We can take great pride that the Naval Service is an employer that values and respects diversity

Commander Chris New, the Head of Diversity and Inclusion Policy Team at Navy Command Headquarters in Portsmouth

The day before London Pride, the personnel attended the annual Quad Service LGBT conference at MOD Main Building in London. Quad includes the three Services and the civil service.

Attended by around 150 military and civilian personnel, the theme was ‘LGBT Staff on Deployment and Overseas Service - Implications?.’

The aim was to look at the various issues for individuals, units and policymakers when deploying personnel overseas, considered to be especially relevant with the drawdown from Afghanistan and the move towards smaller scale bespoke deployments where personnel are embedded with host nations and coalition partners.

The Royal Navy hosted this year’s conference which was opened by the Second Sea Lord Admiral David Steel. Other speakers included Stonewall CEO Ben Summerskill OBE, Chief of Defence Personnel (CDP) Lieutenant General Andrew Gregory CB.

Colleagues from Accenture and Hampshire Police provided a workshop on ‘Debunking the myth’ while other breakout sessions included unconscious bias training and a ‘have your say’ session where personnel had the opportunity to pose their questions and comments to members of the Equality and Diversity teams of each service.

The conference was closed with an emotive speech from Jacqui Gavin, an MOD civil servants who spoke on ‘A Trans-Eye View’, achieving the loudest applause of the day.

Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Ed Davis added: “Respect for the rights, diversity and value of others lies at the heart of the Royal Marines’ personal and professional values.

“But to be able to respect, you first need to understand; and after this conference I now understand at least some of the realities of a being a member of the LGBT community. 

“It was a day very well spent. Thank you to the organisers for helping me to be a better inclusive leader.”