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10 Jan

There are ongoing challenges as conservative forces attack the ADF, especially around its support for transgender and non-binary members.

Yet, 25 years on, the ADF has grown to embrace LGBTI Australians in uniform.

These rules remained in place relatively unchanged until 1992.

While the policy required homosexuals to be treated “sympathetically and with discretion”, the 18 years from 1974 to 1992 were marked by witch-hunts, surveillance, intimidating interviews that could go for hours, and secret searches.

Twenty-five years ago, the ADF argued that gays and lesbians would hurt troop morale.

This was more than six months before New Zealand lifted its ban, eight years before the UK, and 19 years before the US repealed its infamous “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011.They were in Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and on peacekeeping missions.Men and women found ways to express themselves in secret, away from the watchful eye of the military police.But this change did not mean the ADF was now an accepting institution.Gays and lesbians who served in the 1990s remember a mix of acceptance, tolerance and derision from their fellow servicemen and women.The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.View the full list Last week’s overwhelming “yes” vote represents another step in progress toward LGBTI equality.It was actually at the behest of the Americans during the second world war, complaining about Australian men’s homosexual behaviour in Papua New Guinea, that the Australian army adopted a policy specifically targeting homosexuality.During and especially after the war, military police particularly targeted the women’s services to expel lesbians.The pressure even drove some LGB members to suicide.LGBTI people continued to enlist in the defence forces, motivated by the same sense of patriotism or employment opportunities as others.