Help for Heroes supports those members of the veterans’ community who are angered that publication of a key report, into the experience of LGBT+ veterans affected by the pre-2000 ban on homosexuality in the Armed Forces, has been delayed.
The report, which was the culmination of an independent review on this issue chaired by Lord Etherton, was expected to be published on 8 June at a launch event held at the Imperial War Museum. The launch event went ahead, but neither the report nor a summary of its recommendations was made public.
No new date for publication has been announced, and there is concern that it will now be pushed back towards the Summer Recess in Parliament, a time where it is less likely to receive Government attention.
Jean Macdonald, a veteran who was dismissed from the Armed Forces for being gay, and who attended the launch event, said:
“It was deeply disappointing to have come to this event with the expectation that we were going to see a clear pathway for Government to recognise and compensate LGBT+ veterans for the harm that was caused by the discriminatory ban laid out. For no answers to be given was deeply frustrating.”
It is expected that the report, which has been submitted to the Government for consideration, will recommend an official apology and financial compensation to those men and women who were investigated, wrongfully discharged, imprisoned, or subjected to harmful ‘conversion therapy’ practices whilst in the Armed Forces because of their sexuality or perceived sexuality.
This review was brought about following a campaign led by Fighting with Pride (FWP), the UK’s only LGBT+ veterans’ charity to provide justice for the hundreds of veterans who served our country, but who have suffered substantial harm to their emotions, finances, or health, as a result of the ban. It is estimated that 20,000 veterans were forced out of Armed Forces due to the pre-2000 ban and over 1150 submitted evidence of their experiences to this review.
Help for Heroes supported FWP’s campaign by hosting a roundtable event which brought together key stakeholders from across the Armed Forces and LGBT+ sectors as well as from Government.
It has also have worked with parliamentarians to build support for the review and its recommendations and encouraged veterans with lived experience of the ban to submit evidence to the review.