THE Royal British Legion has opened a new community branch 19 years after the lifting of the ban on lesbians, gay men and bi people serving in the Armed Forces.

The Legion is encouraging LGBTQ+ veterans, those currently serving and civilians, many of whom have previously been stigmatised within the military, to join the new national branch, which will act as a safe space for people  to share experiences and support the work of the Legion.

With no other veteran organisations specifically for the LGBTQ+ community, the Legion hopes the branch will also help tackle isolation and build connections in our communities. Branch members will receive regular news and updates and will be encouraged to network with other members in their local areas.

Emma Miller-McCaffrey, one of the founding members of the LGBTQ+ & Allies branch, said: “There are many people who historically have not been treated appropriately by the military, but that has now changed.

“I am proud to be married to my wife – a serving member of the Royal Navy, and I am proud of who I am as a gay woman. Becoming a member of the Legion’s LGBTQ branch allows me to be all of those things without judgement. It’s great to see the Legion reminding people that they are here to support all who served, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.”

Emma Cannings, director of membership at RBL, said: “We know that people who identify as LGBTQ have historically been marginalised within the Armed Forces community, and as a result haven’t come forward for the help and support they’re entitled to.

“We hope that this branch will bring the LGBTQ and Armed Forces communities together, to commemorate the sacrifices made by our LGBTQ veterans and serving personnel and ensure that our services are accessible to all those who need them.”

If you or someone you know would like to become a member, visit britishlegion.org.uk/membership

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