UK armed forces to ask recruits if they are gay

There will be the option: 'prefer not to say'

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The Independent Online

Britain's armed forces will ask recruits the armed forces whether they are gay in a move designed to improve diversity in the military.

Recruits have the option to "prefer not to say" and will be encouraged to provide information as to how open they feel they can be about their sexuality.

The data will be stored, but will not be made visible on individual personal records or to chain of command or managers — steps will be taken to ensure nobody can be identified by their personal diversity information.

The measure is conceived as a means of fostering greater tolerance in the armed forces, which allowed gay soldiers to openly serve in 2000.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: "The MoD proudly encourages diversity at all levels.

"Service personnel are now encouraged to declare their sexual orientation. Although this is not mandatory, collecting this data will give us a better understanding of the composition of our armed forces and help ensure our policies and practices fully support our personnel."

This move to encourage recruits to declare their sexual orientation was introduced last November.

The armed forces said they believe the new policy will shed new light on their workforce and help create a more inclusive organisation where everyone feels valued.

Additional reporting by PA