Same Same spoke with some of the representatives of the Australian Defense Force and was told that “ “The Army Pride Lapel Pin is a symbol of the Army’s commitment to supporting and acknowledging our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex soldiers and officers,” and that a set of cufflinks with the same design is also being developed for soldiers.
The pins are no available on the website, and feature a rainbow ribbon right under the Army’s Rising Sun, an important symbol for the Australian Defense Force. The description on the site reads:
“On the Army Pride Lapel Pin the colours of the Rainbow Flag proudly surround the Army’s Rising Sun. Together these elements are symbolic of Army as an inclusive organisation that respects diversity and supports our LGBTI soldiers and officers.”
The defense department explains that the pin and cufflinks were developed to promote Army’s vision for an inclusive organisation which respects diversity, and aligns with recommendations outlined in Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture strategy. The Chief of Army is fully supportive of Pathway to Change as it reinforces Army’s position that cultural reform is integral to our ongoing capability.”
Australia is one of the only countries that openly supports gays, lesbians and transgenders in the armed forces. The United States has tightly held to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule for many years. Gay men and lesbians have been allowed to serve openly in the Australian Armed Forces since 1992, and decorated Army speechwriter Lieutenant Colonel Cate McGregor is a prominent figure who gender transitioned and has experienced top-level support through the process.
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