Defence pride on show at ball

This article has photo gallery Published on Melissa Hennessy (author)

Location(s): Sydney, New South Wales

From left, SQNLDR Vince Chong, MAJ Donna Harding, WO Stuart O'Brien, MAJGEN Gus Gillmore, SCDT James Smith, SQNLDR Cate Humphries, Stuart Martin and CAPT Christine Clarke at the Military Pride Ball in Sydney on September 5. (photo:                                     )
From left, SQNLDR Vince Chong, MAJ Donna Harding, WO Stuart O'Brien, MAJGEN Gus Gillmore, SCDT James Smith, SQNLDR Cate Humphries, Stuart Martin and CAPT Christine Clarke at the Military Pride Ball in Sydney on September 5.
A network to support Defence lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) personnel was launched at the inaugural Military Pride Ball at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on 5 September. 
 
Acting Director General People Strategy and Culture, Ms Nikki Curtin, launched the network and said Defence was proud of its evolving nature and recognised the correlation between diversity and capability.
 
“We strive to foster a culture of inclusion and respect,” she said.
 
“Defence Pride will empower Defence people to bring their whole selves to work each day, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or intersex status.”
 
The establishment of the Defence Pride Network is a key opportunity for Defence to enhance workplace inclusivity. 
 
Defence Pride exists to make connections, start and support conversations through discussion forums, a library of resources and media articles – basically a one-stop shop for all things LGBTI in Defence. 
 
Vice Chief of Defence, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, sent a message of congratulations on the launch of the network which was read by Major General Gus Gilmore.
 
“I am committed to seeing a Defence Force in which there is a culture of inclusion, not a culture of exclusion,” the message said. 
 
“One where prejudice, on whatever issue, is rare and where people are judged on their abilities and values. 
 
“I am proud of the contributions LGBTI people make to Defence and I am proud to be in an organisation that has a senior leadership so committed to inclusion and diversity.”
 
The establishment of the Defence Pride Network aligns with the Defence Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2012–2017 and was identified as a key opportunity for Defence to enhance workplace inclusivity.