North Wiltshire MP, James Gray, spoke passionately about the issue of LGBT veterans’ rights in the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.
He raised with Leo Docherty, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, why the injustice faced by many LGBT veterans of being court-martialled, not receiving their military pension and not being allowed to wear military insignia has not yet been rectified.
Mr Gray stated during Defence Questions:
“I was horrified to hear that until 2001, LGBT servicemen and women were routinely court-martialled and dismissed; they lost their pensions and the right to wear their medals or their berets on Remembrance Sunday. That was an outrage, as the Minister correctly said. A far bigger outrage, however, is that that injustice has not been corrected. To this day, gay people—gay servicemen—from that time still have no pension and are treated with contempt by the armed service, which is absolutely disgraceful.”
He went on to question why a chair had not yet been appointed for the upcoming inquiry into such matters.
Following Defence Questions, Mr Gray said
“I am disappointed at the Ministry of Defence’s lack of urgency in dealing with this matter. It is an absolute disgrace that such actions occurred in the first place, but infinitely worse that they have not yet been rectified. There are large numbers of LGBT veterans who have fought for their country but who cannot draw a pension, cannot wear their berets nor military insignia and cannot feel pride for having served in the military. It is, quite frankly, a disgrace.”