We sometimes place small data files called cookies on your device, which enable this website to work properly and remember your preferences. You can delete all cookies already on your device and you can set most browsers to prevent them from being placed, however some functionalities may not work.

Williamtown Chaplains Lead Inclusion

2015 05 10 ACONSafePlace

A recent training session in Williamtown closed knowledge gaps about LGBTI personnel for chaplaincy centre staff, base and DEFGLIS personnel.

Mr Ross Wetherbee from Pride In Diversity presented on a range of topics including terminology, workplace challenges and requirements for an LGBTI inclusive working environment.

Wetherbee’s background is in corporate banking. He offerred insights from this industry and his practical experience to benefit members present.

The session began with the members in the room detailing their knowledge of everything LGBTI and where they felt they fitted on a scale of zero being nothing, and ten being “I could deliver the presentation”.

Most participants indicated low figures on this scale of self-knowledge, but these gaps in the knowledge were able to be narrowed throughout the training session.

The session highlighted and detailed the terms Intersex, Queer, Pansexual and less common identifies such as "two spirit” which is a Native American term for one who is man/woman and then gave the attendees of the session a detailed understanding of the terms.

Chaplain Wing Commander Stéphane Sarazin said the the course was essential to run as current knowledge throughout the workforce was quite limited.

“I think we can fairly say that the Chaplain Centre is ‘OUT’ not only in Williamtown but to the greater RAAF world and it offers a visible sign of inclusion to the community,” said Sarazin.

“This [training] came out of a local need for establishing a safe place due to the lack of network and/or presence of a community group with an increase in suicide ideation & domestic violence amongst the small LGBTI population on base. As a chaplain, I had to do something or come up with a plan and ACON offered me that platform of early intervention.”

When asked about the success of the training session and if it achieved the intended outcome Sarazin said that most of the concepts or knowledge about the LGBTI community was driven by what people saw portrayed in the media.   

"It also exposed the invisible stigma and how we, as allies, can provide that Safe Space for expression," he said.

The training session was highly informative and focused directly on audience engagements and participation. All present were very keen to ask questions, offer anecdotes and share a laugh.

At the culmination of the two-hour session participants were more enlightened about LGBTI terminology, and with new insights about how to achieve greater inclusion throughout the workforce.

In particular the need for straight allies to achieve a cohesive working environment was recognised.

The majority of participants in attendance identified as heterosexual and felt better prepared to be more inclusive during day-to-day work interactions.

If you would like to learn more about ACON and the Safe Place program please click here.

About the Author
Author: Robert Brown
Also written by this author:

2016 05 10 ReflectionsThumb

StoreGraphic2

Latest News

Honouring peace and sacrifice - Armistice Day Centennary

Eighteen years into the twenty-first century; on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month...  I stand on the most prominent natural feature in our capital, first inhabited...

Read more

TransMilitary premieres at the Veterans Film Festival

The Veterans Film Festival in partnership with RSL National, is excited to announce the Australian Premiere of TransMIiitary, (USA, 99mins). The documentary chronicles the lives of four individuals (Senior Airman...

Read more

Bisexual visibility day

Bi Visibility Day, also known as International Celebrate Bisexuality Day, was created to highlight biphobia and help people to find the bisexual community. It is recognised and celebrated by more...

Read more

New Zealand Defence Force recognised for diversity and inclusion

The New Zealand Defence Force's Sexual Ethics and Respectful Relationships training has won the Emerging Diversity and Inclusion category and the overall award at the 2018 Diversity Awards New Zealand. The...

Read more

Experience in management, communication or support?

Become a volunteer