This year in the centenary of ANZAC, members of DEFGLIS will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph at Martin Place in Sydney and at the Stone of Remembrance in Canberra in to commemorate the service of LGBTI Defence personnel at Gallipoli and recent conflicts.
Although some old fashioned military types might prefer not to know, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and intersex folk, have fought and died for Australia from the first. They were present at Gallipoli, and every conflict since. This year, for the first time, wreaths will be laid in Sydney and Canberra to honour and commemorate their service and sacrifice.
The ceremony is being organised by the Defence Force Gay & Lesbian Advisory Service, led by newly-promoted Wing Commander Vince Chong (by the way, congratulations!)
Current serving LGBTI service personnel along with a Veteran member of DEFGLIS will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph at Martin Place at 0820h and at the Stone of Rememberance in Canberra at approximately 1230h following formal proceedings.
The laying of a wreath on Anzac Day provides an opportunity to remember the sacrifice of LGBTI Defence personnel who would have had to serve in silence due to policies that effectively banned same-sex attracted personnel from serving openly.
DEFGLIS will partner with members of the former gay ex-servicemen’s association who were turned away from the Cenotaph in Melbourne in 1984. Vince Chong, President of DEFGLIS, said it was important to rectify that historic exclusion and set an example for recent and future conflicts:
“On this Centennary of ANZAC, DEFGLIS would like to establish a new tradition of remembering and commemorating the service and sacrifice of LGBTI personnel,” said Chong.
“The sacrifice of LGBTI soldiers, sailors and airmen at Gallipoli and in recent conflicts is worthy of specific commemoration and remembrance.”
ANZAC Day holds particular significance to current and former members of Defence, signifying a day of remembrance that commemorates the service to the nation. ANZAC Day also symbolising the birth of the ANZAC spirit, which forms an important part of the Australian tradition of a “Fair Go” and mateship, which are core to the Australian identity.
The service at Martin Place is normally attended by over 10,000 personnel; however, in this centenary year of ANZAC the numbers are predicted to raise significantly. The service will be televised by three commercial channels.
If you would like to assist in making this significant project a reality, please show your support by contributing to the purchasing of the wreaths via the DEFGLIS website here.
In the past, the service of our community has often been overlook, or forgotten. No more.
Lest We Forget.