U.K. General - "Gays In Army Make Military More Effective." True Or Just P.R.?

We all know you can't spell fun without LGBT.  But do we make everything better?  With the UK lifting the ban on gay soldiers 15 years ago, it seems the consensus is the British Forces are better off because of it.

See what one top military official has to say about gays in Her Majesty's Armed Forces and how they changed it in a positive fashion.

Recruiting more gay people into the Army makes it more effective a top general has said as commanders try to widen the pool of potential recruits for the forces.

Lt Gen James Everard said “diverse teams” of people, if well led, are “far more effective than bog-standard teams.”

The Army’s push to seem more welcoming to gay and transgender people comes as commanders believe they have to work harder to recruit from “non-traditional” parts of society.

The Army is already holding a review into whether it should open up combat jobs to women and is also trying to attract more recruits from Britain’s ethnic minorities.

Lt Gen James Everard, commander of land forces, said “operational effectiveness is at the top of the pile” of reasons to recruit more gay and transgender people into the Army.

Greater emphasis on high technology, diplomacy, engaging with local populations and the need to understand "psychological terrain" means the Army needs to recruit more widely, he said.

He told the FT: “[Diversity] in our ranks gives us a breadth of understanding and capability we don’t get in any other way … we need to reach into [places] that probably people would have said were non-traditional – away from the working class of Middlesbrough and all that sort of stuff and into a more diverse and broader range of characters. That’s hugely important for us.”

The UK dropped its ban on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people openly serving in 2000.

At the start of this year if started to record soldiers’ sexuality on a voluntary basis. So far only 230 serving troops have come out as gay or bisexual.

Lt Gen Everard said the Army was still struggling to change attitudes among some soldiers and some gay recruits found the “lived experience” was not ideal.

He said: “Like most problems, [fixing] the first 70 per cent is quite easy. It’s closing out the last 30 per cent [which is hard] … and that’s to do with attitudes.”

He said the Afghan and Iraq wars to the past 15 years, where gay troops had served openly for the first time, had changed attitudes on the front line.

“Those that were slightly frightened of what they didn’t understand; what they learned from those wars, there they fought alongside gay people, was that you can be homosexual and extremely brave … people came back saying, these guys are part of the team.” - telegraph.co.uk

I always thought military training was done to make a cohesive unit and didn't allow for individuality.  From this story, I stand corrected.  The forces seem to be built upon strengths, differences, talents, and individuals to make a better team, unit, brotherhood. 

But is this all just P.R.?

Lt Gen James Everard talks about how diversity makes the military better, but what proof does he have that gay soldiers are truly making the military better? I am sure there were many soldiers that were out well before the British Armed Forces started "officially" recording sexual orientation of its recruits this year.  Is Everard just trying to help the military embrace diversity?  Everything is better when there's variety!  Or is he, as the article says, trying to "widen the pool of potential recruits for the forces."  Every single soldier makes the military better.  It doesn't matter their background, gender, love life, race, but instead the love and dedication of their country.  I guess with a statement like we are making things better, I'd like to see some proof instead of getting a big ol' gold star for participation. 

You can definitely add M&Ms to your trail mix for variety / diversity, but does it make it better just because they are there?

I am sure Lt Gen James Everard's statements are true, but I was hoping for more proof than "jus' cuz diversity is good, gays are a good addition."

 

Okay U.S. Military, it's your turn to chime in.  Do you feel Gay Soldiers make our forces here better or do they do things a little different across the pond? And what proof do you have that we make the military even better than what it was before? 

 

Any of you serve? Do you agree with Lt Gen James Everard and his statements?