Supporting diversity in our Armed Forces: Launching our first Branch for the LGBTQ+ Community
The launch of the new branch comes 19 years since the ban on gay and bisexual people serving in the UK Armed Forces was lifted.
The LGBTQ+ and Allies Branch will be the Legion’s first ever LGBTQ+ branch and aims to recognise and remember the contribution of the LGBTQ+ community to the British Armed Forces.
The launch of the branch comes 19 years since the UK Government lifted the ban on gay and bisexual people serving in the Armed Forces.
With no other veteran organisation specifically for the LGBTQ+ community we hope the new branch will help tackle isolation and build connections in our communities, and act as a safe space for people from across the LGBTQ+ community to share experiences and support the work of the Legion.
Emma Miller-McCaffrey and her wife Ann Miller-McCaffrey, who is currently serving in the Royal Navy, are both founding members of the branch.
Emma Miller-McCaffrey and her wife Ann Miller-McCaffrey (left)
“There are many people who historically have not been treated appropriately by the military, and those who support them and their families, due to the laws of the land," Emma says.
“But that has now changed and, just as the military now shows off its inclusivity as a service, the RBL are now also in a position to remind people that they are there to support all who served...regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation and the launch of this branch is the perfect way to start doing that.”
“We feel the work of the RBL is invaluable to those military personnel, past and present, and their civilian families, which is why we are so proud to be founder members of the LGBTQ+ branch.”
Emma hopes that the new branch will give her a support network of like-minded people who have shared experiences of military life and being a part of the LGBTQ+ and ally community.
“I am proud to be the granddaughter of someone who served during WW2, I am proud to be married to my wife as a serving member of the Royal Navy and I am proud of who I am as a gay woman and becoming a member of the RBL's newest LGBT branch allows me to be all of those things without judgement.”
Sue Coleman, Branch Membership Officer
Sue Coleman, who is the branch membership officer, joined to support people in the Armed Forces who identify as LGBTQ+.
"I joined as a way of supporting our Armed Forces who identify as LGBTQ+ - a large part of our diverse community who may not feel they’re eligible for support due to a less than positive service," she says.
"Every service person is important and should be made to feel so."
"The branch is a place for all those identifying as LGBTQ+ and their friends to be able to talk honestly and openly about their service experience, and understand that there is always someone there for them who is none judgmental and understanding."
Sue would encourage anyone who is thinking of joining to join, she says: "Be part of a great group of people supporting the diversity in our armed forces. Give something back and help those who are serving, veterans and their families know they are not alone."
We have 228,000 members making up over 2,300 branches, across the world, who provide support to those in our Armed Forces Community who need it most.
You can join one of our local branches or one of our 10 national branches that anyone can join no matter their location.