A Rainbow Legacy: The Squadron Leader Peter Rule story
Was on temporary display at Defence House in Wellington.
Content warning: this exhibition contains references to suicide.
Squadron Leader Peter Rule had a distinguished career as a pilot in the RNZAF, was a member of the RNZAF Antarctic Flight, represented New Zealand as a Military Liaison Officer at the United Nations, serving in Korea and the Middle East, and was awarded an MBE for his work. Yet in the mid-1970s he was pressured to leave the Air Force because he was gay. Peter was devastated. He went on to make a successful career as an arts administrator, but suffered from depression and in 1987, committed suicide.
This exhibition forms part of the New Zealand Defence Force’s ‘Pride 25’ commemorations, marking 25 years since LGBT+ personnel have been welcome to serve openly in our three services. By telling the story of Squadron Leader Peter Rule, it acknowledges all those who, like Peter, suffered discrimination in the past on the grounds of their sexual orientation, while also celebrating how far we have come, both in the military, and in wider society.
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