Better Late Than Never: Review into the Treatment of LGBTQ Veterans
- AuthorCarrie Clewes
The Government launches review into the treatment of LGBTQ veterans and the pre-2000 ban on LGBTQ+ Members of The Military.
Prior to the year 2000, where four ex-servicemen and women who were dismissed for being gay, won their case in the European Court of Human Rights, it was illegal for members of the LGBTQ+ community to serve in the armed forces. Many members who were found out were dismissed, prosecuted and stripped of their medals, at the very least.
On Wednesday 19th January 2022, more than twenty years after the ban was lifted, the Government launched a review into the treatment of LGBTQ+ Veterans during their time of service. The Government hopes that it will enable them to look at the impact the ban had on LGBTQ+ Veterans, and their future lives; as well as ensuring the services for LGBTQ+ veterans are accessible. It will also look to ensure that LGBTQ+ Veterans are recognised and fully accepted members of the armed forces. The review has encouraged many ex-LGBTQ veterans to share their experiences of their time in the Forces under the ban. David Booney, an ex-RAF Medic, informed the BBC that he served months in a military prison in Colchester in 1995 after being convicted of ‘Homosexual conduct’. Although he was freed on appeal, the conviction is still on his criminal record, and he says it has had a long-lasting impact on his life.
Caroline Paige, who is co-director of military charity ‘Fighting with Pride’, was the first openly transgender servicewoman to serve in the military. She told the BBC that "It was 22 years ago but you have to bear in mind that for some of these veterans the journey has been even longer than that because they were dismissed in the 60s, 70s or 80s, and have been living their lives without any kind of support. The review is just the start of what needs to be done."
The Government are yet to release the full scope of the review, but it is hoped that this will be a step in the right direction, at long last, for the improvement in treatment of LGBTQ+ veterans in the UK.
Know your legal rights
With this in mind, knowing your legal rights can help you make sure that you get the support you need at home, in the workplace and in the community. If you are part of the LGTBQ+ Community and believe that you have been discriminated against, we at Chattertons would love to help.
(Co-wrote by Bobbie Thurman)