The Royal British Legion (RBL) apologised for refusing to recognise the service and sacrifice of LGBTQI members of the British Armed Forces. 

According to the Guardian, the apology comes 15 years after human rights activist Peter Tatchell sent a letter to the RBL outlining the group’s homophobia and after Tatchell had reminded the group about the letter. 

Tatchell wrote that the organisation doesn’t have the “decency to acknowledge the contribution of queer soldiers, sailors and aircrews to the allied victory over Hitlerism.” 

He also wrote that the RBL refused to “officially admit that any homosexuals fought in the last war, let alone that some of them acquitted themselves with distinction.”

Eschewing A Homophobic Past

In a letter to Tatchell, Charles Byrne, Director General of the RBL, wrote, “I am deeply saddened by your previous experience with the charity, and I can only apologise on RBL’s behalf for not responding and the discrimination shown at the time.”

He added, “The behaviour you outline of the RBL of the past is not tolerated in today’s organisation.”

In response to Byrne’s apology letter, Tatchell said, “Our praise and thanks to the Legion for eschewing its homophobic past with this forthright and fulsome apology. We are delighted by its commitment to support LGBT+ veterans and work with the LGBT+ community.

“This draws a line under the pain of the RBL’s previous prejudice and discrimination. LGBT+ people can now confidently collaborate with the RBL, knowing that they are on our side.”

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