America’s Department of Defense could learn a thing or two from their British counterparts. The Ministry of Defense has apologized for discriminating against gay soldiers.
Commander Phil Sagar told BBC radio:
Of course we’re sorry for anyone who’s suffered personal trauma. We can’t change the past and what’s happened has happened. But if, as I’m sure you have, you’ve got testimony from people who feel that their lives have been ruined from this, then clearly that is not a good place to be.
Sagar’s apology didn’t come from left field – fifty former soldiers are looking for financial compensation for their unfair treatment.
While some soldiers accept the apology, Robert Ely, who got booted 21-years ago, long before the MOD 2000 decision to lift the ban, won’t rest until he gets the dough he feels he deserves:
For me, compensation now is the only way to end it. In the past I haven’t been a person to want compensation. Now I do. Now I do.
Ely’s currently waiting for a ruling on a settlement.
In addition to apologizing, Sagar, who runs the Armed Forces Joint Equality And Diversity Training Centre, recalled a 1985 experience with anti-gay army raids:
I appeared in the appropriate barrack block to find four provost senior NCOs and, for some reason best known to them, a dog, to calliper off the padlock of a young serviceman’s locker, search through all his material, read all his letters, search all his belongings – purely on the suspicion that he was gay.
Now, at the time I didn’t see anything wrong with that. I stood there as a serviceman doing my duty in accordance with the rules, regulations and culture of the time.
Sure, it’s shitty, but at least he’s trying to right his wrongs. Whether those wrongs will be righted with money remains to be seen.