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Outmanoeuvring Defence: The Australian debates over gay and lesbian military service 1992

2016 02 07 RisemanWeb

DEFGLIS research partner Associate Professor Noah Riseman takes an academic look at the debates surrounding the homosexual ban in Defence in his journal article published in the Australian Journal of Politics and History.

On 24 November 1992, Australia overturned its longstanding ban on gay and lesbian service in the Australian Defence Force. The ban was on the political agenda throughout 1992, though it was never a government priority or subject to mass protest.

The debates over gay and lesbian military service have subsequently received scant attention from historians. The arguments against gay and lesbian service centred on troop morale, security concerns, fears of predatory homosexuals and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The arguments to permit gay and lesbian service hinged to an extent on principles of non-discrimination, but even more so on international law.

The article examines the debates in 1992 leading up to the repeal of the ban, focusing in particular on the Labor Party divisions and the ways international law influenced the decision-making process.

Riseman is a lead researcher for research project “Serving in Silence? Australian LGBTI military service since 1945” that is being conduct in conjunction with the DEFGLIS reflections project.

If you identify as LGBTI and served in the military after World War II, we seek your participation in our research. To contact Riseman and the team, or to receive a copy of the paper, please write to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Original Image Source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/PF62J7gTTBA/maxresdefault.jpg (07 Feb 2016)

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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