The British Army veteran who is Fighting With Pride to help the LGBT+ community

Watch: The British Army veteran who is Fighting With Pride to help the LGBT+ community.

A former soldier, who spent three-quarters of his 38 years in the British Army hiding his sexuality, is calling for more people from the LGBT+ community to join the Armed Forces. 

Before 2000, a ban meant that gay personnel were not allowed to serve in the military – forcing Dougie Morgan to lead a double life during much of his service. 

He said: "At the latter time of my Army career it was accepted, however, pre-2000 there was a ban on anyone serving in all three services, so we had serving people soldiers, airmen and naval personnel who were hiding their sexuality. 

"They weren't comfortable with their gender, and they weren't happy to approach their chain of command to seek advice and guidance. 

"That led me into leading a double life and it had a snowball effect. 

"So, once I told one lie, I told another one and eventually I got to a stage that just I could not go back," he said.

Dougie Morgan as a young British Army soldier CREDIT Dougie Morgan
Dougie as a young British Army soldier (Picture: Dougie Morgan).

LGBT+ History Month is being celebrated in February to help raise awareness of the issues affecting those in the community and help promote understanding. 

Veteran Dougie is keen for the Armed Forces community to do more to help achieve equality for those who serve who are LGBT+. 

Dougie joined The Black Watch in 1979, 21 years before the ban was lifted in 2000. 

By the time he was 25, people were beginning to ask why he wasn't married so he "did what a lot of gentlemen, guys, in their 20s done in those days" and married a woman to hide his sexuality. 

He said: "So, I was married, I had two children, and I was married for 21 years." 

The veteran felt that revealing his true sexuality after hiding it for so long would irrevocably damage his relationships and break any trust people had in him.  

Pride London 2022 LGBT+ a British Army soldier poses with civilians to celebrate Pride CREDIT Crown Copyright
A British Army soldier poses with civilians to celebrate London Pride in 2022 (Picture: Crown Copyright).

It took several years after the ban was lifted in January 2000 for Dougie to feel comfortable enough to come out.  

He said: "I just could not face the truth because I probably would have let so many people down, especially my family and my colleagues who I got very close to, and I think they would not have trusted me if I'd come out. 

"So, it wasn't until 2009... I decided to lead my own life. 

"It was unfair on me and everyone else." 

Since then, he has been campaigning to improve things for serving personnel and veterans who have struggled due to their gender and sexuality. 

He said: "I was very much involved in the Army's LGBT+ community and I finished up being the co-chair of the organisation (Fighting With Pride) and this helped me to help others. 

"There are over 400 organisations for supporting veterans. 

"Fighting With Pride is a charity which solely supports LGBT+ veterans their families and serving personnel."

He added: "I am very proud to be one of the veterans' community workers covering Scotland and Northern Ireland." 

London Pride 2022 LGBT+ personnel pose for a photo CREDIT Crown Copyright
LGBT+ personnel at Pride London, celebrating their right to express their own sexuality freely (Picture: Crown Copyright).

Dougie encourages people from the LGBT+ community to share their story, if they feel as though they can, and to let people know what it is like to be part of a minority community. 

He said: "We need people, young people, to join the Armed Forces who are part of LGBT+ community, part of the BAME community, females, because this is where the small communities need to have a voice. 

"Everyone needs to be heard, every story should be heard." 

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