[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 27 August 2005, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Army marches with Pride parade
Warrant Officer Lutha Magloire of the logistics corps chats with a reveller at the Manchester Pride
The ban on homosexuals in the Army was lifted in 2000
The Army have joined a Pride parade for the first time, as soldiers marched with lesbians and gay men at Manchester's Pride Festival.

About 10 uniformed soldiers paraded and manned a recruitment stall.

Some 20 RAF colleagues manned a float featuring a plane cockpit - the RAF was the first armed service to join a gay pride festival at last year's event.

Festival Director Claire Turner said it was "great the Army is coming" and "showing that they welcome gay people".

She said: "They're showing that they welcome gay people and the Army is something gay people can be interested in."

The ban on homosexuals in the armed forces was lifted in January 2000.

As far as the Army is concerned, sexual orientation is a private matter and we are attending to promote the benefits a career in the Army can bring
Lt Col Leanda Pitt

Claire Turner said: "It's an example of the confidence of the RAF that they can have the cockpit of a plane on a float. Last year was a great success for the RAF.

"We hope the Army will have more involvement next year and a float as well."

Major Glenville Lindsay, of the Royal Artillery, told BBC News the Army's involvement in the parade was a "massive step forward".

"It is new, it's different and i think it shows that the Army accepts change and is very progressive, open-minded, embracing diversity, showing a higher degree of tolerance," he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Leanda Pitt, Commander Regional Recruiting, North West, said: "We are delighted to be taking part in Gay Pride this year.

"As far as the Army is concerned, sexual orientation is a private matter and we are attending to promote the benefits a career in the Army can bring.

"Over the three days we will be able to reach a large audience and also enjoy the atmosphere that the festival brings to the city."

Organisers expect about 45,000 people at city centre events from Friday until midnight on Monday.

The Royal Navy said its decision not to attend was not intended as a snub, but was due to large numbers of servicemen and women being on leave and Manchester not being near a naval port.

See why the army is joining gay pride

Gay festival holds a pink picnic
20 Aug 05 |  Manchester
Tournament kicks off gay festival
18 Aug 05 |  Manchester
UK hunts for favourite gay novel
18 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
In pictures: Manchester Pride
28 Aug 04 |  In Pictures
RAF joins city's Gay Pride parade
28 Aug 04 |  Manchester

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific