Posted by Staff on January 25, 2015
A British Army general who is secretly gay plans to reveal his sexuality after being angered by a colleague’s warning that such an admission would amount to career suicide.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, the general – who is married with children – takes issue with the Army’s insistence that gay and lesbian soldiers no longer face discrimination.
He said: ‘The Armed Forces cannot claim it is an equal opportunities employer when the view persists that any senior officer who announces he is gay will see his or her career go up in smoke.’
A veteran of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with nearly 30 years’ service, he is the most senior officer to admit he is gay, and the first British Army general to do so.
In observations that will dismay the Ministry of Defence, which has made great strides in improving the Army’s image, he said homophobic bullying and abuse are still common.
And he makes the damaging claim that ‘it would be very difficult for a homosexual senior officer to serve in some Army units’.
Throughout his career, he has kept the truth about his sexuality secret from all but a ‘handful of very close friends’.
He told his wife some years ago and ‘after a great deal of soul searching’ they decided to stay together. ‘We love each other deeply,’ he said.
‘I never considered outing myself until another very senior officer said he believed that admission of homosexuality by a senior officer would be career suicide,’ he said.
‘I actually felt like saying, “Actually I’m gay and it has never prevented me from serving Queen and country”.
‘I was furious, but in the end I let the comment pass. But over the last few weeks, I actually started to ask myself whether the time had come for someone of my rank to speak out and to say that you can serve your country at the highest levels of the Armed Forces as a gay man or woman.’
The general says he is part of a ‘small number of senior officers in the Army, RAF and Royal Navy who have decided to keep their sexuality secret because of the potential impact it might have on their career’.
He added: ‘It might come as a shock to some people but there have been and there are gay members of the SAS. I have met them.
‘Gay soldiers won medals in Iraq and Afghanistan. And yes, there have probably been many gay generals over the years.’
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