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Who we are
The ADF’s anti-LGBTI policies were repealed in 1992 for same sex attracted members and in 2010 for transgender members. However, those who were subject to those polices experienced significant trauma via the way the policies were applied – and they continue to suffer ongoing negative psychosocial impacts.
In the application of Defence’s anti-LGBTI policies, same sex attracted and gender diverse sailors, soldiers and airmen experienced:
- Harassment, humiliation and violation of privacy,
- Ongoing and intrusive medical tests,
- Loss of rights and natural justice,
- Forced and/or dishonourable or medical discharge.
The above were not just experienced by Defence personnel – they also impacted their partners, friends and family members.
With a focus on advocacy and support, the Discharged LGBTI Veterans’ Association is dedicated to providing a voice and improving the quality of life for all people who were impacted by the ADF’s historic anti-LGBTI policies.
What are DLVA’s purposes?
The association’s purposes include:
- At Parliament and DVA levels, advocate for the health and wellbeing of ex-ADF personnel discharged under Defence’s historic anti-LGBTI policies;
- Research the ongoing physical and psychosocial impacts on those who experienced forced discharge;
- Provide health, welfare and wellbeing information and support to LGBTI veterans who experienced forced discharge.
Committee of Management
I began my Air Force Career in 1988, heading to RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia for basic training before being posted to RAAF Williams in Laverton Victoria.
I enjoyed defence life and worked hard in my chosen career of driver in the Transport Section. My dedication to my role soon earnt me the nick name ‘20 Year Man’, a reference to the number of years you worked before qualifying for a military pension.
However, two years into my perceived 20 year career I was to be entrapped in a rout of homosexuals serving their country, driven out by a perverse application of anti-LGBTI policies.
I was forced to undergo a multi–hour interrogation by RAAF military police, after being followed into gay bars and photographed. I was finally blackmailed into taking an honourable discharge, to avoid the much more sever options that were presented to me, such as outing me to my family, marking my official service record that I was a homosexual, or dishonourable discharge if I didn’t elect to go.
After 5 days I was discharged, not allowed to say goodbye to my work colleagues and the many friends I had made. Escorted to the gate by military police, my career was over. The shame I felt at that point in time meant I held closely the secret of the reason for my discharge until 2016, when the experience of post-traumatic stress disorder became too great, and I finally told my family and friends. My 26 year secret was finally out.
As a founding member of the DLVA association, I want to support others with experiences like mine, to recognise the impact of historical anti LGBTI defence policies and provide support and redress for those seeking it.
I am a 60 year old lady who resides and works in Daylesford with my partner of 16 years.
I joined the Australian Army when I was 18 and completed my 6 week recruit training course at WRAAC school in Mosman NSW before I commenced my IET training in Signal Corps as a keyboard Operator.
I soon qualified as a cipher operator and it was essential that I obtained a Top-secret clearance for this position.
In Feb 1985 I raised the inaugural female platoon at 1 Recruit training battalion, and I was posted to this position for 2 years and raised 8 platoons overall.
In 1988 I was caught up in a ‘witch-hunt’ at Watsonia Barrack for being gay, where ultimately, I was told my security clearance would be reduced to Confidential, which meant I could no longer remain in the Corps of signals. The prospect of future promotion was next to zero and I would never be able to train female recruits again. I elected for honourable discharge after serving for 10 years!
Any prospect of serving 20 years and ultimately receiving a pension for life had been squashed simply because I was ‘homosexual’ – this policy was lifted 3 years after my discharge.
I was angry for many years and in 2016 I had the opportunity to tell my story to Shirleene Robinson and now my story is in print in the book titled Serving in Silence! written by Shirleene and Noah Riseman.
In 2020 I became a founding member of the DLVA Association and it this association that I am hoping can guide those that are in a similar situation to me to find the light at the end of the tunnel! An apology would be fantastic and compensation of sorts would be the cherry on the top!
Committee of Management Membership
If you wish to join the Committee of Management, you must first be a member. Post becoming a member, you can request to become a Committee member by contacting us and we will email you an application form.
All membership forms are processed monthly, so if you do not hear from us straight away, be assured we will be in touch as soon as it is processed.