Kelly Holmes calls on LGBTQ veterans to provide evidence of

Kelly Holmes calls on LGBTQ+ veterans to provide evidence of how lives have been ruined by the homosexual ban

Dame Kelly Holmes is calling on LGBTQ+ veterans whose lives have been ruined by the armed forces’ homosexuality ban to provide evidence.

The former Olympic athlete, 52, who came out as gay in June, is urging ex-soldiers to provide evidence for an independent investigation into the scandal that led to queer soldiers and women being stripped of their honor, stripped of their military pensions, fired and were even imprisoned.

Because it was illegal for members of the ward to serve until 2000, many later struggled with homelessness, unemployment, and mental health issues while being forced to come out to their families.

“This review must force the government to do something!” Kelly Holmes is calling on LGBTQ+ veterans whose lives have been ruined by the armed forces’ homosexuality ban to provide evidence

Around 500 people have already given testimonies ahead of the November 15 deadline for the independent review, which has been cross-party approved in the Armed Forces Bill 2021 and is being chaired by Lord Etherton.

Kelly, who lived in fear of being exposed after joining the British Army aged 18, told The Mirror: “This scrutiny needs to be as strong as possible so that it can force the government to do something.

“For some people, just acknowledging that they are affected may be enough. But others will need support.”

The Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armored Corps Training Regiment is also urging the PM to apologize on behalf of the state but will settle for “a notable national figure”.

Tragic: The former Olympic athlete, 52, who was revealed to be gay in June, is calling on ex-soldiers to provide evidence for an independent investigation into the scandal (pictured in 1995)

Tragic: The former Olympic athlete, 52, who was revealed to be gay in June, is calling on ex-soldiers to provide evidence for an independent investigation into the scandal (pictured in 1995)

She said: “It has to be someone high up who sees the implications – someone like the Prince of Wales who has empathy and connection with the military to see it’s wrong – or even the King.”

She is also demanding the return of soldiers’ medals that were taken away and wants a formal compensation program to be established in her campaign, which she is working on with Fighting With Pride.

The athlete, who won the 800m and 1,500m titles at the 2004 Olympics, first spoke openly about her sexuality in June when she declared she “finally feels free” after years of being in love led a “secret” life.

Free: Kelly, who lived in fear of being exposed after joining the British army aged 18, is also urging the PM to apologize on behalf of the state (pictured in 2004)

Free: Kelly, who lived in fear of being exposed after joining the British army aged 18, is also urging the PM to apologize on behalf of the state (pictured in 2004)

The honorary colonel of the Royal Armored Corps Training Regiment lived in fear of exposure after joining the British Army aged 18, as the armed forces had a ban on LGBTQ+ soldiers that was only lifted in 2000.

Speaking about her coming out as gay on BBC’s Morning Live, Dame Kelly said the reaction from people was “incredible” and people reached out to her after the documentary aired.

She told hosts Gethin Jones and Kimberley Walsh that while she’s feeling “more positive” now, she’s also feeling “in limbo” as she adjusts to living her “new normal.”

Army: Sh

Army: She said: “For some people, just acknowledging that they are affected might be enough. But others will need support’ (pictured in her role as Colonel on Trooping the Color)

When asked about the public reaction, she explained: “I have to say it’s been amazing, the warmth, the feedback from people who have reached out to see my documentary and you know, it’s kind of weird ’cause I feel like I’m essentially still a little bit in a bubble and a little bit in limbo, you can’t just change.

“I’m still the same person, don’t get me wrong, but to announce that I’m suddenly living the new norm is something completely different.”

The former Olympian went on to admit that she’s still “processing” everything that’s happened since her announcement, but said she feels she can finally have a “brighter” future.

She continued, “It’s just one step at a time, I’m processing everything that has come out over the last two weeks and I’m sure my future will be a lot brighter.”

Dame Kelly also spoke about how “heartwarming” it was for her to read other people’s stories, and many told her they “found strength” as she spoke about their own experiences.

“When you talk, you get a lot of stories back,” she said.

“There are so many people who have emailed and messaged and who have found strength through my conversation and stories and announcements – in many different ways, all different people in all different age groups – and it’s been so heartwarming.”

Being me!  She is also demanding the return of soldiers' medals that were taken away and wants a formal compensation program to be established in her campaign, which she is running in partnership with Fighting With Pride

Being me! She is also demanding the return of soldiers’ medals that were taken away and wants a formal compensation program to be established in her campaign, which she is running in partnership with Fighting With Pride