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Our commitment to the LGBTIQA+ community

The RBL is proud to be a welcoming and inclusive organisation, bringing people from different nations and communities together to best serve our Armed Forces.  

As the largest Armed Forces charity in the UK, we are committed to ensuring all military personnel receive the services, support and recognition they deserve.  

As part of this we have signed up to the Pride in Veterans Standard, pledging the highest standards for LGBTQ+ veteran inclusion, as well as helping to drive recommendations made by Lord Etherton in the Government’s LGBT Veterans Independent Review in 2023.

LGBT military ban 

Up until 2000, it was illegal to be gay in the British Armed Forces. Personnel who stepped up to serve their country experienced a culture of homophobia, including bullying, blackmail, conversion therapy, intrusive medical examinations and sexual assault.

The 2023 review made 49 recommendations including financial and non-financial restorative measures and we owe it to them to recognise the sacrifices they made and compensate them for the harms they endured.  

January 2024 marked 24 years since the lifting of the ban and, so far, 32 of the 49 recommendations have been completed or are currently being delivered.  

Anyone affected by the ban can apply for restorative measures, which include:  

  • a reproduction of the Prime Minister’s public apology 
  • a letter of apology from the Service Chief of Staff 
  • a replacement beret or cap badge 

A financial award scheme is also due to open later this year. However, there is currently a £50 million cap on compensation payments, which the RBL believes is unworkable as it was set without understanding how many were affected and would limit the number of veterans achieving fair recompense. 

We urge everyone affected by the ban to register their interest for restorative measures to help provide a clearer indication of figures and encourage the government to remove the cap and avoid the risk of veterans missing out on payments that truly reflect their losses.

Learn more about guidance and support available to the LGBTQIA+ Armed Forces Community on RBL's Knowledge Base.

Celebrating Pride 

The RBL attends Pride events to demonstrate our commitment to equality and fairness, and encourages staff, members, beneficiaries and volunteers to take part.

Pride events are about acceptance, equality and celebrating the achievements of the LGBTIQA+ community.  Pride is also about raising awareness of issues affecting the community and campaigning further for the rights of LGBTIQA+ people.

Crucially they provide a safe space for members of the LGBTIQA+ community to be themselves at a time when homophobia and transphobia are still rife in society.

Read our information on how to find LGBTQAI+ networks in the Armed Forces.

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