A leaked copy of the LGBT Veterans Independent Review report allegedly indicates that queer British soldiers who served from 1967 to 2000 suffered horrific ‘conversion therapy’ abuse in the UK Armed Forces. Until January 2000, the nation banned LGBTQ+ people from serving in the military, and anyone perceived to be queer could be dismissed regardless of whether or not they had engaged in homosexual relationships.
The review was independently conducted separate from the British government and armed forces, with Lord Etherton PC QC serving as Chair. It includes testimonies from LGBTQ+ veterans and those who witnessed the mistreatment of queer personnel. The complete review was submitted to the UK government last week and has yet to be shared with the public, but certain news outlets have reportedly seen a copy.
According to anonymous testimonies and leaked documents during this time, queer British soldiers allegedly endured horrific treatment including sexual assault, unwarranted surveillance, and electroshock therapy that left bruises and burn marks on their skin.
I can’t quite explain the emotions I feel right now after spending many hours today, providing information to the @LGBTVetReview – The questions brought up so many memories that have been suppressed in the back of my memory for the last 25 years @RoyalAirForce @10DowningStreet 😳 pic.twitter.com/3DomD2YKxx
— Dr Carl Austin-Behan OBE DL “Ozzy” 💙 (@CarlAustinBehan) November 25, 2022
During the analysed time period, thousands of service members who identified as LGBTQ+ were dishonourably discharged and lost their pension rights. In addition to the loss in income, these dismissals created long-term negative impacts.
One gay woman who joined the Navy in the 1990s described how being mistreated and kicked out negatively impacted her mental health and contributed to her developing an alcohol addiction.
Yesterday Lord Etherton and the team met with David Tovey. We discussed how the impacts of being an LGBT Veteran inspired his artwork.
— LGBT Veterans Independent Review (@LGBTVetReview) March 29, 2023
In a Facebook statement, Fighting with Pride acknowledged that rumours about the LGBT Veterans Independent Review are emerging.
The organisation said: “We know this will cause disquiet for the thousands of veterans, serving personnel and families who await the outcomes. As much as you can, we suggest you approach the stories with caution. There are lots of rumours swirling around at the moment. Rest assured, at FWP we are doing our best to ensure accurate and sensitive reporting.”
The British government acknowledged that the armed forces’ historic policy was wrong and has committed to addressing the impact it had on LGBTQ+ veterans. Bloomberg confirmed that in addition to outlining instances of abuse, the report also calls for the government to issue an official apology to queer vets and offer compensation for their lost earnings and pensions.
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