Defence Members Show Their Pride

Pride flags flying for Pride Month. Stock photo

Peter Mallett 
Staff Writer 

Members of the Royal Canadian Navy’s employment equity advisory group wore civilian clothes instead of their uniforms at this year’s Victoria Pride Parade.

On June 26, five members of the Defence Team Pride Advisory Organization (DTPAO) and Positive Space Working Group attended the Victoria Pride Festival 2022 non-uniform, per the Victoria Pride Society’s request. DTPAO Military Co-Chair Master Sailor (MS) Erin Rautenstrauch marched in the parade under the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Change Makers banner.

“We had a great show of support from some former and current military members who stopped by our booth to tell us they were so proud to see us at Pride, and how much they were impressed with our group’s progress,” MS Rautenstrauch said.

The Victoria Pride Parade is the marquee event for Victoria Pride Festival 2022, held June 23 to July 2. In support of initiatives by Pride organizers, military members did not officially march in the parade or attend the information booth in uniform.

The Victoria Pride Parade was a great way for the DPTAO to inform currently serving members about the group’s function, said MS Rautenstrauch. The DTPAO was created as an official employment equity advisory group to provide official guidance to Canadian Armed Forces leadership in matters relating to LGBTQ2+ members.

MS Rautenstrauch said a few base military members signed up for DPTAO membership after stopping by their information booth at MacDonald Park under Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt’s banner.

MS Rautenstrauch said the overall experience was a positive one. “It was great to reach out to the public and celebrate our LGBTQ2+ members,” she said.

The DTPAO is a part of a wider network of five advisory groups at the local and regional levels, offering guidance to the Canadian Armed Forces leadership.

The Department of National Defence Employment Equity Defence Advisory Groups are:

  • DTPAO, Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group (DAAG),
  • Defence Visible Minority Advisory Group (DVMAG),
  • Defence Women’s Advisory Organization (DWAO) and
  • Defence Advisory Group for Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
  • The DTPAO also works closely with the Positive Space Working Group (PSWG), which focuses on the training and education of the base community.

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