Intelligence service MI5 has teamed up with a gay lobby group to actively recruit more homosexual staff, it has emerged.
The UK security service has hired gay activist organisation Stonewall to advise on how it can attract more lesbian or gay candidates for jobs, and to encourage its gay spies to be more open about ‘coming out’.
Gay men and women were barred from working in high-security posts until the early 1990s, as it was thought they would be more susceptible to blackmail than heterosexual spies. Moreover, homosexual staff were nervous about revealing their true sexuality as they thought it would look like they had lied on their applications to MI5.
But MI5 now wishes to change its image in recruiting gay staff and, later this year, it will appear in Stonewall’s gay-friendly graduate recruitment guide.
Staff numbers at the security service are expected to reach 3,500 by the end of this year, almost treble the number since the September 11 attacks in 2001.