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"In the Army today, you can be yourself"

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Commander Land Forces (CLF) Lieutenant General Everard.
Commander Land Forces (CLF) Lieutenant General Everard

As the Republic of Ireland votes to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum, Commander Land Forces (CLF) Lieutenant General James Everard writes about the Army's latest LGBT conference.





The Army has come a long way since the ban on homosexual personnel serving was lifted in 2000. As the Army’s LGBT Champion, I was extremely proud when the Army was recently named by Stonewall as one of the country’s top 50 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel for the first time. And the Army’s LGBT conference at Sandhurst this week was by far our biggest yet with more than 230 people attending – representing members of the Army’s LGBT community, their chain of command, friends and colleagues. As well as sharing best-practice and resources, the conference was a real celebration of the modern, inclusive employer the Army has become.


We are safely at the beginning of the age of inclusiveness, but the challenge is not time limited. We must continue to show progress. I am proud that the Army has done so well in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, with an upward trajectory that we will work hard to sustain. But I am prouder still to see the list of LGBT role models growing. Just last month the Army’s senior transgender representative Captain Hannah Winterbourne won a Special Judges Award at the British LGBT Awards for advising on Army transgender policy and supporting transgender soldiers. You can find out more about Hannah’s story here.


Talent management – the better management of talent – was a big theme of this year’s conference. We know that diverse, well-led teams perform better than equally well-led homogenous teams. The Army Leadership Code encourages inclusive leadership and so, as we manage our talent, we want a colourful medley in this Army of ours. The LGBT community is a rich seam of diverse talent that brings broader perspectives, networks and experiences to our organisation. We need to think differently if we are to succeed, remembering that people perform better when they can be themselves. The forces of ignorance are receding. In the Army today you can be yourself.

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