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.

Information for Commanders and Supervisors of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people

ONLINE TRAINING

We have online training available that goes into more detail about this topic. It's free to take, and if you register and complete all the assessments, you'll get a certificate of completion at the end. Visit our eLearning centre

The Defence Guide for Commanders and Managers is an excellent start for how you can create an inclusive environment for gay, lesbian and bisexual personnel. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are often fearful about letting others know about their sexual orientation. This can stem from what may seem like a harmless joke in the workplace, to broader villification, hatred and bullying. 

Inclusive Culture

Creating inclusive culture

FairDayA Commander and Supervisor sets the tone and culture for their unit, and this can heavily positively influence the level of inclusion that occurs in the workplace. If any person doesn't feel included, it impacts on productivity and team cohesion. No one can tolerate such a loss of capability.

Not everyone has the capability or confidence to stand up for themselves. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people can go to extraordinary lengths to hide their sexual orientation. This can occupy a significant amount of their thinking each day and every day. 

Ask yourself, what indicators do you have in your workplace to show that it is inclusive and that you expect inclusive behaviour. Are you just relying on Defence Policies to create the culture that is needed to ensure everyone is included?

Lesbian, gay and bisexual people can experience great fear about what might happen if they disclose their sexual orientation. There are countless examples of gay and lesbian personnel being harassed or bullied online. In 2010, a number of Defence personnel were involved in a gay-hate Facebook Group.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual people who experience this fear are not going to complain if they are bullied, or experience non-inclusive behaviour. It is far more likely that they will go to even greater effort to hide their sexual orientation from work.

This is a major issue for Defence where people post every two to three years. We ask new personnel about their family situation and its usually one of the first topics of conversation that happens in the workplace.

A leader can take positive steps to ensure that everyone feels included and to set the expected standard for inclusion in the workplace. Do you speak about LGBTI inclusion, or any other form of inclusion when you address your team? Do you participate in diversity initiatives and encourage your team to learn about people who are different from themselves? Do you use language that makes no assumptions about someone's sexual orientation?

Diversity initiatives provide an opportunity to have conversations in the workplace about differences between people and to potentially learn something that will help to improve team cohesion. The level and tone of those conversations, and the unit personality that results is set by leaders at all levels.

2016 05 10 ReflectionsThumb

StoreGraphic2

Latest News

Beyond the Hype: HG's Perspective of Diversity and Acceptance

DEFGLIS Board Member and self-confessed staunch ally Prudence Hawkins-Griffiths reflects on the importance of diversity and acceptance within Defence. Until I was posted into the Defence training environment in June 2015...

Read more

Embracing Change as a Family

Gillian Cosgrove-White and her partner Rachael first met when they were 20 years old but they lost touch when Gillian moved to Tasmania and Rachael joined the Royal Australian Navy.  Fast...

Read more

Comment: My Connection to National Reconciliation Week

Mahatia Minniecon reflects on her connection to community, identity and family during National Reconciliation Week.  National Reconciliation Week represents an important moment to me as an Indigenous serving member of Defence...

Read more

Introducing Andy Maskell, DEFGLIS National Events Director

DEFGLIS National Events Director Andy Maskell introduces himself, discusses his previous successes and reveals his plans for events in 2019. I joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1995, enlisting as a...

Read more

Experience in management, communication or support?

Become a volunteer