Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor, the highest-ranking transgender individual in the Australian Army, revealed a friendship she shared with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
In an interview with ABC radio, Ms McGregor, who now works as a key speechwriter for the Australian Army, said that she shares friendship with Mr Abbot long way back when she was still a man and even now after her sex change. She said that they meet often for a meal or two together when she was still a man named Malcolm.
"Tony's one of my longest uninterrupted continuous friends, We're close. It has been written about him recently that he has a great gift for friendship, and that's very true. Tony's got very eclectic friends," Ms McGregor said during the interview.
She said that their friendship dates back to 30 years ago when they played rugby together. However, Ms McGregor decided to cut tie with Mr Abbott during the time when her sex change was just recent. She said she needed a transition time to her new identity from Malcolm to Cate.
Mr Abbott had exert all effort to reach out to Ms McGregor.
"He started to get quite persistent. I thought 'he's owed an explanation'," Ms McGregor remembered fondly.
She said that Mr Abbott showed sincere concern about her "failing" health that she was compelled to reveal the truth to him.
"I texted and said 'give me a private email address that no one will read', and I sent him Chapter 11 of Indian Summer, which in the last two pages alludes to what was going on. And I just said to him 'I have no reasonable expectations that you'll accept this, both on account of your ideological views and on account of your religious views, and I'll think none the less of you if you don't accept it.' I mailed it, hit send, and within an hour, the phone rang. And he just said 'look, it changes nothing,'" Ms McGregor shared.
"He said, 'what's your preferred name now?' And I told him. He's addressed me by that name ever since."
Ms McGregor said that the friendship continued until now even with Mr Abbott's anti-gay marriage policies.
Meanwhile, the petition through Change.org.com - Tony Abbott, Australian Prime Minister: Do not override marriage equality in the ACT - had already reached 8,000 signatures to date.
The petition goes:
The Australian Capital Territory intends to pass a law allowing same-sex couples to marry.
The Federal Government could attempt to veto this legislation despite the ACT Government recently being elected on a platform of passing it.
There is overwhelming support for this reform in the ACT and the Federal Government should respect the ACT's mandate to legislate in the best interests of their community.
We call on Tony Abbott and the Federal Government to respect the rights of the ACT, recognise the dignity of all relationships and let the Territory's marriage equality law stand.
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