LGBT veteran in last battle for army ban compensation

A veteran who was sacked from the Navy for his sexuality says he fears he will die before he gets compensation from the UK government. Joe Ousalice was one of thousands who were affected by a ban on LGBT people serving in the British military.

Last year the prime minister said the ban, which lasted until 2000, was an “appalling failure”, and those affected have been promised compensation.

Mr Ousalice, 73, says he now has cancer and is yet to receive any money.

An independent review, published last year alongside Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s apology, suggested 49 ways the government could make reparations to those affected – including an “appropriate financial reward” capped at £50m overall.

A government spokesperson said it has already delivered on more than half of the recommendations and is working “at pace” to deliver those that remain.

Details of how compensation will be paid and how much each person will be entitled to are yet to be released.

Joe Ousalice, from St Helens, Merseyside, was a radio operator in the Navy from 1976 until 1993 and fought in the Falklands war.

During his almost 18 years of service he was investigated as a “suspected homosexual” around nine times. He was eventually dismissed because a court martial ruled his sexuality was “prejudicial to good order and naval discipline”.

He believes his bosses found out about his sexuality after he told a padre – a chaplain in the armed forces – that he was bisexual.

Although bisexuality was never explicitly outlawed, those who were bisexual were treated as though they were gay.

Had Mr Ousalice completed his 22-year contract, he would have immediately been able to claim a pension of at least £500 a month.

But his dismissal meant he was not eligible to claim it until he reached retirement age, which left him without an income.

Mr Ousalice said: “I was willing to give my life to them, but it was all just taken away from me.

“We class our armed forces as our heroes. Is this how the government treats their heroes?

Source: BBC

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