Britain's Air Force to join gay pride festival

August 27, 2004

LONDON — Britain's Royal Air Force is to strike a blow for equality in the military by becoming the first of the country's armed forces to take part in a gay pride event, it said on Thursday.

Eight RAF officers will join a float at the Gay Pride spectacular this weekend in Manchester, a city in northwest England with a strong gay community, an RAF spokeswoman said.

"Along with the other armed forces, the RAF tries to reflect the community from which it draws its members," she said.

"We have recruitment policies that recognise that people from different backgrounds can make positive contributions. An individual's sexual orientation is none of the RAF's business."

This was not previously the case – up until the start of 2003, all Britain's armed forces were permitted to dismiss homosexual personnel, only stopping this following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

Last month 100 uniformed gay police officers joined the London Gay Pride march in the capital. – Sapa-AFP

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Tens of thousands celebrate gay pride across Europe [05/07/2004]



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