No Gays on Parade

By Bradshaw, David | The Mirror (London, England), March 5, 1996 | Go to article overview

No Gays on Parade


Bradshaw, David, The Mirror (London, England)


GOVERNMENT ministers yesterday used the results of a forces survey on homosexuality to insist they would never lift a ban on gays serving in the military.

Armed Forces minister Nicholas Soames pledged to "fight every inch of the way" to prevent the ban being overturned in courts in Britain or Europe.

Nearly eight out of 10 military personnel said they would not want to remain if forced to serve alongside gays.

Mr Soames said: "Relaxing the ban would affect morale, cohesion and effectiveness of our armed forces."

But opposition MPs and gay rights groups warned Britain would be forced by the courts to allow homosexuals in - and complained the survey was rigged.

Lib-Dem defence spokesman Menzies Campbell said: "The Ministry of Defence has a choice - either it follows the practice in virtually every other Nato country or else it will be forced in a matter of a few years to concede."

Angela Mason, of gay rights campaigners Stonewall, said: "Their case seems to be that our service personnel are more prejudiced than anyone else in Europe and the Commonwealth and therefore we have to have the ban."

Here are the views of some of the unidentified servicemen in the survey.

FOR

I'd rather have a gay who could shoot straight

IT'S professional competence that matters. If someone is a good pilot, that is all that should count.

Flight Lieutenant, RAF

PEOPLE are not interested in touching you up when you are being shot at.

Private, Army

I DOUBT if the social consequences would be as disruptive as some fear. Once gays are seen to be as good, or as bad, as heterosexual service personnel, then their sexual orientation will cease to be an issue.

Major, Military Police

WHEN I go to war, I would rather have alongside me a gay who shoots straight than a straight who shoots crooked

Lieut-Colonel

AFTER all, they are human beings and deserve to be treated that way.

Petty Officer,

Royal Navy

THERE is something conceited about men who assume every gay man must fancy them.

As for using the same shower rooms or cabins, I have been doing it for 15 years or more.

There is nothing sexy in it at all.

We don't want any special treatment. We just want to be treated equally and left to get on with the job we enjoy.

We are already here, so let us stay.

Gay Senior Rating,

Royal Navy

THE Ministry of Defence's continuing struggle against the inevitable is embarrassing and affecting the morale of the services as yet again we are mocked in the media.

Corporal, RAF

AGAINST

The first gay who came out would get attacked - or shot

I WOULD reckon that the efficiency of my platoon would go down by 10 per cent if I had to try to make it run with gays in it. …

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