By RAdm Luc Cassivi,
Champion, Defence Team Pride Advisory Organization
The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia is a day to reflect on our attitudes towards others, to confront and overcome our biases. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge that around the world, LGBTQ2+ individuals are still the victims of violence. As the Defence Team forges on to create a more inclusive workplace, acknowledging the persistent and frequent misconduct being brought to light recently, I can’t think of a better time than today for us to rally together to combat homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia.
Despite the progress made since the end of the LGBT Purge, too many people still do not feel they can be honest with their team members about their own identity for fear of harassment, career impact or other negative outcomes. They also feel that most of our policies and processes are not supportive of their identity and lived reality. This situation negatively impacts their well-being, team cohesion, and our ability to create an inclusive and respectful environment for all – it must change.
These changes can only take place if we all contribute to the effort. All members of the Defence Team deserve to feel safe, and be treated with dignity and respect.
We are pleased to recognize the significant step taken by the Defence Team to include the voices of our LGBTQ2+ communities by officially recognizing a fifth Defence Advisory Group: the Defence Team Pride Advisory Organization (DTPAO), previously known as the Defence Team Pride Network. This group of volunteers from across the country will provide much needed advice, education, and critical support to Defence Team leadership and members, to further promote an environment of dignity and respect for all. The DTPAO looks forward to working collaboratively with newly established Level 1 Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture as we move forward. LGBTQ2+ members and allies are encouraged to join in these efforts to create an inclusive environment worth celebrating.
We know there are people who still feel the harm of discriminatory policies like those that led to the LGBT Purge and although we can never undo the pain those policies caused, we can learn from our mistakes and do better for our members. We welcome the recommendations from the LGBT Purge Fund Report on the state of inclusion in the federal workplace, as an opportunity to improve because we are committed to eliminating all forms of discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation within the Defence Team. This year, we are raising the Pride flag across the country to show support for and solidarity with LGBTQ2+ members, and to reinforce the message that everyone belongs. I encourage everyone to show support by joining the DTPAO or by becoming allies to help create safe, inclusive and respectful workplaces.
Let’s reflect on our values and support a Defence Team in which everyone feels safe and welcomed to bring their whole selves to a workplace free of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia.