Military march in show of pride

Last updated 05:00 18/02/2014
Fairfax NZ

Defence Force leaders to "walk the talk" of equality by marching with gay and lesbian colleagues.

Relevant offers

Politics

Transport Minister Simon Bridges stands by Northland promise Colin Craig's lawyers in talks over Rachel MacGregor saga Scholarship exam fees a barrier for low decile schools - Labour NZ First leader Winston Peters keeps mum on deputy coup rumours Children's free GP visits kick in tomorrow Auckland to get a third of $13.9bn national transport fund MPs have better access than most when it comes to getting a rugby ticket Chris Laidlaw elected new GWRC chairman, rates set at 9.8 per cent New Zealand plans to focus on Mid-East on the security council Northland leader Sonny Tau forced to step down as Nga Puhi negotiator

Amongst the fun and glam of this year's Pride parade, set to take over Auckland's Ponsonby Rd this weekend, uniformed military personnel will be marching to show support for their gay and lesbian colleagues.

The Defence Force contingent of about 70 personnel includes leaders and would be a mix of gay and straight staff.

Among them would be soldier Hemi Frires, who said participating in the march would be a proud moment in his career.

"It shows off the Defence Force as an equitable employer and shows the support of the full command chain for our personnel," Frires said.

"It's important to me as an individual because it is a celebration of how far we've come as an organisation. Now we have a great open service and support policy in place."

Coming out in the Defence Force was not an easy personal moment for Frires, who was secretary at Overwatch, a support group for GLBTIQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning) personnel.

But the Tauranga man said the Defence Force was supportive and he had always been treated just like anyone else.

Assistant chief personnel Brigadier Howie Duffy would march in the parade.

It was important for the Defence Force to "walk the talk,'' Duffy said.

''Last year was the first time and it was a milestone.

"I think it's important to do that as leaders... to show that we value all people in our Defence Force."

For straight and gay personnel to march alongside each other with their leadership in uniform was one small way to send the message that all personnel were valued equally, Duffy said.

The parade, themed around the concept of "time," would travel north on Ponsonby Rd from Western Park to Three Lamps, beginning at 7pm.

Ponsonby Rd would be closed to traffic from 4pm until 10pm and there would be parking restrictions.

The liquor ban in Ponsonby Rd would be enforced.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content