An independent study of the impact of the pre-2000 ban on gay personnel in the military has been launched.
The review is part of the Veterans Affairs Strategic Action Plan, which has also been launched.
The independent review will allow the government to better understand the lived experience of LGBT veterans who served before 2000, including how being discharged from the military because of their sexuality affects their lives.
The information and experiences gathered through the review will allow the government to better tailor support to the LGBT veteran community.
Minister of Defence, People and Veterans Affairs Leo Docherty said:
As the modern military embraces the LGBT community, it’s important that we learn from the experiences of LGBT veterans who were impacted by the pre-2000 ban.
This review will give veterans a voice and, most importantly, help us better tailor support to the community.
Equalities Minister Mike Freer said:
This government is committed to righting the wrongs of the past. Listening to veterans affected by the ban will be key to moving forward.
Our armed forces gave us freedom and peace, and I’m proud to stand with all LGBT veterans.
Craig Jones MBE and Caroline Paige, co-CEO of Fighting With Pride, said:
We welcome this important step by the government in its work to find a remedy for LGBT+ veterans who have presented for military service and been treated in a way that does not reflect the values of the UK today.
During this review, the Independent Chair will hear testimonies from veterans whose lives have been shattered by criminal convictions, prison sentences and disgraceful dismissals, and the lasting impact on those lives.
Thousands more have prematurely terminated their careers through administrative or other means. FWP looks forward to working with the government to achieve an honorable outcome for LGBT+ veterans.
Once a review chair is announced, they will provide more details on how staff affected by the ban will be able to contribute to the review, ensuring their voices are heard.
The government has already taken steps to allow those who have lost medals for reasons related to their sexuality to claim their return. The Home Secretary also recently announced an expansion of the Non-Compliance Scheme, so that more veterans can benefit from it.
The review will provide information and recommendations on:
- The potential impact the ban may have had on LGBT veterans, including implications for their future lives
- Accessibility of Veterans Services for LGBT Veterans
- How the government can ensure LGBT veterans are recognized and fully accepted as members of the Armed Forces community
The Veterans Affairs Bureau will continue to work with the charitable sector to help individuals resolve issues that may arise from the historic ban on LGBT people serving in the armed forces.
The terms of reference of the journal will be published in due course.