The British Army - STAND­ING ALONG­SIDE LGBT

IN THE SUM­MER OF 2016, THE MEM­BERS OF THE EX­EC­U­TIVE BOARD OF THE ARMY MADE A FOR­MAL DEC­LA­RA­TION “TO MAX­IMISE THE TAL­ENT OF EV­ERY IN­DI­VID­UAL, RE­GARD­LESS OF HIS OR HER RACE, FAITH, GEN­DER, SEX­UAL ORI­EN­TA­TION AND GEN­DER IDEN­TITY”.

Pride Life Magazine - - INTERVIEW -

Tal­ent is the key word, as the Army adapts to the new chal­lenges pre­sented by an un­cer­tain global sit­u­a­tion. This recog­ni­tion that tal­ent is to be found in a di­verse pool of in­di­vid­u­als is very much part of the mes­sage given by the Army’s Di­ver­sity Cham­pi­ons. These se­nior of­fi­cers work to pro­mote and raise is­sues on be­half of mi­nor­ity groups. Last year, the work of Lieu­tenant Gen­eral James Ever­ard was recog­nised by the British LGBT Awards who awarded him the ac­co­lade of Cor­po­rate Straight Ally.

His suc­ces­sor as LGBT Cham­pion is Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Pa­trick Sanders who made this pledge in his first com­mu­ni­ca­tion to the Army LGBT com­mu­nity: “I give you my word I will fight for you and stand along­side you.” In his 36 years of ser­vice Gen­eral Pa­trick has com­manded on op­er­a­tions in North­ern Ire­land, Kosovo, Bos­nia, Iraq and Afghanistan and is well qual­i­fied to state that “Un­der fire; no one cares if some­one is black or white, gay or straight, be­cause they value the in­di­vid­ual for who he or she is, what he or she can do, and be­cause they are so ut­terly de­pen­dent on him or her.”

As a Stonewall Top 100 LGBT em­ployer, the Army is proud to cel­e­brate our LGBT per­son­nel and last year we lit up the Royal Mil­i­tary Academy Sand­hurst, where all Of­fi­cers are trained, in rain­bow lights dur­ing Pride week and a size­able con­tin­gent of per­son­nel from all three ser­vices marched at Lon­don Pride. LGBT Ser­vice per­son­nel, keen to march proudly in uni­form, have pressed for per­mis­sion to take part in other LGBT Pride events around the coun­try and this has now been given the go ahead.

What is clear is the sin­cere en­thu­si­asm of Army per­son­nel. no mat­ter what their sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der iden­tity, to do their bit to pro­mote LGBT in­clu­sion. The 2nd Bat­tal­ion the Princess of Wales Royal Reg­i­ment, has been nom­i­nated for a Na­tional Di­ver­sity Award due to the unit’s over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive ap­proach to di­ver­sity. The Bat­tal­ion has a thriv­ing LGBT com­mu­nity and Di­ver­sity Ad­vo­cates through­out the unit, and en­cour­age their per­son­nel to be out and au­then­tic at work. Also short­listed for a British LGBT award this year is War­rant Of­fi­cer Class Two Karen Styles for her work pro­mot­ing LGBT in the Army. She was a pas­sion­ate Chair of the LGBT Fo­rum for two years and presided over an ef­fec­tive Fo­rum.

Help­ing other or­gan­i­sa­tions de­velop their poli­cies on LGBT mat­ters is part and par­cel of pro­mot­ing LGBT; Ma­jor Damian Jenk­ins was the guest speaker at a con­fer­ence in War­saw telling other Euro­pean Armies how we have de­vel­oped LGBT friendly poli­cies since the ban on ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity was lifted in 2000. We haven’t for­got­ten about the “T” in LGBT – nu­mer­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions seek as­sis­tance from the Army pol­icy team on how we have de­vel­oped our trans­gen­der poli­cies to en­sure that trans­gen­der Ser­vice per­son­nel are prop­erly sup­ported by their units through­out tran­si­tion and beyond. We are lucky to have fan­tas­tic men­tors in Cap­tain Han­nah Win­ter­bourne and Sap­per Mel Stott who have sup­ported many soldiers. Thanks to them and the poli­cies in place, those who come out as trans­gen­der feel they are able to con­tinue with their mil­i­tary ca­reers and be truly ac­cepted by their col­leagues.

The mes­sage is clear: To­day’s Army is a place where you can be your­self and make the most of your tal­ents.

WO2 KAREN STYLES

LT GEN PA­TRICK SANDERS, ARMY LGBT CHAM­PION

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