Commemoration of LGBT’s who died fighting Nazism & other tyrannies
London, UK – 10 November 2019
Peter Tatchell and RAF veteran David Bonney laid a rainbow wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, immediately after the official ceremony.
“Our wreath was in remembrance of LGBT+ military personnel who sacrificed their lives fighting Nazism & other tyrannies. Lest We Forget!” said Mr Tatchell.
David Bonney, who served in the RAF, was the last UK serviceman to be jailed for being gay. He got six months in a military prison in 1994 and a dishonourable discharge.
Mr Bonney said:
“I was surprised that no other LGBT+ wreaths were visible at the Cenotaph. It is important to keep laying rainbow wreaths, otherwise the sacrifices of LGBT+ service people in the Second World War and other conflicts will be forgotten.”
Mr Tatchell added:
“On Remembrance Sunday it is right that we honour all those who fought for freedom, including women, black and LGBT+ military personnel.
“It is estimated that between 250,000 and 500,000 LGBT+ soldiers, sailors and aircrew served during the Second World War in the fight against German and Japanese fascism.
“For decades the Royal British Legion refused to acknowledge that any LGBT+ people gave their lives to defend democracy. Wreaths in their memory were removed from the Cenotaph and often vandalised. LGBT+ veterans were refused permission to march as a contingent in the Remembrance Day parade.
“In November 1971, gay people were arrested when they laid pink triangle crosses in the Field of Remembrance outside Westminster Abbey. Until 1985, LGBT+ wreaths were banned at the Cenotaph. We had to fight the Royal British Legion and Ministry of Defence to get that ban overturned,” said Mr Tatchell.