We sometimes place small data files called cookies on your device, which enable this website to work properly and remember your preferences. You can delete all cookies already on your device and you can set most browsers to prevent them from being placed, however some functionalities may not work.

Bullied, Harassed or Treated Unfairly?

Advice provided is general in nature and does not consider your personal circumstances. You should consider the advice in the context of your personal circumstances, or seek professional advice before deciding on any course of action.

Resolving Unacceptable Behaviour in Defence

WomanPointingEveryone in Defence who is willing to work as part of a team deserves a fair go. That means you can reasonably expect that you will be respected, treated fairly and without harassment because of your sexual orientation, gender identity or sex.

Working as part of a team requires you to be willing to make compromises on occasion and follow legal directions from your superiors. However, this doesn't mean that you should tolerate offensive, belittling, abusive, villifying, bullying or threatening behaviour.

Defence defines such behaviour as Unacceptable Behaviour. Such behaviour might occur in the workplace, at a work function, at the mess, at the gym, or online via social media.

If you think that you have been subjected to Unacceptable Behaviour, the Defence Equity Advice Line is available to help you find policies and procedures to have the matter resolved. You don't have to provide any identifying information so even if you aren't out, you should receive the advice you are seeking via this service.

The Defence Equity Advice Line is available through the Defence Service Centre - 1800 DEFENC or 1800 333 362 (0700h - 2200h Monday to Friday AEST/AEDT, closed on public holidays).

Try to resolve incidents of Unacceptable Behaviour at the lowest possible level, and report incidents to your commander or manager.

If you are still concerned after talking with the Defence Equity Advice Line and wish to speak to someone who is LGBTI in Defence for general advice or assistance, please contact us. General advice means that we will broadly assist you with communicating problems, and offer suggestions based on what you tell us. You need to consider any general advise provided within the context of your personal circumstances before deciding on a course of action. We cannot intervene or interfere with Defence processes, but we will provide you the best advice we can based on our experience.

If you make a complaint of Unacceptable Behaviour to DEFGLIS, we will ask you to report the incident to your Commander or Manager in accordance with Defence Policy.

Unacceptable Behaviour Towards LGBTI People

We've included some general examples below to help you think about whether you have been subjected to or witnessed Unacceptable Behaviour. It could happen anywhere ... and remember, the standard of behaviour that you walk past is the standard of behaviour that you set.

We encourage you to make a complaint if you you have been subjected to or witnessed unacceptable behaviour.Sad

  • Accusations that someone is attracted to the same sex or transgender
  • Disclosing someone else's sexual orientation or gender identity without their permission
  • Repeatedly and routinely calling on LGBTI people to undertake undesirable jobs
  • Repeatedly referring to a transgender person by the name and gender prior to gender transition
  • Isolating or seperating an LGBTI person in the work environment
  • Excluding an LGBTI person from professional development
  • Excluding an LGBTI person from workplace social events
  • Denying an invitation to a person's same-sex partner at a social function
  • Nicknaming and constantly calling a gay person in the workplace "fag," or any similar derogatory nickname
  • Saying "your kind aren't welcome here" to an LGBTI person
  • Saying "gays aren't welcome here"
  • Behaviour that makes an LGBTI person unwelcome in the work environment including reference to the existence of LGBTI people being wrong
  • Giving an LGBTI person the silent treatment, or refusing to work with them or for them
  • Posting offensive, abusive or villifying comments about an LGBTI person to social media
  • Posting offensive, abusive of villifing comments about LGBTI people to social media

Online Bullying / Villification

LGBTI people are being subjected to increasing levels of online bullying. There are a number of things that you can do to reduce your risks.

  • Check your privacy settings for all social media and see what information is available publically.
  • Google yourself and find out what information about you is available online. Remove information you do not wish to be public.

When someone makes offensive statements publically via social media, this can be extremely upsetting. Often you feel the strong desire to make a public post expressing your offence, and to defend LGBTI people.


Before you post, think about how your words could be used against you.

  • Is your post likely to fuel an online argument which will result in even more offensive statements being made?
  • Is your post going to give air time to online bullies allowing them to get attract even more attention and air time?
  • Is your post likely to have a positive impact on the online bully or to the general public?
  • Are you likely to be able to change the mind of the person who has made the offensive statement?
  • Would your post potentially constitute unacceptable behaviour?

Sometimes, it can just simply be better to just close the page.

Defence personnel and employees are subject to subject to a Social Media Policy. If this applies to you, you should ensure that you remain compliant with that policy.

If you think someone has broken the law, you should report the matter to the police. If you witness another Defence Member engaging in Unacceptable Behaviour, or if you are being harassed or bullied online, you should consider raising a complaint in accordance with Unacceptable Behaviour Defence Policy.

2016 05 10 ReflectionsThumb


Latest News

Breaking the Binary: Gender Diversity in Defence

DEFGLIS celebrates International Non-binary People’s Day on 14 July 2020 International Non-Binary People’s day is held every year on 14 July, at the midpoint between International Women’s and International Men’s days...

Read more

LGBTI DV Awareness Day launches 28 May 2020

DEFGLIS Treasurer Don Robertson discusses active bystander behaviour and support for domestic & family violence victims - along with the launch of LGBTI DV Awareness Day with DVConnect Director Ben Bjarnesen DEFGLIS...

Read more

DEFGLIS Board Update: May 2020

DEFGLIS is providing advice on transgender and gender diverse policies, and seeking out opportunities for networking in the wake of COVID-19. This update provides a snapshot of the key outcomes...

Read more

Rainbow cake and conversations: 30 year IDAHOBIT milestone celebrated globally

DEFGLIS Events Director Bonnie Doyle discusses why 30 years on, IDAHOBIT is such an important day for our community. I’m at a brand new workplace this year and I raised the...

Read more

Experience in management, communication or support?

Become a volunteer