Army chiefs joined forces with protest group Stonewall to promote equal rights and tolerance of homosexual soldiers.
The head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, said discrimination prevented soldiers doing their jobs properly, and said the service must reflect ‘the nation’s values of tolerance, decency and quality’.
Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme now counts 400 members and practitioners, including big names such as Barclays and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
“One of the Army’s six core values is ‘respect for others’ and it is therefore our absolute duty to treat our fellow soldiers as we would wish to be treated ourselves,” said Dannatt. “The nation’s values of tolerance, decency and equality must be reflected in the Army.”
“This sends out a very powerful message – the Army is a 21st-century employer which wants to recruit, recognise and support the very best staff, regardless of background,” said Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall.
The programme could see the Army involved in specific recruitment initiatives, such as advertising in the “pink media”, and face-to-face mentoring for senior staff.
The army will host a conference for gay personnel in London in October. Last week, a staff survey found almost half the UK’s Armed Forces personnel were on the verge of quitting.