Australian soldiers to march in uniform at Mardi Gras

Gay members of the Australian Defence Force will be allowed for the first time to march in uniform in next year's Sydney Mardi Gras.

In a statement made this week, the ADF said a volunteer contingent of soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen will be marching in formation for the first time.

They have been allowed to join a Defence Force contingent in the parade for the last five years, but not in uniform.

The decision comes on the 20th anniversary of the ADF lifting the ban on homosexuals in the military.

The statement said that "Diversity is a strength and asset for today's employers, and Defence is no exception. Workplace inclusion for all ADF members is a high priority for the organisation as it undergoes cultural change."

The ADF also said that the Air Force has also introduced diversity handbooks for lesbian, gay and bisexual members and commanders which will rolled out to the rest of the military.

Defence force Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Information Service chairman, Vince Chong, also issued a statement saying they strongly support the Defence Force taking part in the parade.

"Many LGBTI personnel and non-LGBTI personnel have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to showcase the diversity within the Defence Force at Mardi Gras. The experience of our members indicates that LGBTI personnel do have very successful careers and experiences in Defence," said Mr Chong

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