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Serving in Silence exhibition opens in Melbourne

2018 02 00 MelbourneOver 75 years of LGBTI military service in Australia was presented by Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives and City of Melbourne Library Service.

To commemorate 25 years since lifting the LGB ban, this exhibition showcases the history of LGBTI military service in Australia since World War II.

The exhibition brings together photographs, objects, documents and the life stories of current and former service personnel to explore how LGBTI Defence members navigated their lives in the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, and Royal Australian Air Force.

In November 1992, the Australian government overturned a longstanding ban on lesbians, gays and bisexuals serving in the Australian Defence Force. Transgender service would continue to be banned until September 2010. Yet, LGBTI people were serving in the military long before these milestones, with a range of experiences.

This exhibition derives from a larger research project on the history of LGBTI military service and is being co-sponsored by the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives and City of Melbourne Library Service.

The exhibition was opened by Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews.

It was just 25 years ago that our nation finally overturned the ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual Australians serving in our defence forces.

Unbelievably, transgender Australians continued to face the same discrimination until as recently as 2010.

Faced with kind the ignorance and bigotry many of us can only imagine, these Australian fought for our freedoms but were denied the very freedom to be themselves.

While nothing can ever undo that injustice, this exhibition helps to finally shed light on the stories and service of these LGBTI Australians.

I'd like to congratulate the archivsts, the organisers and every one who has made this exhibition possible.

And to every LGBTI Australian who has served our nation, I simply say - thankyou.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

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