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Australian Defence Force to march in uniform in Mardi Gras 2013

The Australian Defence Force announced today that soldiers, sailors and airmen will march in uniform at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2013, an announcement strongly welcomed and supported by DEFGLIS.

ADF participation in the Mardi Gras will be strictly in accordance with Service Protocols and traditions. There will be three formed divisions in service precedence (Navy, Army then Air Force). Uniforms will only to be worn during the parade itself and not at any other event. From 2013, the ADF will join all other uniformed government organisations at this event.

ADF members (both LGBTI and non-LGBTI) who are committed to the principles of inclusion and strong cohesive fighting teams may march adjacent to counterparts in the Police, Fire and State Emergency Services and other professional organisations who promote diversity. The decision by Defence to take part in this important national cultural event, provides an opportunity for serving members to show the deep pride and loyalty that they have for their service, and publicly recognise the significant efforts by Defence to improve culture, diversity and inclusion.

Please click here for the Parade Briefing

DEFGLIS Chair, Vince Chong said "DEFGLIS strongly supports the Defence Force participating in the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade 2013.

"Mardi Gras is an important cultural event that celebrates sexual orientation and gender diversity. LGBTI Defence personnel have particiapted in the parade with DEFGLIS since 2008.

"The separate uniformed entry by the Department of Defence reaches out to its LGBTI personnel and the LGBTI community, and highlights the importance that is being placed on diversity and inclusion. DEFGLIS will continue to participate seperately to allow members of the Public Service, friends and family to show their support in DEFGLIS attire.

"Many LGBTI personnel and non-LGBTI personnel have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to showcase the diversity within the Defence Force at Mardi Gras. The experience of our members indicates that LGBTI personnel do have very successful careers and experiences in Defence.   

"The 20th Mardi Gras following the removal of the ban preventing same-sex attracted people from serving, and the 35th Mardi Gras is a great time for Defence to begin participating in this important community event, and DEFGLIS will provide any support required.

"DEFGLIS first sought permission for Defence members in 2006 and has been working closely with the Department on this issue since that time."

ADF members have the choice of either marching with the uniformed Defence contingent, or participate with civlian Defence staff, family and friends in the DEFGLIS contingent.

The following statement was released by Defence:

"Australian Defence Force members will march in uniform at the Sydney Mardi Gras in 2013.

"Defence personnel have participated in the Mardi Gras since 2008 but the volunteer contingent of soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen will march as a formed body for the first time in the Mardi Gras parade on 2 March 2013.

"The decision coincides with the 20th anniversary of the removal of the ban on homosexuals serving in the military and demonstrates the ADF’s desire to reflect the community it serves.

"Diversity is a strength and asset for today’s employers, and Defence is no exception. Workplace inclusion for all ADF members is a high priority for the organisation as it undergoes cultural change through the Pathway to Change strategy.

"Defence is working on a number of initiatives to further enhance and support diversity in the ADF workforce, including an Ambassador Network and Diversity Strategy.

"In addition, Air Force has recently introduced diversity handbooks for lesbian, gay and bisexual members and commanders, and Defence will look to roll this out for the rest of the organisation.

"Twenty years after the removal of the restrictions on homosexual members, Defence continues to support and improve diversity in the Australian Defence Force."

Original Source: http://news.defence.gov.au/2012/12/21/adf-participation-in-mardi-gras/

About the Author
Author: Vince Chong
Vince is the President of DEFGLIS. He is a project manager and an electronics engineer.
Also written by this author:

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