Unity and inclusion in the ADF were recognised and celebrated at this year’s Defence Gay and Lesbian Information Service (DEFGLIS) Military Pride Ball in Sydney last month.

This year’s ball, held on October 1, marked the 30th anniversary of gay and lesbian personnel being able to serve in the ADF.

The award for excellence and inclusion went to Signaller Harry Gifford for his work in organising the ball and casual networking events throughout Victoria for current and former LGBTI members.

“I was very surprised but also grateful,” Signaller Gifford said.

“I had to come up with a speech on the fly when accepting the award.

“It recognises the dedication and hard work that I have put in with DEFGLIS, and the event is a great opportunity to network with senior leadership in Defence.”

Signaller Gifford has been involved with the Rainbow Wreaths services at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance on Anzac Day, and was the co-lead for the ball, which attracted more than 300 personnel, including Head of Force Design Major-General Anthony Rawlins.

“The event is a really good networking opportunity,” Signaller Gifford said.

“You have people from a wide variety of ranks; it’s a really good way of bringing the community together.”

Signaller Gifford said he hoped to be elected as a board member with DEFGLIS at the next annual general meeting.