Monday, 15 December 2008

Lesbians in Navy: new story

Ex-Wren Jacqui De La Maziere – and over 80 other gay service personnel - fought against unfair dismissal for 16 years. Now they have just lost their case. Jacqui tells her story in an interview she gave me for the Sailing Proud Archive on Nov 19 2008. You can hear it yourself by visiting the Archive at Merseyside Maritime Museum. And read online her letter to the Guardian, Nov 13 2008, ‘Sacked for being gay, we deserve better.’

Really, the early 1990s were the worst time to be a dyke in the Navy. It was bad enough that women were being newly allowed to enter this very male insitution. It was even worse that they were setting foot on men’s hallowed ships. And it was more affronting again if they were not going to be (heterosexually) available.

This ex-Sea Cadet also gives an interesting insight into the puzzle of why some Wrens didn’t grab the chance to sail when it first came in 1991. After 70 years of frustratedly living with the motto ‘Never at Sea’ maybe some did not appreciate that they would get less leave than male shipmates. She wanted to sail with equal rights.