British veterans, sacked for being gay, allowed to get their medals back
Only heterosexual people were allowed to serve in the British Armed Forces until the turn of the century, and soldiers whose sexuality was discovered were often stripped of their honor before being discharged.
They can now apply to restore them.
This comes after a legal campaign by Joe Ooolis, a war veteran from the Falklands, who was forced to be bisexual from the Royal Navy in 1993, and who lived through poverty when he returned to the country.
He previously told the BBC that, when his superiors discovered his sexuality, “he cut my chest with a large pair of scissors (medals).”
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote in a tweet on Tuesday, “Those who serve in our armed forces deserve every recognition for their service.
“It was a great injustice that it was denied to some members simply because of their sexuality. I welcome the fact that we can now address this historical wrong.”
LGBTQ groups have welcomed the move, but have urged the government to go ahead and address other consequences facing those who were liberated from their sexuality.
Defense Minister Annabel Goldy said in a statement, “It is deeply regrettable that some members of the armed forces have been treated in the past because of their sexuality that would not be acceptable today.”
“As a result of disciplinary action and his dismissal from service, some personnel forfeited the medals they had earned, and others were denied the opportunity for continued service, resulting in the reinstatement of medals that received medals for various reasons Could have happened. “
The Ministry of Defense said it was “committed to addressing this historic wrong” and encouraged veterans to apply. Relatives can apply on behalf of an ex-soldier who has died.
LGBTQ campaigners have urged ministers to address claims for compensation, losing pension rights, mental health of the elderly and other issues that fell prey to the pre-2000 law.
LGBTQ service group Fighting with Pride said, “This is the first step to accepting reforms on a broader scale.” “Our objective is to ensure that the impact of all historical wrongdoing is acknowledged and addressed appropriately, not just the return of medals.”
In recent years, the British government has considered many historical homophobic laws with consequences.
In 2016, the UK government announced that thousands of gay and bisexual men who had been convicted under the now-ended sexual offenses laws would be posthumously forgiven.
The proposal was dubbed the “Turing Law” – named after World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, who killed himself after chemical castration in 1954 as a punishment for homosexual activities.