He dances up a storm at each Mardi Gras parade - and this year, his video has gone viral across the globe... but who is the fun loving, shimmy, grinding dance machine from the Australian Federal Police?
Guidetogay.com caught up with Federal Agent Tony De Smet for this exclusive chat.Your incredible dancing has been causing a stir with our readers across the globe, and has become a viral hit. What made you jump into the crowd? Was it the Kylie song?
Haha, incredible dancing? Thanks! I love to mingle while marshalling before the Parade and when I hear a great song I just dance and enjoy myself. I’ve been known to spontaneously dance while at my desk at work or in the middle of the gym. Kylie may have something to do with it……..Ssshhhhh don’t tell anyone though.
Your actions on Parade night have given such a positive light to community / police relations - particularly after last year's incidents on the parade route. How has the new accord (brokered by Mardi Gras, Government and the Police Forces) impacted throughout your branch of the Police - THE AFP?
As the AFP was not part of this accord this is a question for NSW Police.
Photos of Tony throught the years at Mardi Gras. Pics courtesy of Deepfield Photography
Just a few weeks ago, another publicly serving officer had to go through “an enquiry” for dancing with punters at a music festival. How has the AFP reacted to your ‘community engagement’?
The AFP has reacted positively to the dancing videos. The AFP has a strong commitment to increasing the representation of people from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community (GLBTI). Last year the Pride in Diversity organisation judged the AFP the highest ranking Public Sector Organisation in terms of LGBTI-friendliness.
For those who don’t know the differences in police forces, can you tell us what the difference between the AFP and state force is?
The AFP's role is to enforce Commonwealth criminal law and to protect Commonwealth and national interests from crime in Australia and overseas. The AFP is Australia's international law enforcement and policing representative, and the Government's chief source of advice on policing issues.
The AFP works closely with a range of other law enforcement bodies at state, territory, Commonwealth and international levels, enhancing safety and providing a secure regional and global environment.
The AFP is also responsible for providing policing services to the ACT under the auspices of a Policing Arrangement between the Commonwealth and ACT Governments.
How does the AFP engage with the LGBTQI community year round?
The AFP GLLO network has over 127 registered members which have undertaken a specific training program to support their GLLO role.
GLLO Network members foster diversity by:
· assisting the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Australian community;
· supporting people in the organisation who may have Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex concerns or issues and
· providing advice to managers when dealing with sensitive sexual diversity issues.
With this year's Mardi Gras theme of "Kaleidoscope", we've been asking folks what colour of the kaleidoscope they would be. Which colour are you?
It might sound a little cliché but I’d be blue because it matches my outfit.
The dust has settled on yet another Mardi Gras season. What has been the feedback from your colleagues, both straight and gay?
I work in a team of 14 and my colleagues are the most supportive and fun group of people. About 7am on Wednesday morning I walked into work and one of my Team Leaders (Sergeant) called me over to his desk and asked if I’d seen the video. I had to ask which one as so many had started making the rounds. There have been a lot of laughs and I may or may not have had to buy a round of drinks for appearing on so much social media!
On the night of the Parade, the AFP contingent was led by an Assistant Commissioner and the AFP Senior Executive are very supportive of diversity.
I’ve been with the AFP almost 10 years and marched almost every year. It’s one of the most accepting and inclusive places I’ve worked even if I’m now known as “The Cop with the Bop”.
Will we see a “Dancing Tony” float at next years parade?
If I have anything to do with it – Yes!You can watch the video on Guidetogay.com' Video section