Defence and DEFGLIS proud of inclusion and respect at 40th Mardi Gras Parade

2018 03 09 MardiGras

Defence and DEFGLIS joined with 200 distinct groups to march in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade, that featured a stunning array of creative concepts from all walks of the LGBTI community.

The contingent of over 150 personnel was led by Air Vice-Marshal Tracy Smart, AM - the Commander of Joint Health and Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Force.

The people in this parade are immensely proud to serve and have gathered from all over the nation to show how proud they are to be part of Australia's defence and warfighting capability
- Vince Chong, President of DEFGLIS

Warrant Officer of the Navy Gary Wight also proudly led the many soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen who volunteer their spare time to march with pride for their service and to celebrate the diversity that brings strength to the many of the warfighting roles that they undertake.

Leading the Defence Pride and DEFGLIS family contingent was Mr Richard Oliver, acting Deputy Secretary of Defence People, a champion for LGBTI personnel in the services and the Australian Public Service workforce.

The Australian Defence Force Academy band, pipes and drums kept marchers in step, while the 1/15th Royal New South Wales Lancer Band joined the contingent for the first time, playing rock and contemporary music for the DEFGLIS and Defence Pride civilian contingent.

DEFGLIS President Vince Chong said that for so many in the community, the Mardi Gras Parade serves as a liberating rite-of-passage, providing many people with the confidence to accept who they are and be the very best they can be.

"The people in this parade are immensely proud to serve and have gathered from all over the nation to show how proud they are to be part of Australia's defence," said Chong.

"Everyone marches to show that the Defence community strives to respect diverse people and create the culture of inclusion necessary for cohesive teams to function effectively, operating and supporting technologically advanced and very capable weapon systems."

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Terese Casu said that every single person in this year’s special 40th-anniversary parade helped to produce a dazzling display of self-expression, reflection and celebration. 

“Beyond the glitter, flamboyance and satire, there were so many floats reminding us of the serious issues — acceptance, inclusivity, diversity, respect," said Casu.

“Among this year’s many floats were many paying tribute to the original Mardi Gras marchers, our 78ers, and our 40 year anniversary."

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