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Pride London’s delight at men in uniform

Tony Grew June 26, 2008
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The UK’s largest Pride parade will for the first time feature members of all three branches of the Armed Services in uniform after negotiations between organisers and the Ministry of Defence.

While gay and lesbian members of the Royal Navy marched in uniform at Pride London in 2006 and 2007 the three services up until this year had taken different attitudes.

A series of talks between Pride London and the MoD, convened by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Stonewall overturned the ban.

Last year the RAF announced that personnel who wore uniform to march in the Pride parade in London would face disciplinary action and the Chief of the General Staff issued orders banning LGBT Army staff from marching in uniform at the event.

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

The Royal Navy used sailors marching in uniform at Pride as a recruitment opportunity.

Pride London’s Chair, Paul Birrell commented:

“Pride London has been involved in discussions for members of the Armed Forces to be allowed to wear their uniforms in the parade for some time.

“I am delighted that the valuable contribution made by LGBT soldiers, sailors and airmen to front-line operations has at last been recognised.”

Gay and lesbian people have been allowed to serve in the Armed Forces since 2000.

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