Gay Navy officers to march with pride

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Navy officers may be allowed to wear their uniforms at this year’s EuroPride event in London, according to newspaper reports.

The Royal Navy is expected to push the proposal at a conference on gay rights later today in an address by second sea lord, Vice Admiral Adrian Johns.

He will refer to the navy’s work with gay group Stonewall and the possibility of an “overt service presence” at the parade on July 1.

The Guardian revealed that Adm Johns will say, “A significant number of Royal Navy lesbian and gay personnel … are keen to give a strong personal signal that the Royal Navy is an inclusive employer of choice that welcomes and actively champions diversity in its workforce.”

“Our mission is to break down barriers of discrimination, prejudice, fear and misunderstanding.

“Not only is this morally right, it is also for us in a fighting force the best way to deliver maximum operational effectiveness.”

The Royal Navy was the first of the UK armed forces to sign up to a Stonewall scheme to promote fair treatment of gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the workplace.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, told the Guardian, “We are delighted at the strengthening relationship between Stonewall and the Royal Navy, and at the recognition by the Royal Navy that supporting gay staff and recruits makes a real contribution to operational effectiveness.”

“The plans the navy now have for encouraging gay people are constructive, and we are confident that the RAF and army will soon consider following suit.”

The move would see the Navy follow the police, RAF and army who have all previously been allowed to wear their uniforms in UK gay celebrations.