LGBT military veterans were discharged for their sexuality - now they can apply to reclaim medals

Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 9:28 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 11:12 am
Former military personnel who were discharged from their jobs due to their sexuality are now able to reclaim confiscated medals (Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)
Former military personnel who were discharged from their jobs due to their sexuality are now able to reclaim confiscated medals (Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images)

Former military personnel who were discharged from their jobs due to their sexuality are now able to reclaim confiscated medals.

Ex-military personnel can now apply to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to restore their honours, with the MoD hoping to address this “historical wrong”.

‘Discharged from service on the basis of their sexuality’

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people were not allowed to serve in the military until 2000. Many of those in the services before then were made to leave.

This ban was lifted in 2000, but the MoD has said it wants to give those affected back the medals they earned.

A statement on the Gov.uk website said: "Prior to 2000, a number of armed forces personnel were discharged from service on the basis of their sexuality.

"Some received convictions under specified legislation for homosexual behaviour that has now been de-criminalised, while others were discharged solely on the basis of their sexuality, without any conviction.

"In the course of their discharge, some personnel either forfeited medals directly, or were prevented from continuing to serve and thus denied the ability to regain medals that might previously have been forfeited for unrelated reasons.

"The MoD is committed to addressing this historical wrong and is introducing a policy which enables individuals to apply to have their medals restored."

Personnel will be able to apply to retrieve their removed medals and each case will be reviewed by the defence council.

The MoD medal office will arrange new honours to be awarded to successful applicants, who will receive a new medal.

However, if a former military personnel affected by the ban has since died, their family can instead apply for a review on their behalf.