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So, I am delighted to become the Army representative for the LGBT Forum. I know the type of Army I want to serve in, and it is one where we are ‘all of one company’. We all need to care deeply about LGBT issues, until we reach the point where nobody cares about LGBT issues. This demands equality in the workplace, fairness and absolute commitment to our core Values. It is an Army where we all contribute to the greater good and are encouraged to do so to the best of our abilities. It also requires leadership, and leaders who by word and deed show their absolute refusal to accept discrimination.

NEWSLETTER

May 2012

Conference & Pride plans

Foreword from the new Patron of the Forum

The DINs and Annex A/ registration forms for both Pride and Conference are now available – contact the forum committee if you need them, or search on Dii for 21012DIN01-093 (Pride) and 2012DIN01-099 (Conference).

Major General James Everard CBE - Assistant Chief of the General Staff What makes the men and women of the Army different from every other group of committed public servants? This is easy. Irrespective of background or belief we are all volunteers. We are all duty bound to serve where we are told to serve, accepting friction, hardship and risk to life and limb. And we all need to show the self-discipline and commitment to get the job done.

JIs for Pride & conference will be sent once your registration form is received. Let's try and push the 'bring a straight mate' idea for the march. The straight mate has to be a uniformed soldier to march, as per regs.

We are also united by our Values. These should be engraved in the soul of everyone that calls themselves a soldier – Selfless Commitment, Courage, Discipline, Integrity, Loyalty and Respect for Others. The benchmark is deliberately high, but these Values are designed to guide and develop us all over time, so that we become the sort of people we need to be to succeed at all times. So, when it comes to judging an individual this is where it starts – and this is where it ends. From these Values flow moral and physical courage, personal example, trust, friendship and fighting spirit. Deliver these and nobody should care if you are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. th

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There is nothing new here. They did not know it, but my first Regiment (the 17 /21 Lancers) were pragmatically light-years ahead in the Equality and Diversity agenda. I joined in 1983 and even then it was all about your individual contribution to the excellence of the whole. It was this that was seen to be important, and absolutely nothing else. By today’s standards the Commanding Officers of the day were politically incorrect but they were by instinct good straight allies (not that they would have understood the term). Unit cohesion and fighting spirit were their driving motivation, and for that the Regiment needed to be at peace with itself. This drove a policy of inclusiveness. The message was simple – ‘we are all of one company’. And as to sexual orientation they were neutral. And because of this example so was everyone else. This is how it should be. Human relationships are always complex. Fighting is always complex. But love is love, passion is passion, death is death and so long as you are prepared to stand with me on the battlefield, then whatever you do in your personal time is up to you. Nobody cared, unless you were apathetic or prejudiced or dishonest or forgot the importance of the ‘greater good’. Then they cared – a lot, and they kept on caring until harmony and operational effectiveness was restored.

Socials As always the monthly socials continue to be a success, with more and more people joining each month. We are now moving to a tri-service lead on socials to ensure we mix with the motley dark and light blue crews! Ideas for regional socials are still greatly accepted – contact Tom Dwyer if you have any ideas/ suggestions, or Mike Taylor (RAF).

Stonewall Dinner On 29 March Stonewall hosted the good and great of the LGB world at a London dinner. As the lucky guests of the Royal Navy, Col Lindsay McDuff (AD Employment) and Lt Col Richard Latham, took Damian and Lou to meet the Stonewall crowd. It was a fun event aimed at raising awareness of LGBT issues. It gave Lou and Damian chance to publicise the Forum.

Stonewall 'Religion and Sexual Orientation in the Workplace' Our Bi Rep, Ben Morris, represented the Forum at the Stonewall conference on Religion and Sexual Orientation in the Workplace on 23 Feb. Speakers from Stonewall and Transport London talked about their means for dealing with the clashes between religion and LGBT communities, which are, overall, very infrequent. Ben has reported back ideas that Army E&D hope to promote at inter-network meetings.


Facebook A private FB page for Army LGBT personnel has been set up. Ask a friend who is a member to add you or email armylgbt@gmail.com.

National Diversity Awards Two of our very own, Damian Jenkins and Simon Burgess, have been nominated as Positive Role Models in this years NDAs. To add you support, vote for them at www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk

Lt Col Jim Turner talks about life in the army, how things have changed for the better and why he has become a member of the Army LGBT Forum. My name is Lt Col Jim Turner and my current appointment is Commander Regional Recruiting for the West Midlands. I am really pleased to have been invited to become a representative for our Forum. To be honest I didn’t know much about the Forum until last year when I was invited, on an off chance, to attend the conference in November 11. That opened my eyes to what the Forum was all about and made me realise that I wanted to get involved and contribute where I can. I’ve been an Infantry Officer for over twenty years and I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every appointment and posting I’ve had. I strongly believe that anyone now serving or about to join should have the certainty that they can enjoy a full career with no danger of suffering any form of discrimination. The Army has made massive progress in the last 10 years in its attitude to and treatment of members of minority groups! I believe that the policies in place now are sound and when correctly applied will ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Unfortunately, there are still a few instances of people being affected by discrimination. This is where the Forum has a significant role to play. We are ready to give the help and advice that anyone might need, often in very difficult circumstances, to a get full and satisfactory resolution. This isn’t simply a matter of the LGBT community looking after its own: this is about supporting the chain of command in the implementation of its policy of inclusion and diversity. As a recruiter, I’ve been asked if it’s ok, or indeed required, to declare your orientation when you start the process of joining the Army. It certainly isn’t mandatory. It is very much a personal choice as to when and to whom you choose to come out. The important point is that people have the freedom to let their orientation be known as they please and that they won’t be discriminated against because of it. Anecdotally, that is exactly the experience of the vast majority of our people. Indeed, the most likely reaction in the Army, as in Civvy Street, is going to be along the lines of: “Fine. So what?”

Speaking personally, I spent a long time “in the closet” at work. Attitudes have changed and the advice I’d offer now is that people can confidently take an open and honest approach from the outset. This ties in closely with the Army’s Values and Standards, in particular “Integrity” and “Respect for others”. These are core values that we expect from our colleagues and of course must practice ourselves.

Straight Allies Stonewall needs your help to find inspiring straight people to interview. We’re producing a new guide to inspire straight people to challenge inequality in their workplaces - everything from challenging homophobic ‘banter’ in your team to raising gay equality at Board level. We’re keen to hear from straight people who can tell us what drives them to challenge inequality and lead change - and where the confidence to do this comes from. We’re interviewing staff, managers, department heads and senior leaders who challenge and inspire others to make their workplace gay-friendly. If you’re interested in participating or know someone we should talk to please email nat.miles@stonewall.org.uk.

The Committee Chair – Maj Damian Jenkins Dep Chair – Maj Simon Burgess Secretary – Cpl Jonny Cox Welfare – SSgt Louise Wolstenholme Web & Socials – Gdsm Tom Dwyer Gay Rep – Sgt Guy Lowe-Barrow Lesbian Rep – SSgt Karen Styles Bi Rep – LCpl Ben Morris TA Rep – Sgt Cate Lonergan Contact - armylgbt@gmail.com.


May 12 Newsletter - Army LGBT Forum