This year in the Centenary of ANZAC, members of DEFGLIS and LGBTI veterans will lay wreaths in capital cities around Australia to commemorate the service of LGBTI Defence personnel at Gallipoli and in recent conflicts.
Current serving LGBTI service personnel along with a veteran members of DEFGLIS will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph at Sydney’s Martin Place, Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance and at the Stone of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Planning is underway to lay wreaths in additional cities including Perth, and Townsville.
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 Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne in 1982. 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 Centenary of ANZAC, DEFGLIS would like to establish a new tradition of commemorating the service and sacrifice of LGBTI personnel,” said Chong. “The service of LGBTI Australians at Gallipoli and in recent conflicts is worthy of specific remembrance.
“For those forced to hide who they were, while bravely fighting for freedoms they could never enjoy, we remember their sacrifice.”
ANZAC Day holds particular significance to current and former members of Defence, signifying a day of remembrance that commemorates the service to the nation. The period of commemoration also symbolises 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.
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.
For more information on the Centenary of ANZAC, visit: www.anzaccentenary.gov.au for details.
Image: The Cenotaph at Martin Place, Sydney