Cate McGregor

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Catherine Elizabeth McGregor[1]
Malcolm Gerard McGregor[1]

(1956-05-24) May 24, 1956 (age 66)[1]
EducationBA (Hons) MA[3]
Occupation(s)Commentator, legal student, activist
Known forWriting, military service, gender transition

Catherine McGregor AM is a prominent Australian transgender writer, commentator and former Australian Defence Force officer.[4]

She has worked as an Australian Army Officer, as a cricket commentator and writer, and as a speechwriter to former New South Wales Labor Premier Bob Carr, former Federal Labor Party leader Kim Beazley and to the 1993 Liberal Party election campaign.[3]


McGregor stated that she was diagnosed as transgender in 1985, following a prolonged period of alcohol and drug abuse, but it was not until 2012 that she, in her own words, "repudiated... [her] birth sex".[1] While McGregor's father died, aged 42, in 1964 from a brain tumour, her mother survived him until 1992 and McGregor considered that transition would have "appalled" them and therefore chose not to transition until just after her 56th birthday. Following a crisis in November 2011 McGregor felt she had to commit to this path of transformation if she wanted to survive.[4] Even after transition, McGregor stated her brother (now deceased) refused to recognise her as female, and that her pre-transition 2001 marriage to her wife ultimately broke down (they divorced in 2016) as a result of her decision to transition.[4]

McGregor completed gender reassignment surgery in her early 60s and takes oestrogen. She has stated she is not attracted to men.[4]


McGregor joined the Australian Army as an Officer Cadet at the Royal Military College Duntroon on 14 January 1974, where she spent the next four years, before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at the end of 1977.[5] McGregor went on to serve in a number of junior command appointments in the 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane, and in an Instructor appointment at the Army's Jungle Training Centre in Canungra.[3]

In the early 80s, not long after being promoted to Captain, McGregor resigned from the Army (later working for law firms McClellands and Sparke Helmore as an articled clerk, and for the Labor Party and Liberals as a speechwriter), before deciding to return to the Australian Army in 2001 after wanting to seek an operational deployment to East Timor (Timor-Leste).[3][4][6][7][8]

After re-joining the Army, and having deployed to East Timor, McGregor went on to serve in a number of staff appointments at Army Headquarters, including acting as speechwriter to the Chief of Army between 2001 and 2014.[3] It was in this role that she worked for Lieutenant General David Morrison who served as Chief of Army between June 2011 and May 2015. McGregor wrote the script for the famous 12 June 2013 call-out message on YouTube in which Morrison told Army personnel that if they weren't willing to respect, and work with, women in the Army they should "get out". This message was prompted by repeated high-profile incidents of unacceptable behaviour towards women by serving Army members.[9][10]

On Australia Day in 2012, then Lieutenant Colonel McGregor was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Military Division for "exceptional service to the Australian Army as the Director of the Land Warfare Studies Centre".[11]

When McGregor advised David Morrison of her intent to transition and offered her resignation, Morrison "refused to accept her resignation".[12]

McGregor went public with her transition in November 2013 and as a result became the highest ranking transgender person in the Australian Defence Force at that time.[13]

Following her public revelation in 2013, there followed a number of acrimonious social media exchanges about McGregor, in which McGregor took an active part, that led to her being formally counselled by the Australian Defence Force for conduct that reflected poorly on her judgment[14] and for which the Department of Defence made a payment in compensation to a complainant.[15]

Then Lieutenant Colonel McGregor subsequently decided to leave the Army, transferring to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Reserve on 20 June 2014 as a Group Captain, to work on projects for the Chief of Air Force.[16] McGregor is no longer employed by the Air Force.[4]

Military honours and awards[edit]

AUS Order of Australia (military) BAR.svg Australian Service Medal ribbon.png DLSM with Rosette x 2.png Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png

AUS Order of Australia (military) BAR.svg Member of the Order of Australia (AM)[11] 26 January 2012
Australian Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Service Medal[1]
DLSM with Rosette x 2.png Defence Long Service Medal[1] (25–29 years of service)
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal[1]


From 2011 McGregor has been a cricket writer for The Spectator,[17] a cricket commentator for The Australian,[18] and the Australian Financial Review,[19] and the author of a book, An Indian Summer of Cricket, published on 24 November 2012.[20] In a 2012 review, Tony Abbott, then federal Leader of the Opposition, described the book as "the best sort of book about sport" for "those who think that sport can be a metaphor for life". Abbott called the Chief of Army's launch of the book "a fitting salute to [moral] courage"[21]

In late 2016, McGregor resumed her cricket career playing for a Canberra women's cricket team, and stated she wished to play in the Women's Big Bash League.[22][23] It is reported that she uses drug therapy, has high levels of oestrogen and no longer produces testosterone.[23]

In December 2018, McGregor was dumped as an ABC cricket commentator, something which she described as having "unravelled" her life.[1]

Queenslander of the Year[edit]

In 2015, McGregor was named as Queenslander of the Year, despite not living in Queensland,[24] and as such became a finalist for 2016 Australian of the Year,[25] which was subsequently awarded to her previous commanding officer, David Morrison. She described the selection of Morrison as a "weak, conventional choice",[26] a comment for which she subsequently apologised.[27]

In December, 2016 McGregor was removed from the Australian of the Year honour roll at her request. She has stated that the awards are a "farce" and that she regrets having accepted one.[28] McGregor has also argued that the awards are being used by activists.[29]

Post-military career[edit]

McGregor was a regular commentator on Sky News and in The Australian.[30][failed verification][31][failed verification]

McGregor was for a time, patron of Kaleidoscope Australia, a not-for-profit organisation focused on promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTI people in the Asia Pacific region.[32] In September 2016, however, McGregor was dropped as patron by Kaleidoscope Australia because of her criticism of the Safe Schools program.[33][34][35] In May 2018, McGregor declared she had been wrong to oppose the Safe Schools program. "It's an excellent program, and it saves lives... I should have been a supporter from the start... I regret that I wasn't... Young trans people need an ally... I could have helped, and I didn't, and I regret that".[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h McGregor, Catherine (15 November 2019). "Return of the prodigal daughter". The Australian. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Being Transgender: The secret I kept for 50 years". Australian Women's Weekly. 11 April 2015. Archived from the original on 11 April 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Lt Col Cate McGregor". 39th International Mental Health Nursing Conference. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Cronan, Mattie (20 June 2019). "Cate McGregor: happy in her skin at last". The Australian Women's Weekly. Sydney: Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Catherine McGregor". National Press Club of Australia. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Caroline Overington - Cate McGregor - The Secret I Kept for 50 Years". Caroline Overington. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  7. ^ "Cate McGregor on leaving Malcolm McGregor behind and becoming a woman". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  8. ^ Allman, Kate (February 2017). "The All-Rounder" (PDF). Law Society of NSW Journal. Sydney: The Law Society of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 May 2020.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Chief of Army LTGEN Morrison message about unacceptable behaviour". YouTube. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  10. ^ Thomsen, Simon (29 November 2016). "The former Army chief whose angry video went viral withdraws from speech after claims he knew of abuse for 11 months". Business Insider Australia. Archived from the original on 29 January 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Gerard McGregor". Government of Australia. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  12. ^ Transgender Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor speaks out about abuse and support[permanent dead link],, 5 July 2013
  13. ^ "One Plus One (Video)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Transgender Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor counselled after online outburst". News Ltd. 30 September 2013. Archived from the original on 14 February 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  15. ^ "Compensation funding legal battle against Defence". The Australian. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Special invitation to share her story" (PDF). Air Force. Royal Australian Air Force. 19 June 2014. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  17. ^ Malcolm McGregor, The Spectator, 12 November 2011 Archived 29 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Stories by Cate McGregor, Cricket writer". The Australian. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  19. ^ How Malcolm became Cate amidst a passion for cricket and war, Radio National, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 24 November 2012
  20. ^ An Indian Summer of Cricket Archived 22 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Barrallier Books, 2012. ISBN 9780987168559
  21. ^ Tradition meets change, Tony Abbott, writing in The Spectator, 24 November 2012 Archived 29 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Catherine McGregor's pitch for the Big Bash at 60 boosted by win in first cricket match". News Ltd. 20 November 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  23. ^ a b Black, Sarah (20 November 2016). "Transgender cricketer Catherine McGregor sets sights on selection for the Women's Big Bash League". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  24. ^ Thomas, Hedley (29 January 2016). "Cate McGregor's nomination: Canberra, that's in Queensland". The Australian. Retrieved 29 January 2016. (subscription required)
  25. ^ Houghton, Des (9 January 2016). "Opinion: Australian of the Year Queensland finalist Catherine McGregor may raise eyebrows". Courier Mail. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  26. ^ "Cate McGregor said choosing David Morrison as Australian of the Year was a 'weak, conventional choice'". The Daily Telegraph. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  27. ^ Wroe, David (27 January 2016). "Australian of the Year: Catherine McGregor sorry after saying David Morrison choice was 'weak'".
  28. ^ "Catherine McGregor removed from Australian of the Year roll of honour". ABC News. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  29. ^ Australian Associated Press (22 December 2016). "Catherine McGregor cut from Australian of the Year honour roll at own request". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  30. ^ "Catherine McGregor". Sky News Australia. Sky News Australia. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Catherine McGregor". The Australian. The Australian. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  32. ^ "Cate McGregor appointed as patron of Kaleidoscope Australia Human Rights Foundation". Star Observer. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  33. ^ "Catherine McGregor speaks out against Safe Schools". Out In Perth. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  34. ^ "Catherine McGregor dropped from LGBT group over anti-Safe School comments". Same Same. 6 September 2016. Archived from the original on 10 September 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  35. ^ Power, Shannon (6 September 2016). "Catherine McGregors angry response to Kaleidoscope Australia sacking". Star Observer. Archived from the original on 7 September 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  36. ^ Ovington, Caroline (3 May 2018). "Cate McGregor declares herself wrong to oppose Safe Schools". The Australian. Retrieved 3 May 2018.