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Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 08:57 GMT
Navy may get 'gay drama training'
HMS Invincible
The navy is one of the most gay-friendly employers, Stonewall says
The Royal Navy may introduce "drama-based training" to modernise staff attitudes towards homosexuality, the service's head of personnel says.

Vice Admiral Adrian Johns told a gay workplace conference that some navy employees "need to be brought into line with 21st century thinking."

He added navy staff could be allowed on the EuroPride march in London in July.

A ban on homosexuals in the armed forces was lifted in 2000 following a European Court of Human Rights ruling.

Changing attitudes

The government removed the ban after it was ruled illegal in a case brought by the gay rights pressure group Stonewall.

Attitudes in the armed forces have changed so much since then that Stonewall now rates the Royal Navy 75th in its list of gay-friendly employers.

And gay service personnel in a civil partnership enjoy the same benefits as married staff.

But Vice Admiral Johns, who is the Second Sea Lord, said more needed to be done to change ingrained prejudices.

"I believe there is a generation in the navy who are probably reluctant about a lot of these issues," he said.

Nelson kiss

"My policy team is currently investigating the feasibility of utilising drama-based training resources, to reach some of those whose culture and behaviour need to be brought into line with 21st Century thinking."

Vice Admiral Johns joked that Lord Nelson may have been "ahead of his time" when he famously asked Captain Hardy to kiss him on his deathbed at the Battle of Trafalgar.

He said final approval had yet to be given for Royal Navy personnel to take part in the EuroPride festival on July 1.

But he added: "I am heartened by the fact that a significant number of Royal Navy lesbian and gay personnel are very keen to march in uniform in the main parade and share in the celebration."

RAF joins city's Gay Pride parade
28 Aug 04 |  Manchester

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