The Ministry of Defence have said that it wants to address a “historical wrong” with the launch of the scheme.

Until the year 2000, LGBT military personnel had to hide their sexuality in order to serve.

Johnny Mercer, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence People and Veterans, said on Twitter:

“I’m determined to address the scars of our past. So from today, we are opening up a process to reinstate operational medals to those who were stripped of them just for being gay. Thank you for your service, and I’m sorry for what happened to you.”

Writing in iNews here, Mercer said:

“Today we regard our diversity as one of our greatest strengths. We have an LGBT Champion and a range of active military and civilian staff networks that support LGBT personnel. Same-sex couples have been able to co-habit in all service accommodation since last year. We’ve celebrated as personnel from all three services marched with their civilian counterparts in Pride events. We’ve illuminated our main building in Whitehall with rainbow colours to recognise the value of our LGBT colleagues. But while Defence has come a long way, not all of our veterans have been able to move on. Consider the case of veteran Joe Ousalice. He served on board the MV Myrmidon as part of the task force dispatched to liberate the Falkland Islands after the Argentinean invasion in 1982. His career included six tours of duty in Northern Ireland and secondment to a Nato task force. But, despite a distinguished career, Joe’s hard earned medals for long service and good conduct were shamefully taken away from him as a result of his sexuality.

We can’t turn the clock back but we can make amends. That’s why last year, 27 years after his medals were confiscated, the Defence Secretary personally handed Mr Ousalice his medal back. Sadly, Joe’s experience is not unique. Others have forfeited medals too.

So, as we celebrate our LGBT heroes this month, with LGBT History Month, we pledge to do more than praise their enormous contribution to our armed forces. We vow to restore the respect of all those wronged individuals. For some time the MoD has been working hard to rectify the complex legal and practical issues surrounding this unfair medal policy. As a result, from today, we are inviting any personnel affected or, in some cases, the families of those no longer with us, to apply to have their cherished medals returned. All those who believe they are eligible should visit the gov.uk website for further details.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

“Those who serve in our Armed Forces deserve every recognition for their service. It was a very great injustice that this was denied to some members simply because of their sexuality. I hugely welcome the fact we can now address this historic wrong.”

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Ian M.
Ian M.
8 months ago

As is only right and proper.

Mark F
Mark F
8 months ago

Good about time.

Mike Saul
Mike Saul
8 months ago

My opinion and view of a person’s sexuality has changed since I served. This is in the right thing to do, honour all those that served regardless of their sexuality

John Clark
John Clark
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Saul

Absolutely Mike, it’s a wrong that’s being finally put right…..

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Mike Saul

Mike, spot on. it’s always about were we are in our journey at that moment and where we try to end our journey, not where where we started from. The character of a person is as much about how they are willing to listen and change as it is about who they were.

Derek
Derek
8 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

If you serve, you deserve. Damn, that doesn’t come across as well as intended. Sorry lads and lasses.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago
Reply to  Derek

Pretty much sums it up I would say.

Rob
Rob
8 months ago

About time too. 4.2 million people served in the British Army during WW2 and they were all heterosexual? Come on. Col Bob Stewart (MP & late Cheshire Regt) told the House of Commons that a well known Btn of the Guards Armoured Division which fought very bravely and suffered many casualties was known to the Army as the ‘queer Battalion.’ Time to get over it and move on…

Brom
Brom
8 months ago

About bloody time

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 months ago

Good stuff, since when did sexual orientation and who you choose to love have any impact on your worth as a human being. It is important to remember even in our free and liberal society that the struggle for freedom of sexual orientation and gender choice is still a real thing, as is the question of how do we create a sensible dialogue around areas where one freedom can impinge on another. We should always judge and laud people on their actions and positive impact ( be that bravery in war or endeavours to help our fellow man). Probably a… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Jonathan