As the Royal Marines join the Pride in London parade for the first time, service personnel speak to MilitaryNews about LGBT inclusivity in the Armed Forces.
The British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have all taken part in Pride festivities for a decade, showing their support for equality for LGBT service personal.
However at Saturday’s Pride in London parade, members of the elite Royal Marines joined the other service personnel for the first time.
MilitaryNews met with service personnel from the Royal Marines at London’s HMS President base, as they prepared to march in the city’s Pride parade.
Royal Marine Lt Col Aldeiy Alderson has led calls for the Marines to be more LGBT-inclusive.
He told MilitaryNews: “I joined in 1996 when it was illegal to be anything other than heterosexual [in the armed forces]. You were actively hunted, at the cost of nearly £10 million per year. Since then we’ve come a long way.”
“I’ve played a small part in the Royal Marines being more comfortable in talking about some of the issues surrounding LGBT.”
The @RoyalNavy's Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Ben Key, shares this message with the sailors and @RoyalMarines taking part in today's @PrideinLondon celebrations. #Pride #NavyPride #MarinesPride pic.twitter.com/rIrOP6iI9O
— Royal Navy (@RoyalNavy) July 7, 2018
Marine Mike Johnson, said: “I think it’s a great opportunity to be involved in stuff like this.”
He added: “I haven’t marched before because, like most Royal Marines, I’ve been busy deployed on operations when Pride takes place.
“I’ve done a tour of Afghanistan, and been deployed on multiple exercises. I know a few other marines who would like to join Pride this weekend who won’t be able to because they are deployed away and working hard.”