Falklands veteran wins lawsuit to have medals returned after having military honours stripped for being bisexual
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has apologised and will return medals to a Falklands veteran who had his military honours stripped for being bisexual.
Joe Ousalice, 68, served as a radio operator in the Falklands War in 1982, as well as serving in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, during his 18-year career in the Royal Navy.
The navy took Ousalice to military court in 1993 and found him guilty of being in bed with another male soldier.
He still denies the charge but the fact that he is bisexual was revealed during the hearing, and the navy discharged him so that he would not “corrupt” others.
The navy confiscated Ousalice’s three Good Conduct badges a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. He said they were cut off him with scissors after he was charged.
In May, he announced that he was planning to take the MoD to court represented by Liberty, a human rights advocacy group.
According to Liberty, the MoD issued an apology which said: “Back in 1993, because of his sexuality, Mr Ousalice was treated in a way that would not be acceptable today and for that we apologise… We accept our policy in respect of serving homosexuals in the military was wrong, discriminatory and unjust to the individuals involved.”
Upon receiving the apology, Ousalice said: “I should have always been judged on the basis of my exceptional service and not my sexuality. History has shown us that a person’s sexuality has no bearing on how they perform in times of conflict.
“So many LGBT people were forced out of their wonderful careers and the consequences were devastating.
“It has taken me 27 years to resolve this and I had to take the MoD to court to get here. But I would like to acknowledge the apology finally offered to me today and urge the MoD to continue to do all it can to address the continuing and serious effects of its discrimination on LGBT veterans.”
The MoD said it plans to introduce a policy to return the medals of other LGBT+ people who served in the military and had them taken away.
According to the BBC, Ousalice will be presented with his Long Service and Good Conduct medal at a ceremony.