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DEFGLIS and Defence celebrated ten consecutive years of serving with pride at the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade.

While members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have marched in uniform only since 2013, they have marched with formal approval from Defence for much longer.

For a decade members of the ADF have marched under the DEFGLIS banner along with colleagues from the Australian Public Service, family, friends, allies and ex-service personnel. A contingent under G-Force marched in 1996 with approval of then Chief of Defence Force General Baker.

Navy Captain Christine Clarke, is an ally who has marched with DEFGLIS and Defence consecutively for the past 10 years. Clarke is the only member of DEFGLIS to have achieved this significant milestone.

This year Captain Clarke led the defence contingent as the parade commander, followed in close succession by the Warrant Officer of the Navy Gary Wight.

“Inclusion doesn’t go just one way, because I have been included for the past ten years” said Clarke, noting that inclusion is a universal theme that applies to all in the ADF who must work closely together in teams to produce Defence capability.

The Defence and DEFGLIS contingent marched close to the front of the Parade this year between ANZ and Rainbow Babies.

A Defence spokesperson said that in recent years the Australian Defence Force has made significant efforts to improve its culture, and that an inclusive culture was the only way to ensure that the detrimental behaviour of the past could not systemically take hold again.

"Inclusion is a critical issue as our combat capability is built upon team cohesion and respect," said Defence.

"An inclusive culture enhances these key enablers and promotes a broader range of perspectives to enhance our operational planning and activities."

Participation in the Sydney Mardi Gras is business as usual on the annual calendar for both Defence and DEFGLIS, along with Military Pride Ball held in September each year. These events aim to raise the visibility of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex people and to aid Defence evolve its culture.

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Images by Department of Defence, Petty Officer Ramsey

About the Author
Author: James Smith
James is the Secretary and the Communications Director for DEFGLIS. He has served as Communications Director since 2013.
Also written by this author:

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