The Royal Navy and the Royal Marines have won the Public Sector Equality award at the 2018 PinkNews Awards.
The award recognises the contributions of public sector organisations that have gone above and beyond to become LGBT+ inclusive and show their support for LGBT+ rights.
— PinkNews (@PinkNews) October 17, 2018
Previous winners include intelligence agency GCHQ and the British Army.
The award was presented by Lord Cashman and Olympian Mark Foster, and was picked up by Michael Hill on behalf of the Navy and Marines, who said: “It is a pleasure to accept the award.
“We’ve come so far on our diversity journey and ensure that we invest in the best talent, and ensure we protect all in the community.
“Whatever we do in the world, wherever we are, we stand together with our shipmates, particularly this week our trans shipmates ahead of the [gender recognition] consultation.
“We are proud to serve.”
Since the lifting of the ban on LGBT+ military service in 2000, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines have been on a journey to prioritise diversity of thought and protecting the interest of the nation, including all diverse communities.
The Royal Navy and Royal Marines have LGBT+ role models throughout the organisation, including the most senior openly gay officer in the UK, who provide training. Both organisations prioritise heath, offering HIV testing and treatments as well as a network of psychiatric specialists.
The Royal Marines joined the Pride in London parade for the first time in 2018, with this year’s contingent headed by the Navy and Marines.
Lt Col Aldeiy Alderson has led calls for the Marines to be more LGBT-inclusive.
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He told PinkNews at Pride: “I joined in 1996 when it was illegal to be anything other than heterosexual [in the armed forces]. You were actively hunted, at the cost of nearly £10 million per year. Since then we’ve come a long way.
“I’ve played a small part in the Royal Marines being more comfortable in talking about some of the issues surrounding LGBT+.”
Of the Marines marching at Pride, he said: “I think it demonstrates a couple of really strong messages: all are equal and all are welcome, whatever your perceived minority status.
“If you want to join the armed forces, you should look forward to fair pay, fair treatment, strong leadership, and honest and transparent rules that you might not find in every walk of life.”
The other nominees in the category were the House of Commons, Welsh Government, Northumbria Police, Transport for London, De Montfort University, National Assembly of Wales, St Andrews University, Ministry of Justice and Nottinghamshire County Council.
The sixth annual PinkNews Awards ceremony was hosted at Church House in Westminster.
Speakers at the event included Home Secretary Sajid Javid, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.