As a gay Australian, I couldn’t be more grateful for the rights and freedoms our soldiers have won for us, while LGBTQIA people are tortured, killed and ostracised in nations around the world simply because of their sexuality.
At the 2017 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the Australian Defence Force marched proudly in support of the community. Seeing them marching in their uniforms up close, in perfect formation, with serious intent, was an inspiring moment for me and many other members of the LGBTI community.
Yet the next morning, Miranda Devine wrote in The Sunday Telegraph that the ADF should not have marched because they are meant to be “non-political”. Her point was that the ADF should not have worn their Rising Sun badge wrapped in the rainbow colours of the marriage equality campaign, because the military isn’t meant to be political.
Devine argues that their message was a “party political message” because of the Coalition’s plebiscite position, while the Labor and Greens want a parliamentary vote. Instead, she sees the Army’s involvement as a “radical social engineering experiment, rejecting what it regards as outdated male Anglo culture and segregating its troops according to ethnic, religious, sexual and gender identities which are accorded special privileges as victim groups, in the name of diversity”.
Let’s get this straight: Victim groups like the LGBTI community are afforded privileges, in Devine’s words.
You know, privileges like being unable to marry, having to constantly prove relationships to medical and financial institutions, jumping through a million hoops to have children, experiencing a higher rate of bullying, verbal and physical abuse than the wider population, and dealing with employment discrimination (especially for trans people – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg).