Lifting The Ban - 20 Years On
Today, on the 20th anniversary of the lifting of the ban on homosexuality in the military, I accompanied members of the Royal British Legion's LGBTQ+ and Allies Branch as they laid a poppy wreath at the Cenotaph on London's Whitehall to remember all those who were discriminated against.
On 12 January 2000 the way the British military treated homosexuality within its ranks changed fundamentally. Up until then, gay, lesbian and bisexual people had been banned from serving in the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF.
Many of course did sign up but were forced to hide their true identity. If they didn't, they risked an internal investigation and dishonourable discharge.
The Royal British Legion says the ban had "a major impact" on the lives on many veterans and their families and the charity now has a dedicated LGBTQ+ and Allies Branch has been going for a year.