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LGBT+ people slam Ministry of Defence over 'diversity' job ad

UK Ministry of Defence

LGBT+ people slam Ministry of Defence over 'diversity' job ad

The UK's MoD is recruiting someone to promote inclusion, just as new information reveals their role in training the forces of homophobic regimes.

The job of Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) comes with a salary of £110,000 per year. The MoD’s LGBT+ Network promoted the job on social media several times yesterday (15th August).

According to the job description, the appointee will “inspire Defence to root out inappropriate behaviours”. Applicants must pass a “national security vetting” process.

But LGBT+ members of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) said it is absurd to talk of tackling “inappropriate behaviours” in an institution that is literally training homophobic killers.

A report in today's Observer reveals the number of despotic regimes supported by British military training. These include regimes that imprison or kill LGBT+ people, including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Uganda and the UAE.

The new job at the MoD seems to be a response to the MoD’s Wigston Report, which found high levels of racist, sexist and homophobic bullying in the armed forces.

The PPU, a longstanding pacifist campaign network, said that equality is not compatible with military values such as obedience to authority and resorting to violence.

"You obviously want institutions to be more diverse overall, and for people who aren't straight to feel safer at their jobs," said Zenab Ahmed, a queer woman and PPU supporter who lives in London. "Yet the tone here is that the most one can and should do is make institutions more 'inclusive', regardless of what those institutions do, and their impact on people and their lives."

She explained, "The Ministry of Defence operates in a legacy of homophobia, transphobia, queerphobia and racism and exploitation all over the world. It still reinforces those societal trends in spite of now being a safer place for some opnely LGBT+ and queer people to work."

PPU Campaigns Manager Symon Hill, who is bisexual, said:LGBT+ people in Saudi Arabia face torture and death at the hands of forces trained by British troops. They will not benefit from knowing that there is someone in the MoD nominally in charge of inclusion and diversity. LGBT+ people in Britain care as much about the rights of our siblings around the world as we do about equality in the UK."

He added, "Militarism and queer liberation don’t mix.”

The PPU is a founding member of the No Pride in War campaign, an informal alliance of LGBT+ activists, peace campaigners and human rights groups who challenge attempts by armed forces and arms companies to pinkwash their image and misrepresent themselves as supporters of LGBT+ rights.