Soldiers marching with Pride

NZ Defence Force staff will march in the Auckland Gay pride parade :

Members of the Defence Force will march in uniform in the Auckland Pride Parade next month.

The Defence Force’s Overwatch group – a peer support network for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members – has signed up for the parade.

Event organiser Jonathan Smith said: “I’m sure they’re going to be the crowd favourite.”

Smith said participation from the Overwatch group is a milestone for acceptance of sexual orientation. 

“I can’t say we’re the first pride parade in the world to have a defence force marching, but we’re definitely one of the very few where they’re actually permitted to march in uniform.”

It’s understood police diversity liaison officers will also take part, though not in uniform.

Smith said the February 16 parade along Ponsonby Rd will be held in the afternoon and be child-friendly.

A quick check of Youtube shows that this isn’t a first. In fact in July 2012 the Department of Defence gave permission for members to wear uniform in a Gay Pride Parade:

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