Stories of service and sacrifice may cause distress.
See this resource list for help.

Defending with Pride

Stories of LGBTQ+ Service

1 August 2022 - 30 July 2023

This special exhibition is the first of its kind for an Australian war memorial. It reveals the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people in service.

Installation view of the Defending with Pride exhibition at the Shrine of Remembrance

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people have been proudly defending Australia through their military service since the formation of the armed forces. Today, anyone identifying as LGBTQ+ can serve openly in the Australian Defence Force (ADF): diversity and inclusion are values that our contemporary military actively champions and supports. It has not always been this way. It has been a long and often difficult journey for LGBTQ+ people to be recognised, accepted, and celebrated for their service.

Drawing on historical research, community consultation and collections from the Australian Queer Archives, this immersive exhibition takes you on a journey from denial and exclusion to recognition and inclusion.

At its centerpiece are the personal stories and reflections of veterans and current serving ADF personnel. Their testimony speaks to the richness and diversity of experiences of LGBTQ+ people in service: highlighting their continuing journey.

Take a virtual tour of the exhibition

Defending with Pride: Voices

This award-winning podcast series produced by broadcaster Megan Spencer delves into stories of Australian LGBTQ+ service people and their history in the Australian Defence Force.

This podcast is also available on Spotify and other streaming services.

The Shrine of Remembrance would like to thank the following for their contribution and support:

  • The Office of the Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities
  • The Defence Gay and Lesbian Information Support Service (DEFGLIS)
  • The Australian Queer Archives (AQuA)
  • Professor Noah Riseman
  • Dr Graham Willett

The exhibition is supported by the Department of Veterans' Affairs Saluting Their Service Commemorative Grants Program

If the content of this exhibition raises any concerns for you, support is available from the following services:

QLife: Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for LGBTI people. Phone: 1800 184 527

Open Arms: Free and confidential, 24/7 national counselling service for Australian veterans and their families, provided through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). Phone: 1800 011 046

Lifeline: Suicide and crisis support. Phone: 13 11 14

Beyond Blue: Free, immediate, short-term counselling advice and referral via telephone, webchat or email 24/7. Phone: 1300 224 636

Suicide Call Back Service: 24-hour counselling service for suicide prevention and mental health. Available via telephone, online and by video for anyone affected by suicidal thoughts. Phone: 1300 659 467

In the news

Defending with Pride: Stories of LGBTQ+ Service
Australian Arts Review, 27 July 2022

Landmark exhibition honours LGBTIQA+ veterans
ArtsHub, Stephen Russell, 2 August 2022

Don't let a row over lights fool you. The Shrine has room for all of us.
The Age, Graham Willett, 3 August 2022

Yvonne Sillett in conversation with Sean Szeps
Come Out Wherever You Are podcast, 4 September 2022

David Bradford in conversation with Sean Szeps
Come Out Wherever You Are podcast, 28 September 2022

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