The Etherton Review: our statement

A government review out today (Wednesday, 19 July 2023), led by Lord Etherton has examined the experience of people in the Armed Forces who are LGBT+ and served under the ban when it was illegal to serve as a homosexual, exposing some of the terrible prejudice and mistreatment many faced.  

Responding to the review, Charles Byrne, Director General at the Royal British Legion Group said: 

“It’s been shocking to see the prejudice and mistreatment of thousands of LGBTQ+ people in the Armed Forces community who served under the ban laid bare.

“Many people who had dedicated their lives to serving their country were forced or felt pressured to leave the Armed Forces, and this mistreatment destroyed or shortened their career. We have heard from people who had medals and honours stripped from them, experienced rejection from their friends and family, were left with no income or place to live and found their mental health was profoundly affected, simply because of their sexual orientation.

“We welcome this long overdue review and were pleased to have been able to contribute to it as well as enabling our community who served under the ban to be heard. We condemn the mistreatment the LGBTQ+ community experienced and are urging the government to accept the recommendations of the report in full. We welcome the Prime Minister’s landmark apology.

“We believe the service and sacrifice of the LGBTQ Armed Forces community should be rightfully recognised and honoured. The Royal British Legion group will play its role in supporting veterans affected by the ban. We want members of the community to know they are a vital part of our Armed Forces and our organisation and we are here to provide support to anyone who needs it.”


Charles Byrne
Director General
19 July 2023

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