British military pay out to dismissed gay soldiers

Compensation to victims of military homophobia

November 10, 2008

LONDON — The UK Ministry of Defence has revealed that it has paid £4 million in compensation to 65 former service personnel who were booted out of the armed forces because of their homosexuality.

The average payout was £61,500.

The ban on gays in the British military was overturned in 1999, after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was a violation of a person's right to a private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"These payouts are small compensation to people who were often subjected to degrading interrogation and detention, and who lost their job and service accommodation. They ended up unemployed and homeless," said Peter Tatchell of the gay human rights group, OutRage!, who campaigned for three decades to end the ban on gay and lesbian people serving in the armed forces.

"For many gay and lesbian service personnel, dismissal from the military destroyed their distinguished careers and caused them immense financial and emotional suffering.

"Although this monetary compensation package is welcome and long overdue, what's really important is the official recognition that a grave injustice was done to these people and to hundreds of other dismissed lesbian and gay soldiers, sailors and air crews," said Mr Tatchell. –Issued by OutRage!

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