The most senior solider in the British Army will show his support for gay troops next month when he attends the fourth Armed Forces LGBT Conference in London.
The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, will open proceedings at the two-day event in London.
In July the British Army became the 400th member of the Diversity Champions programme run by gay equality organisation Stonewall.
The scheme promotes best practice and gives organisations guidance and advice on how to create equality in the workplace.
The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are already members, alongside companies such as Barclays and IBM and many public sector bodies.
The Army will be working with Stonewall to promote good working conditions for all existing and potential employees and to ensure equal treatment for those who are lesbian, gay and bisexual.
LGB people have been allowed to serve in the Armed Forces since 2000.
General Dannatt said:
“One of the Army’s six Core Values is ‘Respect for Others’ and it is therefore our absolute duty to treat our fellow soldiers as we would wish to be treated ourselves,” he said.
“Discrimination against those in the Army who are lesbian, gay and bisexual does not give them a chance to contribute or to play a full part in the teams that are vital for our success on operations.
“Respecting others is therefore part of the trust that has to exist between soldiers, and the nation’s values of tolerance, decency and quality must be reflected in the Army.”
The Armed Forces LGBT conference is open to all service personnel.
Attendance from the LGBT community and junior ranks/ratings is particularly encouraged.
Ministry of Defence civil servants are also invited to attend.
The intent of the two day conference is: to update personnel on developments in the services’ diversity programmes; to participate in presentations and workshops covering areas of interest to LGBT personnel; and to provide an enjoyable informal social networking opportunity for personnel and their partners who may not have this opportunity at their home unit.