While Trump’s military bans trans people, New Zealand Defence Force earns Rainbow Tick for LGBT inclusion

Rainbow Tick NZDF

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has been awarded a Rainbow Tick for LGBT+ inclusion, making it the the first military in the world to be given the independent accreditation.

The Rainbow Tick accreditation measures whether an organisation accepts and values LGBT+ people in the workplace, and the NZDF said the “intensive” assessment process took 13 months and 15 focus groups to understand whether LGBT+ employees felt “welcome, safe and included”.

Rainbow Tick director Martin King said: “This is a significant milestone for an organisation that has historically been perceived as very macho, and which many might perceive as not being safe and welcoming for LGBT+ people.”

Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short said that diversity and inclusion were key to the NZDF’s success, which was already proven when the organisation was recognised as the world’s most LGBT+ inclusive military in 2014.

He said: “The improved processes and practices made to increase inclusion for LGBT+ people actually benefit all our Defence people because they are about the NZDF becoming a more modern, flexible, people-focussed organisation.

“Whether in peacetime or on operations, our strength is team work, and that means living our values and treating each other with decency and respect.”

Earlier this year, the NZDF also announced that it would be updating its guidelines to allow personnel to wear makeup and nail varnish, regardless of gender.

A Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) fitted with rainbow flags followed NZDF personnel marching in the Wellington International Pride Parade 2019. (NZDF)

However, the idea that if people are accepted and able to be themselves at work then they will perform better does not seem to be something that US President Donald Trump agrees with.

Trump’s ban on trans people serving in the US military came into effect earlier this year and it is thought that around 13,700 trans military personnel lost their jobs due to the new law.

Trump first announced the ban in a series of tweets in July 2017. He wrote: “After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military.”

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”