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Can I be Gay in the Army?

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I'm a Gay Man that started his career in the British Army in August 2018 as a Student Nurse.

What it was like being Gay in the Army?

Throughout my time in Phase 1 training I was treated exactly the same as others, for the most part. I couldn't have wished for a better response from the Instructors, however, the British Army runs on 'Banter' and at times this was taken too far from members in my section and troop. After a few weeks of my section knowing the jokes began, I was sometimes called a 'f*g' and mocked just because I liked men. At times it would get to me but I didn't want to be known as a 'grass' for informing my chain of command. It was an uncomfortable situation for me especially as I had to share showers with these men. On the positive side, I knew that if anything did escalate and got to a stage of bullying I always had the chain of command to fall back on, I was constantly reminded that if I was bullied for being gay, those members that were bullying me would be punished and most likely thrown out of the Army.

My Coming Out Experience within the Army

I have talked about my coming out experience in the article 'Love is Love' (https://hubpages.com/relationships/loveislovenomatterwhat), my coming out experience within the Army was slightly different. In my second week of Phase 1 training, I was called into the office, mid-conversation with my section commander I was asked if I had seen the new poster outside his office, I replied 'no', he then took me out his office and pointed at an LGBT forum poster for the British Army (https://www.facebook.com/ArmyLgbt/), he then proceeded to ask if I told my section and advised that I did, one of the core values of the British Army is integrity and because of this I was expected to tell my section the truth. One day I had a slip of the tongue causing two members of my troop to ask if I was Gay. I answered 'yes' and they continued and asked if anyone else knew, I replied 'no' and they said he wouldn't tell anyone. About a week or two later one of the members didn't understand why I wanted to keep it a secret, so midway through a conversation about how 'all nurses are gay' the member stated that one of the nurses in our troop was gay, after some time of awkward silence, I confessed that it was me. The news then spread like wildfire to the entire squadron including the instructors.

Don't let anyone change your career in the Army due to your Sexuality!

After coming out to my instructors, I was automatically put into a stereotype of being an LGBT advocate for the Army. Just because you are part of the LGBT community doesn't mean that you must take on board an LGBT job, you can be in the Rifles, Parachute Regiment, Royal Engineers, Royal Signals, QARANC... doing a role that is related to your corps and still be Gay.

Percentage of the Armed forces that Declared their Sexual Orientation

ServicePercentage

Army

20.7%

Royal Navy/Royal Maries

14.7%

Royal Air Force

27.1%

is-it-ok-to-be-gay-in-the-army

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