Navy asks Stonewall how to be more 'gay friendly'

Stonewall has been approached by the Royal Navy for advice on how to recruit more homosexual sailors and on how to be more 'gay friendly'.

As part of the campaign, the Navy will advertise in the Pink Paper - the first time it has sought recruits through the gay press.

It is hoped that with Stonewall's help, the Navy's estimated 2,100 gay and lesbian sailors will come out, eventually paving the way for the first openly gay admiral.

Stonewall's chief executive Ben Summerskill said: "We hope that the RAF and the army will follow."

The Navy approached the pressure group because it believes that too many gay staff are still leaving prematurely, despite the lifting of the ban on homosexuality five years ago.

The Navy's most senior openly gay officer, Lieutenant Commander Craig Jones, said: "If you are still in the closet, it feels claustrophobic. I know many people who have left simply because they want to live a life that is more open."

Stonewall will provide advice on setting up a gay and lesbian network to provide support, social gatherings and help on coming out. It will also advise on promoting role models, collect data on sexual orientation and help implement gay-friendly allowances and benefits.

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