Craig Jones MBE is Executive Chair at Fighting with Pride supporting LGBTQ+ veterans who 20+ years on have felt the lifelong impacts of the military ban on homosexuality. In the week that this community awaits the findings of LGBTQ+ Veterans Independent Review, a new film Forced Out exposes the treatment of LGBT+ military personnel before the ban was lifted and highlights why reparations must be given.
Over the past 10 days there has been considerable coverage of the shocking experiences that LGBT+ military personnel faced during the 1967-2000 ban on homosexual individuals serving in the UK Armed Forces and the lifelong impact it has had for veterans since.
Craig Jones MBE from our Spokesperson Network has been interviewed across TV, Radio and print media speaking to BBC Newsnight, BBC South East Today, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Big Issue, The Times, The i news and many others. Craig has spoken of the terrible lasting impacts the ban has had for LGBTQ+ veterans, how he himself had to lead a double life during his time serving and why they are calling for a public apology and reparations.
Craig Jones is the Executive Chair of the military charity Fighting with Pride and the principle leader of the Armed Forces LGBT+ community in the difficult years after the ‘ban’ was lifted. Last week Fighting with Pride and the Northern Hub for Military Research at Northumbria University released their report on the findings from the first ever survey of veterans impacted by the ban and how it affected their mental health, their financial stability and more.
But where did this story start?
FORCED OUT, released today (8th June) is a new documentary from Dragonfly and Sky UK that tells the important story of the men and women who were dishonourably discharged from the UK Armed Forces, simply for being gay, who dared to take on the military establishment and to fight for the ‘gay ban’ to be overturned.
Whilst homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967, it remained illegal to be gay in the Army, Navy and RAF until 2000. FORCED OUT features shocking testimonies from LGBTQ+ veterans whose sexuality led them to face intrusive investigations, ruthless interrogations and, in some cases, highly unethical physical examinations by the military police. Many were forced to resign or dismissed without support, with detrimental consequences to the mental health, careers and livelihoods that continue to this day. Some were even imprisoned, given criminal records, had medals removed and had their service pensions revoked, all at the hands of the institutions to which they gave their lives and desperately wanted to serve.
At the heart of this story are this small group of brave veterans who took on an unprecedented campaign to change the law. Together they faced the impossible task of proving to the Ministry of Defense, to politicians, and to the nation, that being gay should not be a barrier to serving their country. 23 years later, the lasting effects of the ban are palpable as eyes turn towards the imminent independent government review of past treatment of LGBT veterans, and how to address the impact of the ban.
The film shows how hard this community has had to fight, against all odds, to end the ban. This fight continues towards gaining an apology, reparations and support for all those impacted. The documentary release on the 8th June 2023 coincides with the publication of the LGBT Veterans Independent Review findings. The independent review is into the impact of the 1967-2000 ban on homosexual individuals serving in the UK Armed Forces. Craig Jones MBE, Fighting with Pride and the community they have tirelessly campaigned for want to see action taken to bring about the justice LGBT+ veterans deserve.
Forced Out is out now on Sky Documentaries and NOW.
Join in the conversation online using #ForcedOutSky