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DEFGLIS represented at UNSW Canberra Facing Equality exhibition

Nathan White Speaks at Facing Equality

Visible role models and support during the sexuality and gender discovery process were the key themes of the opening address delivered by DEFGLIS President Nathan White.

White is featured in the Facing Equality exhibit at Adams Auditorium at UNSW Canberra. The exhibition was opened on Thursday 22 August 2019 in the presence of UNSW Canberra alumni, staff and students.

“I am proud to be an aviator and an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force,” said White. “I am equally proud to be openly gay in an organisation that respects its members regardless of race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity”.

The exhibition is a series of banners showing portraits of inspirational UNSW Canberra alumni. The participants represent diverse backgrounds inherent in the Australian Defence Force. White spoke of his time as a trainee at the Australian Defence Force Academy, and the challenges of navigating sexuality discovery.

“I didn’t come out at ADFA because I thought I would be excluded by my peers. Little did I know that my peers would exclude me because I didn’t come out,” said White.

The DEFGLIS President spoke of his growth during pilots course and during his early flying career, and how being open and authentic allowed him to perform at his best. 

“My mentors taught me that without support during the sexuality and gender discovery process, it’s more difficult to perform well… That a lack of visible role-models halts or delays identity discovery, and that identity discovery is the foundation of authentic leadership,” said White.

White also spoke of the importance of inclusion during learning and technical courses so that trainees can access organic peer co-development environments.

“Peer co-development occurs in naturally forming study groups that benefit students outside the formal learning environment. Students who face perceived or real exclusion aren’t able to access shared information and insights, and peer mentoring that is present in these groups.”

The Facing Equality portrait banners will remain in Adams Auditorium until December, and the stories will be shown in the Academy Library throughout September.

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Images courtesy of UNSW Canberra

10 September 2019