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Isolated no more
21 July 2023
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The LGBT Veterans Independent Review was published on Wednesday 19th July. The report examined the effect the historic policy prohibiting homosexuality in the UK Armed Forces has had on LGBT+ veterans and personnel who served between 1967 and 2000.

The review highlights Defence’s unwavering commitment to understanding how best to support its veteran and LGBT community and fully accepts that their treatment prior to 2000 was unacceptable.

Today, the Government issued a formal apology to all those who were affected and mistreated in the enactment of the ban, with the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, making a statement in the House of Commons. The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, then issued a statement in the commons.

Statement by the Service Chiefs:

“As leaders of the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces, we welcome the publication of the independent report into LGBT Veterans. We are grateful to Lord Etherton and his team, and we applaud the courage of those who came forward to tell their story.

“This Report lays bare the appalling experience that many LGBT service personnel received in the Armed Forces, the far-reaching personal consequences and pain that some of our veterans experienced.

“We would like to apologise to those LGBT veterans who received unacceptable treatment from the military authorities, which was characterised by a lack of humanity and compassion. This regrettable treatment does not represent what Defence stands for today.

“We would also like to thank our LGBT veterans for their service. Like all those in uniform, they were ready to lay down their lives for their country. That is an extraordinary commitment, and the nation owes them our respect and esteem.”

Admiral Tony Radakin, Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Patrick Sanders, Chief of the General Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Knighton, Chief of the Air Staff and Admiral Sir Ben Key, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff

Defence has accepted the principles behind the recommendations and will be working with networks, charities, and the LGBT veteran community to ensure the measures delivered are appropriate and will have an enduring impact for our LGBT veterans and personnel.

If you know someone that was impacted by the historic policy, please encourage them to visit the LGBT veterans: support and next steps page GOV.UK page. The page provides information on support, services, and restorative measures currently available to LGBT veterans.  

For some, this review may surface distressing memories, whether that be from personal experiences, witnessing or implementing the policy. We encourage anyone who needs support or is struggling to come forward for help. We want you to know help is available and a full list of channels offering support, welfare or advice can be found below.

Defence remains dedicated to ensuring our LGBT+ personnel feel welcome and able to thrive in Defence. We are also committed to support those impacted in accessing any support, services, or appropriate restorative measures. 

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