NZ military most tolerant to gay soldiers

New Zealand has topped a new global index ranking armed forces for inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexuals and transgender soldiers, with Australia rating in fifth place.

The LGBT Military Index assesses admittance, tolerance, exclusion or persecution of homosexuals to measure 103 armies worldwide, the Hague-based Centre for Strategic Studies think-tank said.

New Zealand topped the index and the Netherlands and UK ranked joint second with Sweden coming in fourth.

The US, at 40th, ranked below Romania. Nigeria came last in the survey.

The think-tank noted that New Zealand had produced a video for the "It Gets Better" project, which reached out to young people struggling with their sexuality.

In the video, introduced by then Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, nine defence force members spoke of being scared to tell their friends and family about their sexuality.

"I was gay, and that was how it was, and it wasn't going to change for me," says a corporal.

"Could I just live with a girl anyway, and still have the kids and the dog and the white picket fence?" says a flight lieutenant.

The video ends with each member saying things get better.

At the start of the video, the NZ Defence Force says it is proud to be an organisation that accepts its LGBT staff.

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