Australian Defence Force gets all hot and sweaty

Peace on earth and goodwill to all men is a common motto for this time of year. But it seems our nation’s defence commanders have consumed a little too much traditional cheer.

How else to explain a ruling that Australian Defence Force personnel may now march in gay and lesbian mardi gras parades – in their uniforms.

Frankly, I think it is an absurd decision and one that should be repealed. Not that my view has anything to do with enlightened or even customary views of homosexuality

It is twenty years since the ADF allowed gay and lesbian personnel to come out of the closet and lifted sanctions on admitting their sexual preferences.

It is now five years since Defence personnel made their military connections apparent while marching in Sydney’s massive mardi gras parade.

Good luck to them. It is a riotous occasion and a great emotional release for many who might otherwise remain buttoned-down.

But it is the nature of that emotional release that makes it unwise to sanction the wearing of official uniforms. Consider that most participants are being deliberately provocative by ridiculing conventional standards. Lampooning the sexual laity, if you like, is a key element of the mardi gras celebrations.

Allowing the ADF uniform to be humiliated in such a fashion is unwise. It can hardly boost morale. And if you disagree, consider how ‘straight’ members of the military will feel seeing their uniform being made the butt of laughter in such a way.

In this respect, there is every chance the ADF supremos may well unleash a backlash against the very personnel they claim to be supporting.

So, while the ADF big brass trumpet that they are making the forces ‘inclusive’ and are fostering diversity, they may just be shooting themselves in the foot.

Accommodating diversity of sexual preferences is enlightened but allowing the deliberate denigration of symbols (such as the uniform) is the height of folly. This is a case of bending over backwards in a way that is unseemly and it should be repealed.