Australian troops to march in Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in uniform

The Sydney Mardi Gras is one of the biggest LGBTQI pride events in the world. It’s been around since 1978, when it sprung up in reaction to the Stonewall Riots in New York City. Now, it’s a Sydney institution, and one of my favourite things about my fair city.

Next year is the 35th anniversary, and for the first time, members of the Australian Defence Force will be allowed to march in the parade in uniform. The ABC reports:

The Australian Defence Force has cleared gay members to march in uniform in next year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The move comes 20 years after the ADF lifted a ban on homosexuals in the armed forces.

A statement issued by the ADF says soldiers, sailors and air men and women will march in formation in the parade in March next year. They have been allowed to join a Defence Force contingent in the parade for the last five years, but not in uniform.

The statement says diversity is an asset and workplace inclusion will be a high priority as Defence undergoes cultural change.

Goodness knows that this has been a hell of a year for the Australian Defence Force and sexual and gender-based harassment. Hundreds of men and women have come forward and leveled accusations about harassment and assault that stretch back over decades, to the point that the Minister for Defence issued an official apology to them on behalf of the government.

In that context, this new Mardi Gras policy seems like an attempt to bolster its image after the giant hits its taken this year – “see, we’re not uniformly awful when it comes to discrimination against our employees!” Nonetheless, it’s a welcome one.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Since it began it has grown in size and popularity, and it is always known and called the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The full name is important. It is the name that the whole country recognises.

    • Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      i dislike the name sydney mardi gras because it sucks the rainbow out of the event but i never liked Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras either. what about the rest of us? the queer community isn’t just gay people.
      but that’s not why i’m posting now. i wanted to say that this is really gross. like disgusting. yes the ADF are homophobes, yes they should apologise but should they be marching with us? hell no. like these people are also sexist(should say sorry too) and racist. they can’t apologise for being racist- it’s their job. they’re tools of imperialism, invading countries full of brown people is what they get paid to do. demonising muslims and viewing them as the enemy or terrorist insurgents is currently their thing as a result of the wars in the middle east. i don’t want to march with these people. eww. and this is just a PR thing. this is offensive to all the arabs, muslims and other people of colour that march. eww.

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