The most inclusive army: tattoos, long hair and nail color are now allowed

The most inclusive army: tattoos, long hair and nail color are now allowed

Facial tattoos, long hair or even colored fingernails are now allowed for the military since the “gender barrier” and restrictions on physical appearance in the Canadian Armed Forces were abolished.

On October 7, Warrant Officer David Grenon sang the Canadian national anthem at a Toronto Blue Jays game while proudly wearing royal blue nail polish visible on the hand that held the microphone. The image caused a stir within the forces.

If the gesture was received coldly by some, David Grenon is very proud of the gesture he made. “I wanted to take the platform I had at the time to help those who may be afraid to come forward. Show them that we are inclusive and that we are there to support them,” explains the Royal Canadian Air Force singer.

david grenon

gender barrier

It is that since September, the Canadian army has put an end to “the systemic barriers that were linked to gender.” Soldiers, male or female, no longer have to conform to a rigid physical appearance as enlistment in the Canadian Armed Forces historically evokes.

“Old ideas really get thrown out,” says Warrant Officer Martin Rousseau, who was at the center of this overhaul for a more inclusive team. “When you look back, it’s pretty obvious that we’re talking about a systemic barrier. An unconscious barrier based on standards exceeded in 2022 ”, he judges.

Soldiers can now wear as many rings or earrings as they like, or even wear makeup, paint their nails, or choose any haircut they like.

As another example, a soldier can now display tattoos on the neck and even on the face “with a restriction on anything that is discriminatory,” adds Mr. Rousseau.

Obviously, a person wearing “a swastika” could not be tolerated. This is also the case for perforations on the tongue and on the lips, but only for medical reasons, the army explains.

A soldier wears long, colorful hair, as is now allowed.

Photo courtesy, Canadian Armed Forces

A soldier wears long, colorful hair, as is now allowed.


Military clothing hasn’t changed, but once again the gender is lifted and a man will now be able to wear the skirt that was once reserved for women. For his part, the chief petty officer did not hesitate to mark the occasion by dying his hair blue the day after the new inclusive standards were implemented.

He himself admits to embodying “the old-fashioned image of the soldier.” “But that’s not the image of the average Canadian in our society,” he pleads.

Still, the changes aren’t greeted with the same openness everywhere, especially among veterans. “I expected there would be people complaining, I expected a reaction. But there was a mail On twitter. I was pleasantly surprised. We are really there,” the singer said animatedly.

For his part, Rousseau judges that this “highlights unconscious biases.” “Is the man who wears a skirt at the end of the day less professional?” he asks.

Rather, he sees it as a way to recruit quality future candidates. “We are not going back, that’s for sure,” concludes who is convinced of the measure.

Four rules dictate the new standards:

1. Safety: For example, the beard cannot work with a gas mask for sealing reasons.

two. Operational Efficiency: A military man must be willing to adjust his appearance for reasons directly related to his job.

3. Inclusive: by ceasing to impose gender barriers.

Four. Social Norms: Represents Canadian diversity.


  • No length or color restrictions
  • Wigs and extensions allowed
  • All styles of beards and sideburns allowed

* The member must be able to wear the headdress correctly.


  • Everyone can wear earrings without restriction of number.
  • No restriction on the number of rings

* Jewelry should project a positive military appearance.


  • Tattoos on the neck and face are allowed.
  • False nails and colored varnish are allowed.
  • false eyelashes

* Tattoos cannot incite hatred or violence.

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