This year will see the largest number of Defence members participate in Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade to-date. More than 100 Australian Defence Force members, together with 50 Defence civilians, families, friends and allies of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community, will march in the parade.
In another first for Defence, the contingent will be led by the most senior enlisted members of the ADF. Warrant Officer of the Navy, Martin Holzberger; Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army, David Ashley; and Warrant Officer of the Air Force, Mark Pentreath have all volunteered to lead their personnel, alongside Parade Commander, Air Commodore Tracy Smart.
The ADF Officer in Charge of the parade and President of the Defence LGBTI Information Service, Squadron Leader Vince Chong, said he was proud to see the Defence and community contingent growing each year.
“The growing participation at this parade shows that Defence Force culture has changed for the better,” SQNLDR Chong said.
“This record turnout of volunteers, on an amazing night like the Mardi Gras parade, shows what can be achieved with strong leadership pushing for cultural change, even in organisations like Defence that are steeped in tradition.
“The presence and support of the most senior enlisted at the Mardi Gras parade will lead to positive workplace culture, allowing us to harness and fully utilise the talent of our personnel to defend Australia.”
Defence has been marching in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade since 2008 and marched in uniform for the first time in 2013.
Images of the Defence contingent at the Mardi Gras Parade will be available at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20150524
For information about Defence’s diversity and inclusion efforts see the Defence website: http://www.defence.gov.au/code/strategy/default.asp
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999