Operation Equality: A Befriending Service for LGBTQ+ Armed Forces, Veterans and their Families.

Until 2000, openly lesbian, gay and bi people were unable to serve in the armed forces. And whilst technical there was never a ban on trans people serving, there were no known our trans service personnel until 1999. Sadly those who were open - most often outed without consent - were dishonorably discharged. Many were then forced to come out under shocking and distressing circumstances to family members and friends, all while losing their livelihoods and personal connections within the forces.

Whilst there has been phenomenal work in recent years - often driven by frontline LGBT service personnel - to make the armed forces more inclusive and inviting towards our community, the impact of that ban still resonates today. So we’re thrilled to announce that we will be launching a brand new befriending service both serving personnel and veterans, as well as their families.

The service was launched on Saturday 25th June on Armed Forces Day itself and we’d love to hear from you if you’d like to volunteer, or if you’d like to receive more information about the service.

We know that some people in our community have complex feelings towards the armed forces, but this new service is for our LGBT family who were or are members of the armed forces and who may need support or help which they have felt unable to access through traditional means.

If you’d like to volunteer to be a part of the befriending service, or if you feel that you may be able to benefit from this service, please get in touch with our project co-ordinator – hirendra.patel@lgbt.foundation.