Armed Forces to hold gay conference

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The Royal Air Force is to host the third Joint Service conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Matters in November.

All three services have approved the two day event, at which service personnel will be updated on developments in diversity training, participate in presentations and workshops, and take advantage of a social networking opportunity for personnel and their partners.

In 2000, the government removed the ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving openly in the Armed Forces.

The last Services LGBT conference in January attracted heavy weight support in the form of Rear Admiral Richard Ibbotson RN.

The Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force are both members of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme.

The scheme promotes best practice and gives organisations guidance and advice on how to create equality in the workplace.

The Ministry of Defence is keen to promote all the armed services as good employers for minority groups.

Last year there was discussion at the conference about whether the British Army will also join the Stonewall programme.

In June the Royal Air Force announced that personnel who wore uniform to march in the Pride parade in London would face disciplinary action.

Previously the Chief of the General Staff issued orders banning LGB Army staff from marching in uniform at the event, held on June 30th.

General Sir Richard Dannatt was said to be concerned with a possible breach of the Queen’s Regulations, which bar military personnel from taking part in political activities.

The Royal Navy allowed sailors to march in uniform at Pride and used it as a recruitment opportunity.