By Tony Winterburn •
Published: 15 Feb 2021 • 22:37
British LGBT+ Veterans Complain That The Return Of Their Medals Is Taking Far Too Long. image: Pixabay
British LGBT+ Veterans Complain That The Return Of Their Medals Is Taking Far Too Long.
British LGBT+ veterans, who were dismissed from the armed forces because of their sexuality, are due to find out this week how to get back their confiscated medals. However, many ex-servicemen said the government had taken far too long to make the announcement.
The defence ministry said in a statement back in November 2019 that all veterans who had lost their jobs due to a now-scrapped ban on LGBT+ people in the military would be able to reclaim the medals that were taken from them upon dismissal.
Soon after that, Joe Ousalice – a bisexual Royal navy veteran who fought a nearly 30-year legal battle following his dismissal in 1993 – was presented with his three good conduct badges and a medal for good conduct and long service. Mr Ousalice, 70, said it should not have taken another year for the defence ministry to announce what would happen to the awards granted to other gay and bisexual veterans.
“Three times I pushed the defence secretary for an answer regarding all the other veterans who lost their medals- here we are 12 months later and I still don’t know what they’re doing. It’s just so frustrating,” he said, adding that he would continue to campaign to get his full pension and for other sacked veterans.
Britain lifted its ban on LGBT+ military service members in 2000 following a victory by campaigners at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Sacked from the Navy for being gay
Veterans minister Johnny Mercer said on Saturday, Feb. 11, about this week’s medals announcement, saying the government “is resetting the UK’s relationship with her veterans, which includes this historic wrong”.
Between 100 and 200 LGBT+ people were discharged each year before the ban on LGBT+ military personnel was lifted, said Ed Hall, who founded the campaign to scrap the ban and was fired from the navy for being gay.
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