The Royal British Legion launches branch for LGBTQ community
The Legion’s new branch opens 19 years after the UK government lifted the ban on lesbians, gay men and bi people serving in the Armed Forces …
As we mark the anniversary of the end of the ban on LGBTQ people serving in the Forces, the Legion is encouraging LGBTQ+ Veterans, those currently serving and civilians, many of whom have previously beenstigmatisedwithin the military, to join the new national branch, which will recognise and remember the contribution of the LGBTQ+ community to the British Armed Forces, and raise awareness of the Legion services accessible to this currently under-represented group. It is hoped that the new branch will act as a safe space for people from across the LGBTQ+ community to share experiences and support the work of the Legion.
With no other Veteran organisations specifically for the LGBTQ+ community, the Legion hopes the new branch will also help tackle isolation and build connections in our communities. Branch members will receive regular news and updates, and will be encouraged to network with other members in their local areas.
Emma Miller-McCaffrey is one of the founding members of the LGBTQ+ & Allies branch. She says: ‘There are many people who historically have not been treated appropriately by the military, but that has now changed.I am proud to be married to my wife – a serving member of the Royal Navy – and I am proud of who I am as a gay woman. Becoming a member of the Legion’s LGBTQ branch allows me to be all of those things without judgement.It’s great to see the Legion reminding people that they are here to support all who served, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.’
Emma Cannings, director of membership at The Royal British Legion, says:‘We know that people who identify as LGBTQ have historically been marginalised within the Armed Forces community, and as a result haven’t come forward for the help and support they’re entitled to. We hope that this new branch will bring the LGBTQ and Armed Forces communities together, to commemorate the sacrifices made by our LGBTQ Veterans and serving personnel, and ensure that our services are accessible to all those who need them.’
The branch is open to Veterans, those currently serving and civilians, from across the UK. To become a member please visit www.britishlegion.org.uk/membership To find out more about the work of The Royal British Legion, go to www.britishlegion.org.uk
Saturday 12 January 2019 marked 19 years since the UK government lifted the ban on lesbians, gay men and bi people serving in the Armed Forces.
There are approximately 2,500 Royal British Legion branches across the UK and overseas, providing comradeship and supporting the Legion as a charity.
The Royal British Legion participated for the first time in the Brighton Pride march in August 2017.
In 2018, the MoD offered special dispensation for currently serving personnel identifying as LGBTQ to march in uniform with the Legion at Brighton Pride 2018.
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