Tuesday, December 03, 2013

NZ Defence Force: It Gets Better

This “It Gets Better” video is from the New Zealand Defence Force. That sort of thing was unimaginable when I was growing up.

The Zealand Defense Force is made up of some 14,000 people in the Regular Force, Reserve Force and civilian employees, and they serve in the Navy, Army and Air Force. They are an inclusive organisation, and welcomed openly gay service members years before repeal of the USA’s infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was even remotely possible.

This is mainly because of Kiwi culture—New Zealand is, after all, the first country in the world to give women the right to vote—which abolishes discrimination once it’s been identified. But the NZ Defence Force also values diversity as a source of strength for the organisation.

So, to try and ensure that their GLBTI community, and their families, are supported so personnel can perform at their best, The NZ Defence Force established OverWatch, which helps promote education of the public and other service members, and helps with promoting the NZ Defence Force as an equitable employer where LGBTI people are welcomed.

OverWatch also serves as a resource for the GLBTI community within the defence force, for personnel, their commanders and managers and their families. Most importantly, in some ways, they provide a positive message of support to personnel simply by being visible role models.

In that spirit, members of OverWatch made this video. They’re speaking not just to their fellow members of the NZ Defence Force, nor even just to young people considering a career in the military, but also to all the young LGBTI kids out there who desperately need to feel valued.

And that’s why I think this video is so awesome: The part of the New Zealand Government charged with protecting us all is making clear that everyone is included. This isn’t just another government department, in other words, but one of the most basic parts of any country’s government telling young people in particular that they are valued, they are important and they need to hold on because how ever bad things may be now, it will get better.

I think that’s a pretty good message.


Stu Pearce said...

Kia Ora mate. Just a quick note to say thanks for sharing our video and your comments in support of what we're hoping to achieve with the NZDF and the OverWatch support group. If you or your friends want to know more about what we're up to, check out our page: www.facebook.com/nzdfoverwatch

And if you plan to be at Auckland Pride Parade in 2014, make sure you give us a shout ;)


Squadron Leader
Chair - OverWatch

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Thanks for stopping by—and for your service in both the NZDF and in OverWatch!