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Navy appoints new diverse sexuality and gender adviser

2017 06 18 Dwyer

Petty Officer Karen Dwyer has been appointed as the new Diverse Sexuality and Gender Adviser for the Navy.

She spoke with DEFGLIS about the Navy's introduction of of Diversity Reference Groups and how interested members can become involved.

Dwyer joined the Navy in 2006 and presently works as an instructor at the Sailors Leadership and Management Faculty-East. She is New Zealand born, an all Blacks supporter, and is expecting her first child later this year with her partner Amanda.

How did you come to be appointed as the DSG advisor for Navy?

I've always had a keen interest in matters of diversity and inclusion so when Navy called for expressions of interest from all ranks for the Diverse Sexuality & Gender (DSG) Advisor position last year (2016), I thought it was an amazing opportunity to be part of something important.

This role is internally focussed so I'll be working on developing key networks to improve the experience of Navy personnel who are part of a diverse sexuality and/or gender group. My efforts will be focussed on policy and program enhancement and development. What I'm most excited about is the introduction of Navy's Diversity Reference Groups (DRG).

What are the Diversity Reference Groups?

The DRGs are small groups (10) of individuals from a range of ranks, job categories, gender and geographic location, that can represent and advocate for the issues and concerns of their group from a grassroots level. This is a great opportunity for Navy members and they are encouraged to apply by 23 Jun 17.

Membership of a DRG is ancillary to core duties with membership determined via an expression of interest selection process. DRGs receive requisite training and recognition as DRG members and the groups will convene quarterly to align with Council meetings to ensure issues are raised in sufficient time for consideration.

How often do you meet to communicate new ideas and to monitor initiatives?

The Diversity Reference Group advisors will meet weekly.

The Diversity and Inclusion Council, which is chaired by the Deputy Chief of Navy, meets quarterly.

What would you like people to talk with you about in your new role?

A major focus for the Council in the DSG space is a Navy transgender guide. This will require consultation with a number of key stakeholders so I'm looking forward to talking to as many people as I can about the guide so it can be a useful resource for all members.

How can people get in contact with you or nominate to participate in the Defence Reference Group for diverse sexuality and gender?

People are encouraged to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and particularly to express interest in diversity reference groups. Personnel should provide between 250 to 400 words describing their motivation to be part of defence reference groups and how they can contribute to fostering inclusion in the Navy.

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