Later today on this Remembrance Sunday, Minister for Equalities Mike Freer will meet the first LGBT veterans to openly lay a wreath at the Cenotaph as part of the Remembrance Service.
The Minister will speak at an event hosted by Fighting with Pride, a charity for LGBT service men and women, after they attend the National Service of Remembrance. It will be the first time LGBT veterans have been openly invited to the service at the Cenotaph, as part of their own group.
Minister for Equalities, Mike Freer, said: “I am proud and moved to be part of this historic event, which will see our LGBT veterans at last able to be open about who they are, as they honour their fellow service men and women.
“It is right that we remember the sacrifice made by every member of our Armed Forces, who gave us freedom and peace. I am proud to stand alongside Fighting with Pride, and every LGBT veteran.”
The wreath will be laid by Elaine Chambers, co-founder of campaigning and support group Rank Outsiders, which campaigned for the lifting of the ban on LGBT Armed Forces personnel. 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’. The Ministry of Defence is committed to addressing this historical wrong and has introduced a policy which enables individuals to apply to have their medals restored.