Outrage at pension discrimination suffered by LGBT former servicemen and women

Published: 17 October 2018 Ezine

Despite significant progress having been made to equalise employment rights for the LGBT community, "there is still an injustice that remains untouched," Chris Kalinka, the Society's vice-president, advised delegates at the TUC Conference (9-12 September in Manchester).

The conference overwhelmingly voted to support the SoR's motion for trade unions to campaign to reinstate pension rights to service personnel who were dishonourably discharged from the armed forces because of their sexual orientation.

"It is a disgrace that we had to wait for the European Court to rule that discharging members of the armed forces on the grounds of their sexuality was illegal," Chris said.
"It beggars belief that it took until the year 2000 to bring an end to this blatant discrimination.

"Even worse, those who were dishonourably discharged lost their pension rights. It is illegal, and always was, to apply the most basic of discriminations and end someone's career because of their sexuality," he continued. "This motion calls for us to campaign to at least restore the pensions earnt by those who were treated in this way."

The text of Motion 39 Armed forces and LGBT - dishonourable discharge

Previous to the European Court of Human Rights ruling in January 2000, radiographers and others who were gay and engaged by the Armed Forces received a dishonourable discharge from the service with the loss of their pension rights.

This discrimination and injustice is unfair, has to be rectified and cannot continue. Congress calls on the General Council to support all efforts to open a dialogue with the Ministry of Defence to reinstate the pension rights to all who received a dishonourable discharge from the armed forces for their sexuality.