In this blog our Ambassador in Scotland, Fiona Maxwell, highlights the fantastic work of the charity Fighting With Pride…
Fighting With Pride
Prior to January 2000, there was a ban on LGBT+ personnel serving in the British Armed Forces which resulted in thousands of people being dismissed or forced out of military service. Recent research by the Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research at Northumbria University has confirmed anecdotal evidence that the impact of the ban has resulted in many LGBT+ Veterans being isolated from the military family and support services, enduring hardship and struggling with mental health problems.
Fighting With Pride (FWP) was founded in January 2020 as a ‘lived experience’ charity with the aim of listening to and understanding the problems faced by LGBT+ Veterans, service personnel and their families, supporting their health and wellbeing, and to ensure that the Veterans most impacted by the ban are reconnected with the military family and its support services. They are working in partnership with a wide range of military organisations and charities to ensure that people ‘receive a warm welcome wherever they seek help’. To that end, they have just launched the Pride in Veterans Standard (PiVS) programme to support Veteran organisations to ‘visibly demonstrate their commitment to providing inclusive and welcoming support to LGBT+ Veterans, serving personnel and their families’.
Last month, I attended the Fighting With Pride Scotland Conference in Stirling where several LGBT+ Veterans affected by the ban spoke powerfully and bravely about their experiences both during and after their service. All attested to the fact that FWP has built the trust and confidence to enable them to seek help and support and to be able to tell their stories. FWP has also supported Veterans to provide evidence to the LGBT+ Veterans Independent Review on the impact of the ban which will, in the light of all the evidence gathered, make recommendations to the Government (due by June 2023) as to how it can best fulfil its commitments as set out in the Strategy for Our Veterans.
Information about the research being undertaken at the Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research at Northumbria University can be found here.