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Gay soldier Ben Rakestrow comes out on return from Afghanistan

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  1. Well done Ben in all respects!!

  2. Brian Burton 12 Dec 2009, 1:01pm

    Good for you Ben, your a Hero. Lots of Military Heroes were Gay and were not able to come out like ‘Lawrence Of Arabia.’

  3. BrazilBoysBlog 12 Dec 2009, 1:33pm

    Agreed. Congratulations Ben. Not just a British hero, but one of OUR heroes!

  4. good for you m8
    i struggled comeing out to my army m8s but it turns out they dont mind at all

  5. The guy is a hero!

    I was so impressed, I did a quite blog post about him.

    http://thestateofthenationuk.blogspot.com/2009/12/man-in-uniform.html

  6. It’s been nine years since the military ban on gay and lesbian troops was lifted in Britain; Ben’s story is a testiment to that, and the courage of being openly gay in an environment mostly dominated by masculine behaviour. Ben you are a hero and a credit to us all!

  7. Well done Ben! It took great courage to come out to your fellow comrades. Those comrades are true friends to treat you with the equal respect you deserve. I believe your story will also help others do the same, not just from within the Military but also professional footballers and sports stars who are still hiding behind a veil of secrecy. Just what are they ashamed of? If an Army guy can do it, so can they! Well done Ben! …and what a cracking lad!

  8. Nice one. I look forward to the Attitude photo shoot ;)

  9. Matt Sephton 12 Dec 2009, 6:47pm

    Well done, Ben! You will no doubt have set a very good example for others to follow!

  10. theotherone 12 Dec 2009, 7:11pm

    this is old news, I read it in the Daily Mail days ago and was rather charmed by the pictures of his pink bed spread.

    Good on you ben.

  11. Good on him! it is however sad that 9 years after the lifting of the ban, a coming out story in the forces should still be newsworthy. It should be utterly commonplace and uninteresting…

  12. All we need now is the other ‘Ben’ to do the same.
    K

  13. Proud2Serve webmaster 12 Dec 2009, 7:50pm

    What a great positive news story to come from our boys and girls currently serving their country in Afghanistan. Of course, Ben is by no means the first openly gay soldier to serve in the country.

    The article highlights the military contingent heading the London Pride parade which is now considered as ‘business as usual’. A glance at the medals worn on their chests tells the broader truth of military pride.

    Over 1000 of the many openly gay serving personnel tell their own story on the military LGBT community website at http://www.proud2serve.net/public

  14. I agree with zefrog. It shouldn’t be news. It should be commonplace.

  15. theotherone 12 Dec 2009, 10:50pm

    I should make plain: i’m not a Daily Mail reader (see my earlier post) but I do check all the major papers online.

    Just incase you thought I was a Daily Mail reader…

    Great to hear about that group oh great webmaster (can I call you ‘web?) and long may it last.

  16. What a hero, good on you Ben. He’s just the sort of role model young gay people need.

  17. Marcus Freudemann 13 Dec 2009, 3:16am

    Well done Ben, just hope others follow by example. Being Gay these day’s isn’t half as bad as it used to be 10, 15 and 20+ years go.

  18. Bishop Ioan 13 Dec 2009, 5:35am

    Well done Ben and wish you all the best.

  19. A wonderful story. I don’t agree with the British military presence in Afghanistan, but well done Ben. I hope all the brave gay and lesbian boys and girls (and they are usually little older than that) who take the Queen’s shilling feel able to do the same, and come home safe.

  20. “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.

    Since no one else has said it…
    America could learn a lot from that quote from the British Forces

  21. #20
    TIGRA 07.
    Exactly so…

    “Since no one else has said it…
    America could learn a lot from that quote from the British Forces..”

    And so could the Vatican.

    Keith.
    SALFORD

  22. yes, they could.

  23. Wow – he is HOT + good-looking!!!

  24. I say this to Obama “get rid of that 1993 stupid, embarrassing and silly policy what you America’s call the DADT policy NOW”!!!!

    DADT it has got to go, DADT has to go!!!!!

    Along with DOMA!!!!

    DOMA and DADT legal policy has to ripped-up into tiny pieces and put into the trash where it belongs!!!!

    All of there countries:

    Uruguay, France, UK, Australia, Israel (thats right a middle eastern country is way ahead of America), Canada, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Phillipines, etc, etc, etc DO NOT HAVE STUPID and INSAINE anti-gay military policies!!!!!

    Get with the times America!!!!!!!

    Last time I checked the calander it said December 2009!!!!! – Not May 1993.

  25. he’s a pin up boy for sure!

  26. This story makes the USA military policy rather outdated and pathetic! Britian leads and America, we hope, now follows! Come on Obama…how long does it take, what does it take!? Guts and conviction… to give all serving personnel true equality! States of America…Yes. United…No!

  27. It’s still newsworthy because he’s just back from Afghanistan . . . I say good on him – even though am against war.

  28. Adrian Tippetts 14 Dec 2009, 7:26pm

    (Good to see generally encouraging comments on the Daily Mail website – a sign that most of its readers realise that gay equality will not cause the sky to fall in.)

    I salute Ben and all his fellow service men and women for their bravery.

    That said, I’m concerned about the mission in Afghanistan. They should be helping democracy, fair representation and women’s rights take root, not just stop al Qaeda. Under the allied troops’ watch, we have seen farcical elections, laws passed that allow men to rape their wives if they refuse their husbands sex, and a journalist sentenced to death for downloading an article criticising Islam’s stance on women’s rights. Also, the ludicrous policy of scorching poppy fields will only enable terrorists to make money from the drugs trade. I hope Ben and others share my disappointment. The mission will not succed if the local people don’t come first. Human rights aren’t western ideas – they are universal.

  29. “A 21-year-old member of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR) has become one of the first British openly gay soldiers serving in a major conflict”

    Sorry to say this but I’m a serving soldier and that is the biggest load of bullcrap going, there have been quite a few openly gay, lesbian, bisexual soldiers who have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I really, really wish reporters would actually do some research…

  30. Much as I admire Mr Rakestrow I would like to ask him this:

    Good as it is that he can be open about his sexuality would he prefer it if he and his fellow soldiers were properly equipped and respected by a government who have sent him to fight an unjust and unwinnable war.

    He has my utmost repsect for putting his life on the line – but clearly not that of the lying moron Brown who thinks that soldiers are nothing more than a photo oportunity

  31. SteveDenver 15 Dec 2009, 12:28am

    I hope the U.S. can reach the level of decency and honesty as the U.K. and its soldiers. At the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, two ugly stories are vying for preeminence: sexual assault and religious intolerance. Isn’t it odd that the same atmosphere where Jews and Catholics are taunted and bullied also breeds a dangerous place for female cadets?

  32. The C*nt of Monte Crisco 15 Dec 2009, 9:28am

    Nice one Ben :)

  33. Brian Burton 15 Dec 2009, 9:55am

    Vulpus Rex,
    Go ahead you Moron with your BORING political clap-trap and turn this ‘GOOD STORY UGLY’ as all you ‘Con’servatives tend to turn everything you touch ugly!

  34. i wish the US would finally figure this out. what would happen if all of our glbt service persons were to all come out at the same time? there goes half the militarty. please US get your head out of the religious/bigot asses and assert the true nature of what this country was originally founded on. FREEDOM!!! and EQUALITY!!! it is so humiliating to be behind any other country in that area. not to disrespect those other countries for their forward thinking, all loving and respecting laws. but just the plain fact that we in the US are letting hate filled prejudiced people dictate what we do as a nation for our fellow CITIZENS!

  35. What a heart warming story. Good on you Ben. I hope it gives others in the Armed Forces the courage to also come out.

  36. First of all, I’d like to echo all the positive things that have been said above. Obviously, it is brilliant that gay people can play a role in the Army.

    My second point might annoy some people and may be thought rather simplistic, but I have been thinking it recently. It seems to me that armies, in general, are just professional gangs, employed by the state to protect the governments interest, and not necessarily the national interest, or the interest of the people in the nation. The Iraq war is a classic example, but most wars I think of were driven by crucial governmental interests. Now, think of the way that armies encourage troops to believe that they are doing the right thing, and that they are contributing to solutions, etc. This amounts to a form of propoganda in many cases. So in essence, this seems to me like a business employing gangs to do their bidding, and making the gangs do as they’re told by convincing them of the righteousness of often morally dubious courses of action.
    Once we see armies along these lines the whole army business becomes exceptionally sad, I’m afraid. But I must say, I don’t doubt the courage and admirable properties of army members. Nor do I deny that some wars are justified, and are not only driven by factors beneficial to governments. I’m just speculating that a large amount of them aren’t justified, and so essentially, the army then becomes a government’s gang.

  37. I wonder if the men, women and children in Afghanistan who are abused, mutilated and killed by “our brave boys” feel better about their experiences now? I am not sure I would.

  38. Declan Joel Delamere 15 Dec 2009, 5:38pm

    Just wanted to add to the earlier comments: congratulations on your courage both in service and on coming out… and thank you! Your straight m8s in the army sound like really good and cool guys, give them a pat on the back from us all too!

    Dec

    ps u on recon?? hehe ;-)

  39. Alan @28; could not agreemore! why are our lads dying for this evil corrupt Kazi regeime? wot differecne is there between him and the Taliban when he allows laws like that? women still sneaking around with more sheets covering them than my bed! AND our handsome young men being sent out as cannon fodder; wrote to the PM and got a fob off letter; the Govt is not interested in the people of this country! They just want our kids as cannon fodder to prop up a corrupt govt and a stupid bloke in a silly hat and cape!!!!

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