Brand new research from LGBT charity Stonewall has revealed that, within the last five years, hate crime against the LGBT community has risen by 78%.
And now, the British Army have pledged its support for that community by becoming involved in the Stonewall “Come Out for LGBT” campaign.
The Army’s LGBT Champion, Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders CBE DSO features in the new campaign, wearing his Army uniform alongside a slogan reading “Come Out For LGBT”.
Sgt Low-Barrow joined General Sanders in the image, and said to Stonewall:
“I joined the Army with a group of people from St Vincent, and early on an issue with my sexuality got me down and I thought about leaving."
“My Company Sergeant Major pulled me aside to have a word – she said she wouldn’t stand by and let me throw it all away.”
“She became my polaris – whenever I’ve thought ‘Do I want to be here?’ I always think of her, and of so many people who have sacrificed so much for me to be here. I can’t throw that away.”
“Traditionally the Army was straight and male – it looked pretty homogenous from the outside. But letting people express their individuality – whether that’s being trans, black, Asian – allows people to be as productive as possible.”
“The Army are a brilliant employer – all are welcome.”
All three branches of the Armed Forces currently feature in the Stonewall top 100 employers for LGBT people.
At this year's Pride in London, more than 130 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) serving personnel and heterosexual ‘LGBT Allies’ marched together in uniform at Pride in London to celebrate the freedom for LGBT people to live their lives without discrimination.
This is a stark contrast from the services’ history.
Just 17 years ago it was illegal to be homosexual and to serve your country.
Anyone found to be gay was court-martialled, fined and dismissed.
But in 2000, the ban on LGBT personnel serving in the Armed Forces was lifted.
And now, the services rank amongst the best employers for the LGBT community.