By Corporal Meghan Beauchamp, Signals Analyst, CFS Leitrim –
If you’ve attended Capital Pride here in Ottawa over the last two years, you’ve seen the Defence Team Pride – National Capital Region (DTP-NCR) staff in action. As the newest Defence Advisory Group (DAG) in the NCR, our aim is now broader than just participation in the Capital Pride Parade, even though that parade is exactly how DTP-NCR started. In August 2018, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) contingent in Capital Pride, which included the Central Band of the CAF and Veterans of the LGBT Purge, took to the parade route to resounding applause. Planning and managing that participation in less than two months is not something that can be achieved alone. I immediately sought volunteers for 2019 among the CAF LGBTQ2+ community and my own network of colleagues, sports teammates, and extended networks.
Since HMCS Carleton had a history of leadership and involvement with participation in Capital Pride, the ship’s Senior Recruiter, Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO 2) Victoria Tavares was the first person I asked. Together, PO 2 Tavares and I begin building the NCR’s new CAF LGBTQ2+ network by combining the efforts of both Regular and Reserve Force components with all ranks.
While our initial goal was focused on participation in Capital Pride, momentum was building across the country with LGBTQ2+ groups forming all over the CAF. Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden already had the well-established Borden Pride Network (BPN). Director Human Rights and Diversity (DHRD) at NDHQ(Carling) was beginning to develop the Positive Space Ambassador (PSA) program. Departments such as Security and Intelligence had also stood one up naming it the Interdepartmental Pride Network (IPN). BPN and IPN became an inspiration for the new committee we were creating in the NCR. We decided we could do more than just Pride planning, especially if we were linked to other networks both in and outside of DND. Around the same time at NDHQ(Pearkes), a network styled after the DAG model was founded and co-chaired by now retired (Ret’d) Major (Maj) Kathryn Foss and David Richard. Maj (Ret’d) Foss and I had met previously, so it was very easy to start a collaborative partnership that would link the National Defence Pride Network (NDPN) to our local organization.
In April 2019, the Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa) (CFSU[O])’s Employment Equity (EE) Officer, Captain (Capt) John Fullerton, contacted me to invite the NCR group to join CFSU(O) alongside the other four DAGs. With a new home at CFSU(O) and a place at the national table representing the NCR, DTP-NCR was officially stood up.
While LGBTQ2+ is not an official EE group, DTP-NCR’s function is very much the same. Therefore, we are part of a broader vision of diversity and inclusion within the CAF and specifically the local Defence Team. Most recently, I’ve stepped down and we’ve elected a new Military Co-Chair: Corporal (Cpl) Cory Hirst, coming to us from BPN success! DTP-NCR is looking for more committee members and is always growing its network. Working on the administrative and management side of the DAG takes as much or as little of your time as you’re willing to give. Bear in mind that there may be some deadlines for events, budgets, newsletter submissions, etc. If you want to stay in the know and join the community list, send an email to +Defence Team Pride NCR – La fierté de l’Équipe de la Défense RCN@CFSU(O)@Ottawa-Hull. Committee members will be addressed openly in communications; the distribution list will always be Bcc’d and confidential.
Thank you to CFSU(O) and everyone in the NCR who’ve supported and assisted me during my tenure. It has been a pleasure and an honour to serve you with Pride.
All Images Provided by Cpl Meghan Beauchamp
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