It has been announced that for Remembrance Sunday 2021, LGBT+ veterans will honour fellow servicemen and women at the National Service of Remembrance. It is the first time LGBT+ veterans have been openly invited to the event at the Cenotaph.
The spaces have been granted to Fighting With Pride, the first and only lived-experience charity addressing the health and wellbeing of LGBT+ veterans.
Craig Jones MBE, Joint Chief Executive of Fighting With Pride, said:
“It’s with immense pride that we will see LGBT+ veterans remember the service and sacrifice of members of our Armed Forces who gave their lives for our peace and freedom at the National Cenotaph. Standing alongside fellow veterans means a great deal to our community and being able to play a role in the day is a great honour for us all.”
Caroline Paige, Joint Chief Executive of Fighting With Pride, adds:
“The National Service of Remembrance is of great significance to everyone in the UK and in particular those who have been a part of the military. It’s a proud day to see LGBT+ veterans included and one we are all looking forward to.”
Lieutenant Elaine Chambers 60 will carry the wreath for LGBT+ Veterans’ charity Fighting With Pride. Elaine was formerly a Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps officer and with Army Bandsmaster, Warrant Officer Class 1 Robert Ely, founded the campaign and support group Rank Outsiders in 1991. Rank Outsiders supported dismissed LGBT+ veterans who were commonly turned away by military charities because they had been ‘Dismissed in Disgrace’. Elaine was forced to resign her commission following a 5-month investigation. Despite the devastating loss of her career, she has always held the Armed Forces in the highest esteem.
Lieutenant Elaine Chambers, who will also take part in the march on the day, said:
“It is such an immense honour to be invited to be part of the Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph. I look forward to taking my place with my fellow veterans as we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the peace and freedoms we enjoy today.”
Elaine will be joined by Lieutenant Commander Duncan Lustig-Prean who was dismissed from the Royal Navy in January 1995 following an eight-month investigation. Duncan’s case at the European Court of Human Rights paved the way for the lifting of the ban on 12th January 2000, the anniversary of his dismissal.
“For military people, taking part in Remembrance commemorations is a solemn duty. I so glad that LGBTQ+ veterans can now do their duty.”
For more information about Fighting With Pride visit: https://www.fightingwithpride.org.uk/