Today sees the first step in addressing the impacts of historical wrongs endured by the LGBT+ Veterans community, due to dismissal or being forced from service, on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.

FWP is delighted to see the Ministry of Defence release news of a scheme to allow the restoration of service medals to those former Armed Forces personnel who were dismissed from service based on their sexual orientation or gender identity*, and who had their medals taken from them.

This is the first step in acknowledging wider ranging reparations and FWP is working closely with the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) to help the Government understand the impacts of pre-2000 discrimination in the Armed Forces, in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. Our aim is to ensure that the impact of all historical wrongdoing is acknowledged and appropriately addressed, not just the return of medals.

Defence Minister Baroness Goldie said:

“It is deeply regrettable that because of their sexuality some members of the Armed Forces were in the past treated in a way that would not be acceptable today.

“As a result of disciplinary action and their dismissal from service, some personnel forfeited medals that they had earned, and others were denied the opportunity of continued service that could have resulted in the restoration of medals that were forfeited for different reasons.

“I am very pleased now to be in a position to address this wrong and to invite any personnel affected or, in some circumstances, the families of those who are deceased to apply to have their medals returned.”

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:

“LGBT personnel have and continue to make significant contributions to the Armed Forces.

“Today’s announcement addresses a historic injustice and demonstrates that the military is a positive place to work for all who choose to serve.

“I encourage anyone who may have been affected to apply to have their medals returned.”

FWP Joint CEOs, Caroline Paige and Craig Jones MBE, said:

“Today, LGBT+ veterans are finally beginning their journey back to the military family.  Fighting With Pride looks forward to a better future for them, where they are recognised for their service, their health needs are supported and they are recompensed for the wrongs of the past.

“We are also pleased to see the Government’s further commitment to investigate the long-term impact of being dismissed from our Armed Forces, particularly in regard to the health, housing and employment of LGBT+ Veterans, many of whom today still live in poverty and beyond the protections of the Armed Forces Covenant.”

* FWP understands that use of the term ‘sexuality’ within the MOD Policy is for legal purposes but the intent encompasses sexual orientation and gender identity, and that is what FWP is advocating.
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