The Royal Navy is to allow gay and lesbian sailors to march in uniform for the first time at this year’s EuroPride event in London, in a bid to showcase what an inclusive employer it is.
Vice-admiral Adrian Johns said the decision was one of several initiatives designed to ensure the Royal Navy attracts a workforce that is as diverse as possible.
Speaking at a conference held by gay lobby group Stonewall, Johns said he was keen to “give a strong personal signal that the Royal Navy is an inclusive employer of choice that welcomes and actively champions diversity in its workforce”.
A ban on gay people in the Armed Forces was lifted in 1999.
“We came to realise that sexual orientation was not something that could just be put to one side, because there is potentially a direct impact on operational efficiency,” Johns said.
“When people can’t give 100% to their job because they are being intimidated or they are scared or they are preoccupied with hiding their true identities rather than playing a full part in the team, operational efficiency is degraded.”