Thank you for your amazing support to FWP’s campaign for restorative justice for LGBT+ veterans affected by the ‘gay ban’ and for those who were dismissed because they were perceived to be gay. In little more than three years, we have taken this campaign from a standing start to see a rare apology on behalf of the nation state and the hope of meaningful reparations. As we enter the final and most important stage, we need you to support and enable your own MP to realise the importance of supporting getting this right.
We are aware that this email could cause disquiet for many members of our community. Please read this in the context that you are part of a campaign for reparations that is winning. The review has happened, the Prime Minister has apologised, and there is a commitment to reparations – but it is also a moment to make sure that the final outcome brings some sense of justice.
We expect the Government to formally respond to the findings of Lord Etherton’s LGBT Veterans Independent Review soon in a Parliamentary debate. We do not know when that debate will happen, but we anticipate it will be later in November or early December.
This may be our last opportunity to influence the outcome of the reparations discussions and perhaps one of the last times we will ask you for help. From our discussions in Whitehall, we have learned that MOD and the Armed Forces have worked hard to put together a meaningful and appropriate set of reparations; however, the Government’s intentions with regard to financial recompense are not known to us, and this is the moment for each and every voice to be heard.
The Independent Review recommended a £50M cap on financial compensation. This is totally unacceptable. Statistics can be a bit dangerous in this arena, but if 2500 veterans step forward, that would mean average payments of £20,000. For those who have experienced the worst of this wretched policy, this is not a sum of money that would bring feelings of justice, comfort, or security in later life. The cap must not be adopted, and a fair system of compensating veterans with meaningful payments must be put in place. Money can never restore your loss, but these payments must be made at a level that ends some of the misery inflicted by the ‘gay ban’.
Attached to this announcement is an example letter for Veterans to send to their MPs. You are welcome to copy it or write something of your own. The key points you should make are :
– the ban was a shocking breach of the Armed Forces Covenant that resulted in LGBT+ members of our Armed Forces being treated with cruelty. The impact upon them has lasted a lifetime.
– The £50M reparations cap recommended by the Independent Review cannot be justified and must not be implemented.
– Reparations payments must be substantial and recognise the lifetime of shame, loss and hurt inflicted by the ban. The payments must bring a sense of justice for these veterans and the comfort and financial security we would wish for all veterans in later life.
If you aren’t sure how to connect with your MP, we have attached a Stonewall guide that was provided following one of our Town Halls earlier in the year, providing additional advice on this. Our example letter below already includes their recommended EPIC format (Engage, Problem, Inform, Call).
When we asked for you to complete our survey in August, over 300 veterans replied, which had a big impact, please help if you can.
We appreciate your help.
Together, we will win.