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Caerphilly Politics South Wales

Caerphilly Council backing for veterans who suffered under military’s LGBT ban

Caerphilly County Borough Council offices (Pic: LDRS)

COUNCILLORS in Caerphilly have pledged to support current and former LGBTQ+ members of the armed forces, who for years faced discrimination and were at risk of losing their jobs.

The council has agreed unanimously to sign up to the Pride in Veterans Standard (PiVS), committing to helping veterans and their families impacted by the armed forces’ former ban on homosexuality.

The military ban on LGBT personnel was in force between 1967 and 2000, and during that time anyone in breach of the rules faced being sacked, stripped of their medals, or losing out on their pensions.

Earlier this year, the UK Government apologised to veterans affected by the policy, which then-defence secretary Ben Wallace branded a “shameful and unacceptable” chapter of the armed forces’ history.

At a meeting of Caerphilly County Borough Council, on Wednesday November 29, councillors added their own criticisms of the former ban before unanimously backing a motion to sign up to the PiVS.

Cllr Carol Andrews led those calls, telling the chamber the local authority had a proud record of celebrating the armed forces and LGBTQ+ people.

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She said adopting the PiVS “further demonstrates the council’s commitment to supporting veterans in the county borough, regardless of their protected characteristics”.

Cllr Teresa Heron said the PiVS would “ensure any support… is tailored towards the specific needs” of LGBTQ+ veterans, who through the former ban “lost their careers, lost their income, and in some cases lost their families”.

Cllr Lindsay Whittle, the leader of the council’s Plaid Cymru group, said he and his colleagues were “proud to support” the PiVS, and added that it was “wonderful” that a younger generation was more sensitive to the discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ people.

Councillors Denver Preece and Marina Chacon-Dawson also spoke in support of the PiVS, with the latter saying LGBTQ+ members of the military “should never have suffered”.

An independent review of the armed forces’ ban on LGBT personnel was published by the UK Government in July 2023, focusing on how the policy affected people and its consequences on their futures.

The review also examined how well LGBTQ+ people could access veterans’ support, and how to ensure members today are “fully accepted” by the military.