Discharged LGBT British Army Personnel Still Face Discrimination

Calls for a campaign to reinstate pensions for British Army personnel who were dishonourably discharged because of their sexual orientation.

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“It beggars belief that it took so long to bring an end to this blatant discrimination.”

A motion from the Society of Radiographers (SoR) at the British Trades Union Congress, which takes place this month, calls for members to support a campaign to reinstate pension rights to service personnel who were dishonourably discharged from the armed forces because of they were LGBT.

Until January 2000, members of the services who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender were dishonourably discharged and lost their pension rights.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in September 1999 that the British Army’s ban on LGBT personnel was a “grave interference” in people’s private lives.

The landmark judgement was made in a case in which the government was sued by four former military personnel, three ex-servicemen and a former RAF nurse, who were sacked from the services for being gay.

They told the court investigations into their homosexuality, and their subsequent sackings, violated their human rights.

However, despite the court ruling they, along with other army personnel who were fired for being LGBT, did not receive the pensions they earned.

According to Chris Kalinka, Vice-President of SoR: “It beggars belief that it took so long to bring an end to this blatant discrimination, and a disgrace that we had to wait for the European Court of Human Rights to rule that discharging members of the armed forces on the grounds of their sexuality was illegal.

“This motion calls for a campaign to restore the pensions earnt by those who were treated in this way. The SoR, as well as many other trades unions, had members serving in one capacity or another in the armed forces and we owe it to them to put this right.”


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