Gay and lesbian Defence Force members are investigating the possibility of marching in uniform at next year’s Mardi Gras parade and going interstate, spurred by the support from superiors and the community.

But the Defence Gay and Lesbian Information Service (DEFGLIS), which organised the civilian attire float this year, had not decided itself whether it was too soon to push for uniforms.

They are very proud of their uniforms. They would do the uniform proud if they were allowed to wear it. But it would limit their fun; they couldn’t break rank and enjoy the night, DEFGLIS spokesman Chief Petty Officer Stuart O’Brien said this week.

When the uniform comes on they can’t embrace the crowd and it’s full-on ceremonial procedures -“ like the police who marched in a formed squad.

It was a big step this year. We did it properly, we did it right, but it is very early years for this, so maybe it’s not appropriate for a uniformed contingent at this time.

Many members brought their partners. One woman brought her five-year-old son who also wore the defence-branded polo shirt.

O’Brien expects volunteers will double for next year’s Mardi Gras, as it was not widely known in defence circles that a float had been approved.

He also expected members would want to march in their home state, including Melbourne’s Pride parade and Midsumma festival, and approval would be likely.

The float and Fair Day presence were organised by the ADF without the assistance of the ADF or Defence Recruiting.

Next year they may jump on board with us and participate at Fair Day, and have a bit more of a proactive approach, O’Brien said.

There was no negative press, no negative comments from the community. That was a fear.

O’Brien also said there was still a reluctance for some to out themselves.

Attitudes are changing. Many of us have partners and they’re part of the [Defence] family now. Nobody cares, he said.

Generally, it’s us who have the issue still. We’re the ones who have the hard time about it. We don’t want to rub it in their face.
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