Pride In Her Identity

Department of Defence

In high school Flying Officer Ally McPherson realised she didn’t share the same interest in boys as her friends.

“I kind of always had a feeling growing up but it took me a long time to understand it,” she said.

In her early 20s she got into a relationship with one of her close female friends.

Her parents would joke about them spending lots of time together and ask if they were anything more than friends.

“I ended up saying, ‘yeah, actually, we are’,” Flying Officer McPherson said.

“My friends and family were supportive.”

She joined Air Force in 2019 as an air traffic controller, feeling the organisation was supportive of the LGBTIQ+ community.

“That was a big driving factor for me,” Flying Officer McPherson said.

“When I first joined, I was worried to be out there from the beginning in case that was all that was seen.

“I wanted people to get to know me, as Ally, before I felt comfortable to share this part of me.”

Flying Officer McPherson explained that it is still an ongoing process.

“I’m much more open about it but I’m definitely not all the way there yet,” she said.

“Every time I meet someone new or am part of a new group, there’s a realisation that I am going to have to ‘come out’ again. No matter how many times you do it, it can be daunting.

“It has nothing to do with Defence per se but a general human hesitation about not being accepted by the group.”

She was inspired to participate in this year’s Mardi Gras after her involvement with Defence LGBTIQ+ Information Service (DEFGLIS) and the Top End Pride march last year.

The march is a celebration that takes place in Darwin, showcasing the diversity and inclusivity of the LGBTIQ+ community.

It was an opportunity to represent the ADF and individuals from various backgrounds to promote equality, love and acceptance.

Through connections and friendships she has made through DEFGLIS and her experience during Top End Pride, she realised that being queer was a big part of her identity and something she should be proud to share.

“I feel like part of the community and it is helping to give me the confidence to be who I am, unapologetically,” she said.

Flying Officer McPherson thinks it’s beneficial to be around individuals who enable you to feel comfortable being your authentic self.

“You can be you, and Defence is a really good place for that,” she said.

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