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Forum honoured in British LGBT Awards

We’re delighted to share with you the fantastic news that the British LGBT Awards have awarded their ‘Corporate Straight Ally’ award to the previous Army LGBT Forum Patron Lt Gen James Everard KCB CBE for his unrivalled support and encouragement as a straight ally within the British Army.

Forum Patron wins British LGBT Awards 2016The annual event took place on May 13th 2016 in London with awards for a range of subjects including, but not limited to, Charitable Initiative, Global Icon and Best LGBT Network. In the ‘Sports Personality’ category Capt Heather Stanning was nominated and our Patron, very proudly, won the ‘Corporate Straight Ally’ category.

Last years ‘Judges Special Award’ Capt Hannah Winterbourne also took a role on the judging panel for this years Awards with an award for RAF Pilot Ayla Holdom in the ‘Inspirational Role Model’ category.

The Army LGBT Forum is always incredibly proud to see the excellent work of those both within the LGBT community and beyond supporting the drive for diversity and inclusion and these awards provide a fantastic opportunity to give thanks to individuals who are pushing forwards in this arena.

To find out more about the British LGBT Awards and view this years winners visit the British LGBT Awards website or for further information in respect of this years Army awards please contact us.

 

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Another year another Stonewall Walk

On Sunday 8th May 2016 members of the Army LGBT forum, soldiers and officers from the Army as well as those from our sister services took part in the Stonewall Equality 10k Walk in Brighton – on what was an incredibly warm and sun-soaked day.

Stonewall Equality Walk 2016 - Army LGBT ForumWith the Army contingent being led by Sgt Guy Lowe-Barrow (Forum Secretary), as well as colleagues from the RAF LGBT Freedom Network and Royal Navy Compass taking part, the group set off on a brisk walk around the town in support of equality and diversity for all – as well as hoping to raise some funds for Stonewall.

The walk set out to raise £40,000 to send LGBT role models to visit schools across the UK to share their personal stories with thousands of students and teachers to inspire young people right across the country.

Stonewall Equality Walk 2016 - Army, RAF & Navy

For further information on Stonewall please visit their website and find out about the vital work they’re doing for the LGBT community.

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We’re supporting the ‘Rainbow Dot’ campaign

We’re proud to support the ‘Rainbow Dot‘ campaign from the Broken Rainbow charity this year, and along with members from the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, MOD and the Armed Forces Minister, Penny Mordaunt MP, we demonstrated our commitment to the campaign this week.

Broken Rainbow is the national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Domestic Violence charity and unfortunately incidents of abuse are as frequent as that within the heterosexual community in the LGBT community. Every day, LGBT individuals are subjected to incidents of physical, sexual, psychological, financial and coercive control from their intimate partner or other family members.

The ‘Rainbow Dots’ campaign message is to increase awareness of the existence of LGBT domestic violence and abuse, both for members of the LGBT community, and for the wider society – making it clear that domestic violence is not only a gender issue but is an issue for all of society, and we all deserve help and support.

 

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LGBT History Month 2016

Here at Army LGBT we’re getting involved in all things related to LGBT History Month and will be sharing good news stories, insights and much more over the coming weeks.

LGBT History Month is celebrated in February in the UK but the organisation’s work to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia continues throughout the year.

Each year there is a theme for the month and 2016 sees ‘Religion, Belief and Philosophy’ taking centre stage with events, lectures and much more taking place throughout the United Kingdom.

We’re excited to extend an invitation to the Southampton Stonewall Lecture 2016 and if you’d like to attend please find the details available on the Southampton University website.

For further information on LGBT History Month check out their website.

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We’re a Top 100 LGBT Inclusive Employer

The British Army was placed 32nd in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index ’16 Top 100 LGBT inclusive employers. This sees the Army climb again from 46th in 2015, 79th in 2014, 167th in 2013 and 185th in 2012, demonstrating steady, positive, progress.

Commander Field Army, Lieutenant General Sir James Everard, said: “I am delighted that the Army has once more demonstrated the progress it has made as an inclusive employer by achieving its highest-ever ranking within the Stonewall Top 100 Employers.”

“I know that much of the credit for this must go to our LGBT Network who works tirelessly to represent the Army’s LGBT community and constantly challenge the policy makers and chain of command to do better.”

WO2 Karen StylesWarrant Officer Karen Styles, Army LGBT Forum Chair, said: “As the Chair of the Army LGBT Forum I am extremely pleased with placing as a Stonewall Top 100 Employer for the 3rd consecutive year. This has shown that through the dedication of the whole forum team we have continued to educate and mentor formations and individuals within the Chain of Command on the importance of having a truly diverse workplace.”

The Top 100 Employers list, created by lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) equality charity Stonewall, is compiled from submissions to the Workplace Equality Index, a powerful benchmarking tool used by employers to assess their achievements and progress on LGBT equality in the workplace.

This year saw over 400 organisations take part in the Index, the highest number in its 12 year history. Each participant must demonstrate their expertise in 10 distinct areas of employment policy and practice, including networking groups, career development, training and community engagement.

More than 60,000 staff from across these organisations also took part in an anonymous survey about their employers’ attitudes towards workplace culture, diversity and inclusion, making it one of the largStonewall Top 100 Employer 2016est national employment surveys in Britain.

Whilst placing in the Top 100 is clearly a sign that the Army is headed in the right direction, and in some cases leading many more traditionally diverse organisations, they is still work to do. The most important part of the WEI is the detailed feedback on how the Army was marked that will be given to Army HQ later this month, following which, and in consultation with the Army LGBT Forum, an action plan will be developed and presented to Commander Field Army, in order to ensure that we continue to improve the lived experience of LGBT personnel in line with the Army Leadership Code.

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National Anti-Bullying Week 2015

This week marks Anti-Bullying Week across the UK with a core focus of empowering children and young people to make a noise about bullying – whether it is happening to them or to someone else, face to face or online!

Army Sergeant Major Glenn Haughton, The British Army’s most senior soldier, outlines why bullying is unacceptable and incompatible with the Army’s Values and Standards in the video below.

Visit the National Bullying Week 2015 website to find out more about this initiative.

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Bisexual Awareness Week 2015

This week, September 20th – 26th 2015, is Bisexual Awareness Week 2015; an International Awareness day conceived by three bisexual advocates – Wendy Curry, Michael Page and Gigi Raven Wilbur as a way to combat bisexual invisibility.

In support of this important week in the LGBT calendar we’re holding our committee meeting today at Army Headquarters with a discussion around the work that we do as a Forum for our bisexual community and beyond.

We’d also like to remind you that if you’d like further information concerning this week, being bisexual in the army or have further questions that we’ve a dedicated Bisexual Rep and he can be contacted at bi@armylgbt.org.uk.

More so, for further information you can visit www.bisexualweek.com to read more about the significance and importance of these 7 days.

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London Pride 2015

On Saturday 27th July more than 30,000 people took part in the biggest Pride in London Parade with the Army, Navy & RAF marching their way from Baker Street to Whitehall before thousands of people lining the route.

The Army contingent was as strong as ever this year and with the theme of this year’s parade being focused upon heroes, there were over 200 uniformed military personnel and civil servants in attendance, all proudly marching in the name of their respective organisations.

The Armed Forces have participated in London Pride since 2008 and each year our numbers grow; this year in particular is testament to the work and ongoing efforts that the Army is doing in ensuring that LGBT individuals are able to confidently and openly serve.

This year also saw Senior warrant officers from the Royal Navy, British Army and RAF attend in support of those individuals taking part in the parade – read more about this on the Defence in the Media Blog.

Photography kindly provided by Adrian Snood (@asnood)

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Army LGBT Conference

The Army LGBT Conference will take place on the 20th May 2015 at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

This year the conference will consider the application of the Army Leadership Code in the context of inclusive leadership and diversity and is aimed at Commanders, Equality & Diversity Advisers (EDAs), Assistant EDAs, unit welfare staff and LGBT Personnel.

Army LGBT Champion, Lt Gen Everard CBE will open the conference with the remainder of the conference providing policy updates, industry speakers and workshops relating to the application of inclusive leadership.

You can find the ABN for the Conference online; or by clicking here.

LGBT History Month – An Infanteer’s View

As part of LGBT History month Lt Col Jim Turner has provided us with an insight into life in the Infantry over the past two and a half decades – taking into considering the lift of the ban on LGB individuals in the military.

 I was commissioned from Sandhurst as an Infantry Platoon Commander in 1991 and looking back over the past 24 years it is quite breathtaking how much the Army has changed in its attitudes and approach to all aspects of Diversity.  I served 10 years under the ban and would have been automatically discharged had it come to light that I was gay.  There wasn’t really much chance of that happening as I was buried so deeply in my closet; “down to stage 3” in infantry trench parlance. The lifting of the ban was certainly a relief, but for me it wasn’t a signal to come bursting out of that closet.  After 10 years of telling friends and comrades a carefully constructed pack of lies, it’s hard to come clean.  Rather, I came out gradually to more and more people at home and at work but always maintaining a façade to the world in general.

 In 2009 a young, openly gay officer was posted into my Regiment.  For all sorts of spurious reasons I was quite worried by this but very quickly an amazingly obvious truth dawned; no one gave a damn anymore.  I came out, nothing happened and no one was particularly surprised.  I have been far happier and more comfortable in my skin ever since.

 I have had a fantastic career in the Army and don’t regret a day of my service.  We’re still not a perfect organisation, but I passionately believe that the days of institutional discrimination and bias are long gone.  There will always be individual cases where things go wrong – that happens in any walk of life.  However, we now have the right policies and the collective determination to stop it happening and vigorously redress any failings.  The Army genuinely values diversity and anyone can serve with pride.

For more information regarding the above please feel free to contact us. You can also find out more about LGBT History month on their website available at LGBT History Month.