A bisexual British navy veteran is demanding that he be paid for mistreatment from the past.
68-year-old Joe Ousalice served in the British navy for nearly 18 years. He served in the Falklands War, carried out six tours of Northern Ireland, and traveled to Hong Kong in Egypt with the armed forces. During that time, he received the long-service medal and good conduct badges.
Unfortunately, his time with the navel ended in 1993 when he was kicked out and stripped of his awards. He was accused of indecency in a civilian court, indecent assault, and conduct not suited for the navy. The situation also forced him to come out as bisexual.
“I was made to feel like I was disgusting and in the end, I was hounded out on some trumped-up charges, and told that because I was attracted to men, my 18 years of service counted for nothing,” Ousalice told CNN. “It was heartbreaking. It took me years to recover.”
At the time, the British armed forces banned, and sometimes charged, LGBT service members. According to Emma Norton, who’s the head of legal casework at the human rights organization Liberty and in charge of Ousalice’s case, the British armed forces handled gay/bi soldiers much like South Korea is handling its soldiers now. With an open witch hunt.
“Liberty has been contacted by a lot of LGBT people who would describe things like their (mail) being opened, their friends and family being questioned, being followed around town when on leave, being followed into pubs. They had to live a secret life,” said Norton.
This toxic atmosphere towards LGBT soldiers continued until 2000 when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was unlawful.
Now, Ousalice is threatening to sue the Ministry of Defense and asks that they restore his medals and awards from his time in service. Ousalice says he only wants “recognition from the government and the Royal Navy for all the years of service and hard work I gave them.”
“And I also want other LGBT veterans to know they’re not alone, and that we all deserve the same recognition,” he added.