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What the RCAF and the 2SLGBTQ1+ Community Have In Common

In this episode Major Jackie Zakhar discusses how she went from working at a local Subway sandwich shop in a small community to becoming a Major in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Major Zakhar has served her country in several roles, such as senior duty officer at One Canadian Air Division to Department of Air Operations Chair at Barker College. And she has done so as a proud member of the queer community. Her leadership, along with other members of the Diversity Advisory Group, have helped shape the RCAF into a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization.

Jackie Zakhar joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2009, despite initial concerns about the potential discrimination as a queer person. Knowing that the RCAF was a male dominated organization, Jackie prioritized her own safety and well-being rather than worrying about potential negative experiences as a woman in the military. She learned to use the term “spouse” or “partner” instead of “wife” in professional settings to avoid discomfort when asked if she was in a relationship. Jackie shares her emotions when the first Pride flag was raised in a Canadian military base. One of the most important changed Jackie raised is the issue of gender -neutral dress regulations. This simple but very important gender- neutral dress code policy removed gendered expectations for clothing and hairstyles allowing individuals to express themselves freely.

Jackie Zakhar is married with two children and as you will hear when we conclude our conversation…loves puns.


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