December 12, 2009
Gay British soldier talks about coming out to his comrades: "An openly gay soldier in Afghanistan has spoken about the support and acceptance he has received from his comrades.
Trooper Ben Rakestrow, said that since he came out to his squadron a year ago he has faced nothing but harmless banter from his fellow soldiers.
The 21-year-old, who serves with 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (2RTR), said it was difficult to reveal his sexuality in such a high-testosterone environment. 'It was difficult to start with,' he said. 'I didn't know how they'd react.'"
"The army hasn't always been so accepting. In 1999, the year before the ban on gay personnel was lifted, 298 people were discharged for their sexuality.
But in 2000 a legal victory, fought for by three gay men and a lesbian, who had been discharged from the Royal Navy and RAF after being found to be gay, paved the way for openly gay servicemen and women.
British servicemen and women now march at Gay Pride in uniform."
I cannot wait for the day that this will be a reality for our brave servicemembers.