…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
Following an independent review commissioned by the government, Prime Minister (PM) Rishi Sunak has issued an apology for the historic ban on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals serving in the military.
The review, released on Wednesday, highlighted the systemic failures and mistreatment endured by LGBT veterans.
The PM’s apology is seen as a step towards acknowledging the harm caused and seeking justice for those affected.
Acknowledging the Appalling Failure
During his address to the Commons, the PM expressed remorse for the ban on LGBT people serving in the military until the year 2000, labeling it an “appalling failure” by the British state.
He acknowledged that this policy kept the military decades behind the laws of the land.
The PM emphasized the horrific experiences endured by many LGBT service members during that period, including sexual abuse, violence, bullying, and harassment.
A Formal Apology on Behalf of the British State
The independent review, conducted by Lord Etherton, called for the PM to deliver an apology in Parliament on behalf of the nation to all LGBT service personnel who served between 1967 and 2000, regardless of whether they were dismissed or discharged.
The PM, acting upon the recommendation, issued the formal apology on behalf of the British state.
He expressed hope that those affected would be able to feel proud as valued members of the veteran community, recognizing their contributions to keeping the country safe.
The Impact and Calls for Justice
The report by Lord Etherton shed light on the experiences of LGBT veterans, revealing the shame, humiliation, and ruined military careers many endured due to their sexuality.
The apology was welcomed by Catherine Dixon, a former British Army Officer and now vice-chair at Stonewall.
She highlighted the corrective violence, imprisonment, and the lasting consequences such as criminal convictions, homelessness, and unemployment faced by many LGBT service members.
Cross-Party Support and Recognition of Mistreatment
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer commended the PM’s apology and stated that his party, during its time in office, took pride in repealing the ban on LGBT personnel serving in the armed forces.
He viewed the PM’s apology as a recognition of the historic mistreatment suffered by LGBT individuals within the military.
Recommendations for Financial Compensation
The report also recommended that an appropriate financial award be made to veterans affected by the pre-2000 ban on homosexuality in the armed forces.
It stressed the importance of compensating those impacted, regardless of the expiry of litigation time limits.
The report proposed a cap of £50 million on the government’s overall financial exposure.
The PM’s apology for the historic ban on LGBT military personnel marks an important acknowledgment of past injustices.
It recognizes the mistreatment, discrimination, and harm experienced by LGBT veterans during their service.
The report’s recommendations for financial compensation further address the need for justice and reparations.
The aim is to rectify the past and foster a more inclusive and equitable environment within the armed forces.
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