Current Affairs

Ministry of Defence says sorry for expelling gays

Tony Grew June 28, 2007
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A military officer responsible for equality training has now issued an apology to the thousands of gay men and lesbians who were discharged from the British Armed forces because of their sexuality.

Wing Commander Phil Sagar runs the armed forces joint equality and diversity training centre.

He told BBC Radio 4:

“Of course we’re sorry for anyone who’s suffered personal trauma.”

In 2000, the government removed the ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving openly in the Armed Forces.

Since then the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force have joined the Stonewall Diversity Champions Scheme.

The scheme promotes best practice and gives organisations guidance and advice on how to create equality in the workplace.

“It went from ‘You’re fired’ to ‘You’re a valued member of the team’,” Wing Cdr Sagar said.

“I don’t think I’d sit here and say everything’s all right because there’s obviously still work to do.

“I’ve no doubt there are people who think very carefully about what they say when asked the question ‘What did you do at the weekend?”‘

Recently the Chief of the General Staff issued orders banning LGB Army staff from marching in uniform at this weekend’s London Pride.

General Sir Richard Dannatt was said to be concerned with a possbile breach of the Queen’s Regulations, which bar military personnel from taking part in political activities.

The Royal Air Force then announced that personnel who wear uniform to march in the Pride parade in London will face disciplinary action.

RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, the Chief of the Air Staff, to station commanders says that LGB airmen and women can attend Pride but not in uniform.

The Royal Navy allow sailors to march in uniform at Pride and uses it as a recruitment opportunity.

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