While the United States only recently ended its Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy on gays in the military, Australia has allowed gay men and lesbians to serve openly since 1992.
Over the years, the Australian Armed Forces are becoming more and more socially accepting of those who are part of the queer community, active service people tell us. A tough battle for acknowledgment and equal treatment has finally resulted in a happier and healthier working environment.
Three service people of the armed forces who are members of DEFGLIS, the Australian Defence Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex information service, were kind enough to open up to Same Same about their time serving the sunburnt country thus far.
Born in Brisbane, Flight Lieutenant Nathan White (pictured above) has been in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for just under a decade and hasn’t yet reached his highest potential. He tells us he has big plans for the coming years on the job.
White has wanted to fly since childhood, he explains. “I have since I flew the first time when I was seven years old and then I found out about Defence at about age 13 or 14, so I knuckled down, studied hard and got in.
“I did three years at university and then two years of flight training to get my wings. From there, operational conversion is six months. So, total that up and 5 ½ years later and you’re a qualified pilot,” he explains.
“I would like to be a flight commander. I think that would be really rewarding. I guess that’s my goal for the next five years with the next promotion.”