The Australian Defence Force, the Navy, marching at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
The Australian Defence Force, the Navy, marching at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

The move comes 20 years after the ban on homosexuality was lifted by the ADF.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has announced that soldiers, sailors and airmen will march in uniform at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2013.

ADF participation in the Mardi Gras will be strictly in accordance with Service Protocols and traditions. There will be three formed divisions in service precedence (Navy, Army then Air Force). Uniforms will only to be worn during the parade itself and not at any other event. From 2013, the ADF will join all other uniformed government organisations at this event.

ADF members (both LGBTI and non-LGBTI) who are committed to the principles of inclusion and strong cohesive fighting teams may march adjacent to counterparts in the Police, Fire and State Emergency Services and other professional organisations that promote diversity. The decision by Defence to take part in this important national cultural event provides an opportunity for serving members to show the deep pride and loyalty that they have for their service, and publicly recognise the significant efforts by Defence to improve culture, diversity and inclusion.

The ADF released the following statement:

“Defence personnel have participated in the Mardi Gras since 2008 but the volunteer contingent of soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen will march as a formed body for the first time in the Mardi Gras parade on 2 March 2013.

“The decision coincides with the 20th anniversary of the removal of the ban on homosexuals serving in the military and demonstrates the ADF’s desire to reflect the community it serves.

“Diversity is a strength and asset for today’s employers, and Defence is no exception. Workplace inclusion for all ADF members is a high priority for the organisation as it undergoes cultural change through the Pathway to Change strategy.

“Defence is working on a number of initiatives to further enhance and support diversity in the ADF workforce, including an Ambassador Network and Diversity Strategy.

“In addition, Air Force has recently introduced diversity handbooks for lesbian, gay and bisexual members and commanders, and Defence will look to roll this out for the rest of the organisation.

“Twenty years after the removal of the restrictions on homosexual members, Defence continues to support and improve diversity in the Australian Defence Force.”