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  1. ITV Report

MoD returns medal to Falklands veteran forced out of Royal Navy 'due to sexuality'

A Falklands veteran who says he was forced out of the Royal Navy over his sexuality says he is "over the moon" he has finally had his military medal returned.

Joe Ousalice, from Southampton, served for 18 years and was awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct medal in 1991, as well as three Good Conduct badges.

But he was discharged in 1993 because of a ban on LGBTQ people serving in the armed forces.

Following years of campaigning, the former sailor was re-awarded his medal by the Ministry of Defence in Portsmouth on Wednesday.

I thought this is 27 years of my life come to a conclusion now. I've actually got the medal back. I'm ecstatic but I'm slightly confused because there was so much happening. I needed to get so much off my chest.

"It was a disgrace. I couldn't get a job afterwards. I was well fitted for every position I went for and I was being turned down because the armed forces wouldn't give me a reference and yet here I am 27 years later. It was only with the help of Emma Norton and Liberty and the threat of taking them to the High Court in London that somebody changed their mind."

– Joe Ousalice, Veteran
Joe Ousalice was discharged in 1993 because of a ban on LGBTQ people serving in the armed forces.

Mr Ousalice was treated in a way that would not be acceptable today and for that we apologise. We accept our policy in respect of serving homosexuals in the military was wrong, discriminatory and unjust to the individuals involved."

– Ministry of Defence
Joe Ousalice served in the Falklands, Northern Ireland and the Middle East.

Until 2000, LGBTQ people were not allowed to serve in the military.

The judgment brought an end to his 18-year naval career, during which he served in the Falklands, Northern Ireland and the Middle East.

Mr Ousalice, who is bisexual, said that during his time in the Navy he lived a ''double life'' and was careful not to associate with other sailors he knew were gay for fear of being outed and the repercussions.

Joe Ousalice (right) was awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct medal in 1991, as well as three Good Conduct badges.