The UK Parliament is set to hold a debate to determine appropriate compensation for military veterans who were discharged due to their sexual orientation.

The debate comes after revelations of the hardships faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in the British military before the year 2000, when a ban on their service was in place, not only leading to homophobic abuse and harassment but also resulted in many veterans being unjustly expelled from the service, stripping them of stable income and pension rights.

A July review shed light on these injustices, revealing accounts of bullying, violence, sexual assault, and pension denial from thousands of veterans.


Former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had initially promised a parliamentary debate on reparations. However, plans for the debate were reportedly scrapped earlier this month, leading to significant backlash from military charities and affected veterans. RAF veteran David Bonney, imprisoned for his sexuality in 1995, voiced concerns that the decision to cancel the debate reflected ongoing homophobic influences within the government.

In a turnaround, BBC News reports that the debate is now scheduled for 2024. Veterans impacted by the ban are being invited to register their interest in applying for reparative schemes. While some measures are currently available, more detailed information about financial compensation is expected to be released in the upcoming year.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, commenting on the independent review, emphasised the government’s commitment to rectifying past wrongs, acknowledging the unacceptable treatment of LGBT personnel between 1967 and 2000.

Although the government has cautioned against expecting unlimited compensation, military charities and advocacy groups are calling for lifting the current £50 million cap on the total reparations fund. An open letter signed by organisations like The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes argues that the cap is unfair, given these veterans’ significant sacrifices and hardships.

The letter concludes with a powerful reminder: “We owe it to those who served our country to recognise their sacrifices and compensate them for the harms they endured.” The upcoming debate is a critical step towards acknowledging and addressing the injustices faced by LGBTQ+ military personnel in the past.