Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual in Defence

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Information for Commanders

DEFENCE DIVERSITY GUIDES

Defence has released guides to assist lesbian, gay and bisexual service men and women. A commander's guide is also available detailing strategies to assist with inclusion of lesbian, gay and bisexual people are available.  These guides are aimed at promoting workplace diversity and inclusion. A guide to gender transition in the workplace is also due to be released shortly.
 

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.

Commonly Asked Questions

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I think I might be gay ... What is the homosexual policy within Defence? Will my career be impacted if I come out?

Defence does not have a homosexual policy because LGBTI members are part of the diverse workforce and are not subject to any special management or administration. There aren't any limitations on what LGBTI members can or cannot do.

Everyone in Defence is evaluated on their individual ability to provide their required contribution to combat capability. There are a number of senior lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel serving within Defence who show that there are no limitations. The most senior same-sex attracted officer is a one-star General and the most senior same-sex attracted soldier, sailor or airmen is a Warrant Officer. There are gay officers who lead Army infantry units, command ships and flying squadrons.

If you think you might be gay, its okay - everyone has a sexual orientation. Your sexual orientation won't impact your career if you can be honest with yourself. Take the time to work out what you are feeling, and take the opportunity to talk to one of your peers, or many of the support services that are available. You are an important part of the Defence community and you have valuable skills and experience.

If you are feeling isolated, DEFGLIS provides you with access to the network of LGBTI Defence personnel and their families who are all around Australia. Wherever you are, you belong to the community and we'll always be here for you when you need us. Sign up to be a member to gain access the network.

Is it tough to be gay, lesbian or bisexual in the Defence Force? 

PhilBondDefence, like the rest of society employs people with a wide range of views … so from time to time (as in general society), you should expect to come across one or more persons who may not be comfortable with your sexuality. That said, Defence does not accept discrimination of any kind, and there are policies and support agencies to assist you if you are subject to discrimination, harassment or bullying.  Your chain of command, and the Equity Advice Line can all assist you if you encounter a situation where you are having a tough time because of your sexual orientation. DEFGLIS can provide you with peer-support to help you with issues that arise at work.
 
For many members of DEFGLIS, sexual orientation has had no impact to their choices and their successful careers.

Do I need to declare my sexual orientation?

NavyFamilyIn relation to whether you should declare your sexual orientation, that is very much a personal choice. You may be asked questions about your family situation during the recruiting process and when you go into a new workplace.  As is the case in general society, or perhaps to a greater degree, hetero-normativity -- the assumption that everyone is heterosexual -- means that people ask about your family situation without considering that it might sometimes be tough to answer that question.  Some people prefer to test the climate of their workplace before they disclose their sexuality.
 
Decide for yourself where and when is the right time. "Coming out" at work even if you're already out can be a stressful situation so its one that is worth thinking about because you can expect to find yourself in that situation often. In Defence, postings mean that you may find yourself needing to come out several times during your career.

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