Letter: Armed services' illogical stance on gays

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The Independent Online
Sir: The armed services' discriminatory policy towards gay men and women service personnel is as illogical as it is sad. Despite the fact that I was known to be gay, and a relatively high-profile campaigner for gay rights, I was recalled while on the Regular Medical Reserves List for service during the Gulf crisis in 1991. The assessment of my military conduct was 'exemplary' on my discharge papers in 1985. During my six years' service I had received two recommendations for accelerated promotion.

The local media became aware that I had been called up and contacted the military authorities for comment. They issued a misleading statement which fuelled speculation that a new and more liberal policy had been adopted.

The resultant intense media interest clearly gave the MoD the jitters and it advised me that 'anyone can always declare personal reasons why they think they should not go, which will be sympathetically taken into account'. I refused to take the bait and was subsequently declared ineligible on health grounds. I remain convinced that had the media interest been less, I would have gone to the Gulf.

If discrimination can be suspended because there's a war on, then it can be suspended at any other time. Otherwise the armed services quite rightly stand accused of hypocrisy and double standards. There is no mitigation.

Yours faithfully,

JULIAN CORLETT

Scunthorpe, Humberside.

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