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LGBTI Support

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Department of Defence


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex

Key Objective: Position Defence as an employer of choice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons, and as an organisation that respects and supports the inclusion of sexuality and gender diverse persons.

Background

Defence is committed to having a diverse workforce and inclusive workplaces. Defence strives to make the most of the skills and talents of all personnel and aims to reap the capability benefits of having a diverse workforce through embracing and supporting all personnel, including LGBTI persons.

In 1992 the Australian Defence Force ended its prohibition on openly gay, lesbian and bisexual personnel serving in the military, and in 2010 the Defence Instruction regarding the employment of transgender personnel in the ADF was cancelled. Prior to these changes to Defence policy many members suspected of being an LGBTI person were subject to adverse treatment including administrative or medical discharge and various forms of harassment.

Elements of inherited institutionalised culture still linger within Defence and can cause LGBTI personnel to feel excluded or unwelcome in the workplace. However, Defence maintains its commitment to valuing and supporting the inclusion of LGBTI persons. Defence demonstrated this in 2013 by authorising volunteers to march in uniform in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the first time.

Additionally in 2013, Federal protections for LGBTI persons were introduced in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 to provide protection from discrimination on the basis of attributes of sexual orientation, intersex status and gender identity. The Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender were also published, aiming to bring a consistent approach to recording individuals’ sex and/or gender in Government departments and agencies.

Defence seeks to create an inclusive workplace by driving long term sustainable LGBTI awareness and support structures, and continues to support the employment and inclusion of this diversity group through the following specific actions.

Themes

Attract / Recruit

  • Increase visibility of LGBTI persons in Defence through active involvement in international days that celebrate LGBTI inclusion and safe environments.
  • Increase visibility of LGBTI inclusion in Defence to the LGBTI community through participation in community events that celebrate LGBTI inclusion and safe environments.
  • Build, utilise and maintain relationships with external LGBTI networks, communities and service providers.
  • Promote Defence as an employer of choice with active initiatives to foster an inclusive work environment for all diverse groups including specific strategic communications and marketing that target lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons entering the workforce.
  • Encourage Defence personnel to participate in activities to positively reinforce and continue the welcoming culture of Defence through an ADF/APS career.

Develop

  • Develop sexual orientation, intersex and gender identity awareness and education training for provision at initial and leadership training.
  • Promote an organisational culture that fosters development and progression regardless of sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.
  • Employ and promote Defence policies and practices that are inclusive.
  • Encourage talented LGBTI personnel to seek professional mentors and encourage senior LGBTI personnel to become professional mentors.
  • Provide a forum for communication of best practice LGBTI workplace inclusion within Defence.
  • Attend professional and academic diversity conferences to mutually exchange better practice workplace inclusion strategies between Defence, industry, government agencies and military allies.

Retain

  • Ensure programs and strategies to balance work and personal responsibilities and/or family commitments are inclusive of all family structures.
  • Create an environment of trust, respect and inclusion.
  • Develop and maintain an employee network capable of providing education, promoting workplace inclusion and supporting LGBTI people through sexuality and/or gender discovery.
  • Create a workplace environment where LGBTI personnel feel safe to present as their preferred gender and include their families in Defence family events.
  • Regularly measure and report on the effectiveness of workplace inclusion initiatives for LGBTI people to ensure progress towards an inclusive culture.
  • Foster cooperation with military allies to support LGBTI personnel and their families during operations and postings.
  • Ensure LGBTI outreach programs extend to Defence training establishments.

Transition

  • Ensure any discrimination concerns identified by exiting personnel are addressed.
  • Employ policies and processes to enable personnel previously employed by Defence to return to the organisation.
  • Encourage talented LGBTI personnel exiting Defence to continue being professional mentors.
  • Encourage exiting personnel to continue to participate in employee network events.

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