INCLUSIVENESS: RAAF officer Flight Lieutenant Joe Monteith and No. 35 Squadron Warrant Officer Ralph Clifton show support for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia.
INCLUSIVENESS: RAAF officer Flight Lieutenant Joe Monteith and No. 35 Squadron Warrant Officer Ralph Clifton show support for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia. CPL Nicci Freeman

RAAF Amberley celebrates IDAHOBIT

DONNING a giant rainbow ribbon, 35SQN, of RAAF Base Amberley, celebrated IDAHOBIT on May 17 and stood with their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex friends and colleagues.

Medical officer FLTLT Joe Monteith, medical officer and vice-president of the Defence LGBTI Information Service, spoke at the squadron afternoon tea and said the day represented a chance to engage in conversations and share experiences of how thinking differently benefitted the whole of Defence to help build capability in the long run.

"I commend the ADF for celebrating this day as it shows how far we've come in a relatively short period," FLTLT Monteith said.

"I have seen a demonstrable cultural change in the past eight to nine years that I have been serving, with great improvements in inclusivity and support for a diverse workforce.

"This was one of the first squadronwide IDAHOBIT events at RAAF Base Amberley and it was an absolute honour to be invited to speak.

"It was a great way to educate military 35SQN personnel gather together on members about LGBTI issues, but also to show the LGBTI community's gratitude to 35SQN. It means the world to us to have the support of our workplace."

CO 35SQN WGCDR Ben Poxon said the goal of acknowledging days such as IDAHOBIT was to foster an environment in which all personnel were valued, supported and empowered to contribute, develop and succeed.

"We want to promote a workplace that nurtures inclusivity and diversity," WGCDR Poxon said.

"Defence capability is built upon team cohesion and respect. We are standing strong beside a number of members in our squadron that identify as LGBTI and couldn't be prouder of their commitment to service and innovation.

"It is our hope that this message reaches out further than just our squadron."

May 17 commemorates the World Health Organisation's decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.

It is now a day to raise awareness of violence and discrimination against LGBTI communities worldwide.



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