Australia defence personnel to march in Mardi Gras in full ceremonials

Defence authorized its personnel to march in uniform at the yearly Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2013.

Ten years later, as part of the parade this month, 60 members of the ADF and Defense civilian employees will march down Oxford Street in full ceremonial regalia.

They will be accompanied by members of the Defence Gay and Lesbian Information Service (DEFGLIS), including family members, veterans, ex-serving personnel, and the Australian Defence Force Academy pipes and drums.

Second-in-command of a parade, Defence’s participation in the march, according to Flying Officer Nathan Howarth, shows younger generations that it’s acceptable to be who you are and serve in the military.

“It’s critical to demonstrate that we are an equal component of the Defense to our non-LGBTI counterparts. We are presenting to young LGBTI individuals that they have a place no matter what they choose to do, he said.

Growing up and not seeing others similar to what you aspire to be is difficult.

The city of Sydney will host World Pride in 2023 with the slogan “Gather, Dream, Amplify.”

By bringing together the three services and the APS, dreaming via Indigenous dance and the stories of the Navy Indigenous Performers, and amplifying the message of inclusiveness through marching and song, the Defense contingent seeks to embody this.

Flying Officer Howarth, the vice president of DEFGLIS, has been busy organizing the parade preparations.

“The priority will be uniformed. For Mardi Gras, we always want to ensure that our members are dressed to the nines,” he remarked.

“Before we leave, there will be a dress inspection. We want the standard procedures to portray the ADF on the night as professionally as possible, just like any military parade.

Flying Officer Howarth marched with DEFGLIS in 2009, the first year they were permitted to march as the Defense, but he did not wear a uniform.

After joining the Army in 2006 as an operator movement, this will be his first march as an Air Force officer. In 2020, he transferred and was commissioned.

According to Flying Officer Howarth, the Defense has consistently become more accepting and less tolerant of inappropriate behaviour throughout his career.

Beginning at 6 o’clock on Saturday, February 25, the Mardi Gras Parade will be held.

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