The British Army celebrates Pride 2016
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Between 24 and 26 June 2016, as a symbol of the Army’s commitment to inclusivity, the golden stone façade of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) will glow with the rainbow colours of Pride, which represents people of every race and faith, whether disabled or able-bodied, and of all sexualities and genders.
The Army has been working hard to make clear and positive statements about its attitude to inclusivity. Attraction and retention of the best talent requires a reputation as an inclusive employer which recognises and values difference; focuses on fairness for the individual, helping them to achieve their potential and understand what they can contribute. We want to make it clear that we understand people perform better when they can be themselves.
One of Stonewall’s first and longest campaigns was to lift the ban on lesbians and gay men~serving in the armed forces, a campaign finally won in 1999. The Army has been a member of Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme since 2006, and in 2016 the Army was ranked No 32 in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers. Last month at the RBS British LGBT Awards Lt Gen James Everard picked up the Corporate Straight Ally of the Year award.
Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Everard said:
“Old College Sandhurst, I think, is the most powerful symbol of good leadership we have. If you illuminate that with the rainbow flag, the symbol of the LGBT movement since 1978, I think that combines the idea of excellent leadership with the idea of inclusivity and diversity.
“The Army is proud to support its LGBT community and particularly proud of our links with Stonewall with which we have worked so hard to embrace and promote inclusivity and to fight discrimination.”
The Army’s Maximising Talent initiative directs all those in leadership roles to ensure they maximise the talent and potential of all personnel by implementing new initiatives and maintaining a climate that encourages equality of opportunity and inclusion. We want an organisation where all staff are respected and valued, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and we are committed to creating a safe and comfortable working environment for all our personnel.
To that note, SSAFA's Sue Pillar, Director of Volunteer Operations represented SSAFA today in the Pride In Defence conference. It was SSAFA's first time at the conference, giving us the opportunity to reinforce some of SSAFA's core values. As the purpose of SSAFA is to 'relieve need, suffering and distress' for anyone who has served in the British Forces, and their families and partners', so we are non-judgemental in how we help, seeking to provide a wide range of practical, financial and emotional help to all.
www.proud2serve~is an LGBT E-Network which provides advice and support to serving and prospective members of the British Armed Forces.