In an interview with The Telegraph, commander of land forces Lt. General James Everhard points to the emergence of gay soldiers who’ve served openly in the 15 years since the U.K. dropped their version of DADT, opening the minds of their fellow troops in the process.
“Those that were slightly frightened of what they didn’t understand; what they learned from those wars, there they fought alongside gay people, was that you can be homosexual and extremely brave … people came back saying, these guys are part of the team.”
British Army vet James Wharton is perhaps their most famous openly gay soldier. In his memoir Out In The Army, he described being gay bashed during his service as well as multiple other close encounters with threats of violence. For him and other LGBT soldiers, it would seem that the threat of violence is still an issue to be dealt with even as they continue to diversify the ranks.
Though Everhard acknowledges that some gay soldiers are still having issues with their lived experiences, he’s optimistic about the road ahead.
“Like most problems, [fixing] the first 70 per cent is quite easy. It’s closing out the last 30 per cent [which is hard] … and that’s to do with attitudes.”
Well we definitely could’ve told you how awesome gay soldiers are a long time ago, but it’s good to see their service being recognized.
We’re sure he could learn a thing or two from the Brits.