Sunday, November 2, 1997 Published at 18:32 GMT
Gay leaders defend Cenotaph ceremony
Outrage say the ceremony was simple and dignified
Organisers of "Queer Remembrance Day" at the Cenotaph in London have rejected criticism from the Royal British Legion.
The Legion, representing ex-soldiers, described the event as "distasteful".
But Peter Tatchell, of the gay pressure group Outrage, said: "The British Legion should be joining our ceremony not criticising it.
"Anyone who witnessed this event will see that it was a solemn, dignified ceremony about the lesbian and gay victims of Nazism."
The Legion said the service was "bound to offend many former soldiers". But servicemen who happened to chance upon the ceremony said they were not offended.
Chelsea Pensioner Albert Judge, 85, saluted the assembled gays and lesbians, most of whom wore black, as he walked down Whitehall. "If it's genuine for those sort of people who fought in the Great Wars, I have got nothing against it." said Mr Judge, who served five years in the Royal Navy and 31 years with the Royal Signals.
"We hope Queer Remembrance Day will raise awareness about the contribution of lesbian and gay service personnel to the defeat of Nazism."