousie, just a couple of things. Muirhead was not hidden away by the ABC, nor did they transfer him to Dubbo. At no stage has anyone suggested the ABC has done anything to hinder the investigation and eventual prosecution of Muirhead. To compare the case of Muirhead with decades of abuse, deceit and coverups by the catholic church is disigenuous - at best.

      Secondly - not a single person here is against any further inquiries into any other organisations that have covered up the rape of children under their care. Not a single person. If you have evidence of this I encourage you to go to the police with it immediately. Don’t throw out wild accusations or veiled threats. If you have evidence - take it to the police. The victims deserve that much from you.

      What I, and many others, believe is that delaying or trying to bury/obsfucate any investigation into the systemic abuse/rape of children, cover up, collusion and deceit of the catholic church is absolutely apalling and a disgusting betrayal of not only the victims but of ALL Australians. Police alledgedly have evidence right now that links over 400 victims in one part of Australia. That part happens to be NSW. Not the Scouting movement, not in Western Australia - but the Catholic Church in NSW. Hence why the investigation is centered there and on the Church. Amongst the allegations is that priests have been transferred around the state and around the country to avoid damaging the ‘Catholic brand’. So I can see how a wider ranging Federal based inquiry could be of use down the track. But for now, its solely a NSW state based issue.

      Do we hold back on catching criminals because it might upset some people?? No we don’t. Why should the Catholic Church be allowed to flout the law, hinder investgations, pervert the course of justice and assist criminals in avoiding prosecution?

      Not very ‘Christian’ is it?

      This ongoing drama and objections such as yours has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘Justice’ or ‘Finding the truth’ etc All you are doing is trying to stick up for your ‘brand’ and muddy the waters as much as you can. If there is evidence of criminal activity on a scale that has already been identified with the Catholic Church then I hope we can persue them with equal vigour and bring criminals to justice. But at the moment we do have evidence and an investigation going and we need to ensure we can investigate as fully and as thoroughly as we can without distractions - we OWE that to the victims.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      04:38pm | 12/11/12

      @Louise: I was very very clear in the fist paragraph of my last post regarding my feelings about child abusers. I believe TheRealDave has been also. At no point, unlike yourself and scott, have I been an apologist for an organisation or individual.

      I find it reprehensible that someone can stand there and mount a defense of their beloved organisation knowing it’s rotten at the core. If I was involved in the church I would be wanting the cancer torn out of it once and for all. I would certainly not be trying to deflect criticism with childish finger pointing.

      If the church has a problem and it can’t sort it out then there needs to be an investigation. Simple as that. If other organisations have the same problem then they also should be investigated. End of story.

      The problem is the accusations of child abuse from within the church just never seem to stop coming.

    • Victoria says:

      09:50am | 12/11/12

      Lovely story.

      On a side note, it seems a common theme that male to female transgendered folk are terrible with make up. Too much, wrong colours etc. People at top end cosmetic shops can help pick correctly.

    • TheRealDave says:

      10:25am | 12/11/12

      Walk around any suburban precint or shopping centre - plenty of examples of how not to do makeup from women that have been doing it all their lives.

      For the record, ladies, too much is a LOT worse than none at all. And blue eyeshadow NEVER looks good on anyone. Ever.

    • Kika says:

      11:31am | 12/11/12

      No, no. Victoria is right. You can always pick a drag queen or a transgendered woman by her clothing and make up and exaggerated mannerisms. Even the worst of us seem to have a knack at blending and getting the basics right. I think it comes down to the skin texture - men have much thicker skin. I’m not sure how long it takes on estrogen to get the skin softer.

    • Victoria says:

      11:33am | 12/11/12

      LOL I do see what you mean.

      My comment was meant kindly, but transgender men tend to be worse than average. Perhaps it’s the texture of the skin? Its quite obvuous and distinct from poorly made up women.

    • Gareth Keenan Invetigates says:

      09:52am | 12/11/12

      My only problem is venereal disease, especially for a solider. For example, a solider down, wounded and your general says who’s used all the penecillin? Oh Mark Paxton sir he’s got knob rot off some tart.

    • willie says:

      12:55pm | 12/11/12


    • John says:

      09:56am | 12/11/12

      In his career as political adviser McGregor switched from supporting the Labor Party to the Liberal Party. Switching from man to woman is nothing by comparison.

    • Minor threat says:

      10:03am | 12/11/12

      @Scott - Could you be any more ignorant?

    • Anjuli says:

      10:11am | 12/11/12

      All I can say i would hate have been in the same situation as Cate was ,the uncertainty of it would have driven a lesser person to suicide.Pleased it all turned out well in the end.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      10:12am | 12/11/12

      Transgender issue is nothing. The Australian Army needs a shitload more ASLAVs and RPG-7 for swarm tactics.

    • Kika says:

      11:32am | 12/11/12

      Wow. Amazing.

      Can anyone explain to me why the number of male cross dressers, drag queens and transgenders outnumbers females so much? Why do so many men want to be a woman? Is it because you all have an X chromosome and want to embrace that side of you?

    • Greg says:

      06:01pm | 12/11/12

      Is there even such a thing as a “female cross dresser”?

    • Simon Berger says:

      11:54am | 12/11/12

      Mate (Cate), we only live once and life’s too short to be anything other than yourself. Kudos to you, your wife (and the army) for crossing this bridge. From the times I met you years ago you seemed like a very nice, decent person with a lot to offer and that’s all that matters. Best wishes for your future.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      01:29pm | 12/11/12

      I well remember the kerfuffle which eventuated when a woman, (No, not a transgendering male) wanted to become a Pilot with Ansett. The male pilots did not want her. The bosses did not want her - some even claiming that the nearest any woman should get to flying any airplane - let alone one with Jet Engines - was as a Air Hostess, Flight Attendant or Cabin Crew (that was during the time when males were barred from doing that job)
      The lady in question, if memory serves went to court & won.
      She became one of Ansett’s Most Popular & Respected Pilots.
      I can think of no reason why anyone, born male or female or transgendering, should not, so long as they have the necessary training, ability & dedication should not do whatever the hell job they want.

    • Cate McGregor says:

      01:54pm | 12/11/12

      As the Cate about whom you all seem to have such expert opinions a few factual points. 1. I have had NO plastic surgery. I have served on operations overseas three times including command of the Training Team in Timor. I hold the Order of Australia for exceptional service. What’s your record Scott? Better men and women than you including the RSM of the Army consider me an excellent officer. I wrote my book on leave. Holidays-like you all get.

    • Cate McGregor says:

      02:09pm | 12/11/12

      And if you think what I have done has been easy or frivolous then you need therapy. I have been treated for this on and off for over thirty years. Do you want me to tally up the hours spent trying to stay male to meet the expectations of people who loved me and depended on me. I am comfortable in my own skin. I generally find those pointing their fingers at others always have three facing back at themselves. I have defined myself by more choices and some of you are eloquently pronouncing who you are by your response. I have served my country with pride and professionalism. Ask any one who has worked with me-including the Chief of the Army. And they are decent brave people not cowards who hid behind hash tags while sneering at others.

    • TheRealDave says:

      03:12pm | 12/11/12

      Thank you for your service Cate, some of us still apreciate it.

      Duty First wink

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      03:31pm | 12/11/12

      @Cate: Hats off to you Cate. May you have every success in your career and life.

    • Nikki says:

      05:24pm | 12/11/12

      How then can you be considered a woman if you have had no surgery? If you still have male bits and of course will always have male chromosomes aren’t you really a man pretending to be a woman?

    • marley says:

      06:25pm | 12/11/12

      @Cate - I admit, I don’t begin to understand why anyone would wish to change genders - but that’s my lack of understanding, and certainly reflects on me, not you.  I do respect what you’ve achieved as a soldier, and what no doubt you will achieve in the future. And I do I hope you find what you’re looking for.

    • Lucy (Lubee-lu) says:

      06:38pm | 12/11/12

      Good for you Cate grin - as someone who made a similar decision a year ago in a little Military across the other side of the Tasman I can only add my voices to those who would wish you the very best.  I have been very well supported by the mob and the open and generous acceptance of my colleagues more then makes up for the negative and sometimes judgmental comment that appear online.  Really pleased to read you’ve reached that stage of peace with youself, I know it can be a long and lonely road at times.

      I’ve just started playing cricket for the Service’s Women’s team after a long absence - i await your book appearing in our bookstores with interest.

      Per Ardua Ad Astra, Lucy grin

    • Cate McGregor says:

      02:17pm | 12/11/12

      And thanks for the tip Victoria. No doubt you are the Victoria after whom Victoria’s Secret is named. Perhaps you can share your photo with us. Sorry my make up looks look terrible to you. No doubt your are drop dead gorgeous.

    • Victoria says:

      03:42pm | 12/11/12

      My line of thought that whilst growing up as a bloke, they hadn’t the exposure to make-up that girls normally do. There was no harm meant on my part, at all.

      It was not my intent to cause offence. So here I am, although aside from lip gloss, I do not wear make up.


    • BJ says:

      03:14pm | 12/11/12

      I’m interested Cate if you think the acceptance you have received at the top of the Army would be mirrored throughout the lower ranks, or would you have been terribly bullied if you had made this transition much earlier in your career?  To an outsider it offers just a glimmer of hope for a culture change within the armed forces.

    • Victoria says:

      04:47pm | 12/11/12

      Likewise. People remaining silent, due to fear, is not the same as acceptance. Given her reaction to my polite comments, I dare say people aren’t likely to be rude within her work structure!

    • Swamp Thing says:

      04:28pm | 12/11/12

      Oh dear oh bloody dear….... & @kika its the adam’s apple for the giveaway.

    • Martin L says:

      05:29pm | 12/11/12

      I studied law with this one. Back then he (well he was a he) was a down-to-earth bloke and one of the smartest guys in the class. He had a no bullshit approach and his sense of humour cracked the class up. I never would have picked him to do something like this, but good on him for having the courage to go through with it.

    • daemon says:

      05:42pm | 12/11/12

      I have not read the other comments, nor will I. I will only say how pleased I am to see the article written, and to congratulate you on actually “manning up”, In terms of your friend. I have seen many situations where this was not the case, though it is my belief that the more intelligent amongst us in the community tend not to look so much at what our friends are wearing, as who they actually are to us.

      There are many people who make comments about things that happen in the ADF, who really have no idea about the reality, in spite of the moronic minority such as those who are held up as negative examples with such issues as rape, bastardisation, and the other negative aspects of life in the ADF, specifically within the College at Duntroon. Even after all these years out of the service, I still believe those issues occur in a very small minority of situations.

      It takes a certain maturity of spirit to accept that people change, even if the change is as in your face as the one you have experienced with your mate.. Unfortunately, that maturity of spirit is not all that common among the trolls here on the punch.

    • Greg says:

      06:13pm | 12/11/12

      Didn’t Corporal Klinger in MASH do something similar, in a 1950s Korean war setting, in order to be considered mentally ill and get a discharge from the army?

      These days, it will probably earn somebody an affirmative action quota promotion.

    • Angry_Of_Mayfair says:

      06:28pm | 12/11/12

      Gosh, Greg! That’s mature.

    • Melissa says:

      06:24pm | 12/11/12

      You look great Cate.  Be true to yourself and stay strong.


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