Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Bisexual ex-navy radio operator allowed his medal

Getting that medal: Joe (right) . Picture PA & Daily Mail
Today Joe Ousalice (68) will get his Long Service and Good Conduct medal returned to him by the  MoD. In 1993 the Falklands veteran was dismissed from the Royal Navy after 18 years, because he revealed that he was bisexual.
He says "After the court martial was completed, a guy came in with a pair of scissors and said 'Sorry, mate, I need your medal', and just cut the medal off me.'
"He added: 'The Navy wasn't just my job, it was my life. But to do it I had to hide another important part of me, which I did because I loved the navy life so much I didn't want to give it up. But I shouldn't have been asked to choose.
"'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. It was heart-breaking. It took me years to recover.

Joe, today. Picture: Liberty
From the 1970s many people and organisations pressed for LGBT rights in the armed forces. The victory was finally won in 2000.
Liberty subsequently fought Joe's case and won it. Emma Norton, Joe's solicitor, (see pic) comments: 'It’s a great shame that Joe has had to take them [the MoD] to court to get them to see sense.
'But, because he did, he has paved the way for others to get some sort of justice too.”

Here's a link to Liberty's press release this morning:
In it Joe says: “I want other LGBT veterans to know they’re not alone, and that we all deserve the same recognition.”

I don't esteem the Daily Mail, but it's carrying a longer story about this than any other paper today - and it's positive:  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7775817/Bisexual-Falklands-Royal-Navy-veteran-Joe-Ousalice-gets-medal-returned-him.html
Using the Mail 's publicity machinery may well well help publicise and win other cases, to get the sort of belated justice Joe is getting on this day. The paper appeals: "Are you a veteran who had a medal confiscated on the grounds of sexuality? Email lara.keay@mailonline.co.uk or call 0203 615 1637." 

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