Quotes of the day 19th July 2023: apologies to LGBT veterans

The government has today apologised for the treatment of LGBT veterans, following the publication of an independent review into the military’s pre-2000 ban on LGBT personnel. 

Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak said:

  • "The ban on LGBT people serving in our military until the year 2000 was an appalling failure of the British state – decades behind the law of this land.
  • As today’s report makes clear, in that period many endured the most horrific sexual abuse and violence, homophobic bullying and harassment while bravely serving this country.
  • Today, on behalf of the British state, I apologise, and I hope all those affected will be able to feel part of the proud veteran community that has done so much to keep our country safe."

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said:

  • "I am pleased that this review has shone a much needed light on a shameful and unacceptable historical chapter in our Armed Forces history. It is heart breaking that the very tolerance and values that we expected our soldiers, sailors and aviators to fight for, were denied to many of them.
  • I am pleased we now have the opportunity to right those historic wrongs so that 

The review, published in Parliament today, follows the formal apology by the Government quoted above, delivered by the Prime Minister and Defence Secretary. The independent review, chaired by Lord Etherton and co-commissioned by the Ministry of Defence and the Office for Veterans Affairs, examined the experiences of personnel between 1967-2000 who were impacted by the ban on homosexuality in the Armed Forces.

  • The Government has previously said that the treatment of LGBT personnel and veterans in the Armed Forces prior to the year 2000 was completely unacceptable and highly regrettable. Lord Etherton’s report found that investigations in an individual’s sexuality were intrusive, invasive, and for some caused long-lasting and severe impacts to the lives of veterans and their families.
  • The review highlights the Government’s unwavering commitment to understanding how best to support its veteran and LGBT community and acknowledges that it fully accepts that their treatment prior to 2000 was not acceptable. In recognition of this the Prime Minister and Defence Secretary have formally apologised in the House of Commons today to all those who were affected and mistreated in the enactment of the ban.
  • The scope of the review focused on three main areas, with the primary one being the effect the historic policy may have had on those impacted by the ban, including the consequences for their future lives. It also looked at the accessibility of veterans’ services for LGBT people and how to ensure that LGBT veterans are recognised and fully accepted as members of the armed forces.LGBT Veterans can once again take pride in their service."

This statement and apology was issued by Service chiefs:



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