Armed forces and civilian defence personnel will march on Saturday to mark this year’s Pride in London. Over 200 personnel will take part in the march, which comes just two weeks after the tragic shootings in Orlando.
In a show of support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and LGBT Armed Forces staff, the Red Arrows will fly over Pride in London for the first time. Minister of State for the Armed Forces will host an event on Saturday morning for personnel taking part in the march.
This weekend’s events round off a number of defence activities supporting this year’s Pride. The rainbow flag has flown over the Ministry of Defence Main Building on Whitehall all week. On Thursday evening the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst was lit up in Rainbow colours.
Today, a joint military and civilian defence LGBT conference took place in London. Attended by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces and other senior leaders from across the military and the civil service, participants will discuss a range of topics, including the Ministry of Defence’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt said:
It’s great to see so many of our military and civilian personnel marching in this year’s Pride. After the terrible events two weeks ago, I joined hundreds of people in London who came together to show their solidarity with the community in Orlando. On Saturday, we celebrate the outstanding commitment and contribution our LGBT personnel make to defence.
The participation of so many of our personnel this weekend demonstrates the diversity we encourage in the Armed Forces and the support that we provide to all of our staff.
The Army’s Diversity and Inclusivity Champion, Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Sir James Everard said:
The MOD has come a long way since 2000 when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) personnel were afforded equality in the Armed Forces; they are now openly encouraged and supported in a community whose watchword is respect.
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is perhaps our greatest icon of strong leadership. This week we have floodlit Old College in the LGBT rainbow colours to show how closely we see the links between the Army, the LGBT community and the Nation we serve.
The Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence have worked hard over the 16 years to establish a culture and climate where those who choose to disclose their sexual orientation and/or gender identity can do so without risk of intimidation.
This has led to recognition in a number of areas, including having the three services ranked regularly by Stonewall as amongst the top 100 employers.
Earlier in 2016, Lt Gen James Everand won the Corporate Straight Ally Award at the LGBT Awards, and Armed Forces and civilian personnel have received a number of honours for their commitment to diversity.