LGBT Armed Forces community react to PM's apology over 'horrific historical' treatment

Watch: The Prime Minister made an officially apology the LGBT community on Wednesday.

The long-awaited report into the historic treatment of LGBT people in the Armed Forces prior to the year 2000 has been published, bringing with it an apology on behalf of the country given by the Prime Minister.

It was a landmark moment, decades in the making, and, in the end, it came down to these simple but significant words: "I apologise."

Forces News has spoken to some of those former members of the military who were affected by the ban and also reports on the Members of Parliament themselves who have spoken of their own experiences of serving in the military during those times.

It has been 23 years since the ban on LGBT people serving in the Armed Forces was lifted in 2000 and, since then, those affected by that law have had to wait until now for an apology by the Prime Minister and an acknowledgement that what went on was wrong.

Lord Etherton's report runs to 270 pages and includes the testimonies of those who were in some instances sexually assaulted by colleagues, blackmailed by lovers and harassed by investigators.

Women's Royal Army Corps veteran Carol Morgan said: "They hounded us like dogs. What happened was SIB (Special Investigation Branch) came in and ransacked my room due to an allegation from a roommate.

"Then, I was interrogated for six hours by SIB, then I had to go and see a psychiatrist. All they were interested in was what I got up to in bed with my girlfriend at the time."

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace acknowledged that the British Armed Forces had institutional homophobia.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace acknowledged that the British Armed Forces had institutional homophobia.

The Prime Minister's apology was supported by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace who also acknowledged the harm caused by the ban.

As a soldier, he was able to progress professionally while LGBT personnel were not.

He said: "People of my age group, who served in that old Army, and I say old Army because the part of the report that talks about institutional homophobia is true – you read it. I was part of that Army.

"I was determined to give this statement today rather than my excellent colleague because I wanted to recognise that I had been part of that thinking and Army that I deeply regret."

Watch: Women's Royal Army Corps veteran Carol Morgan speaking with Forces News.

Following the apologies in Parliament on Wednesday, in a joint statement, the leaders of the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force said the LGBT personnel were treated with "a lack of humanity and compassion".

Among those who welcomed the Government's commitment to addressing the mistreatment faced by veterans, was Honorary Colonel and Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, who served in the Army and came out as gay last year.

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