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  1. ITV Report

The Plymouth Royal Navy Commander fighting for LGBT rights in the Armed Forces

Lt Cmdr Gordon Jones is in line for a major national award Photo: ITV News

A Royal Navy commander from Plymouth who has been nominated for a prestigious national award says he is proud to speak out about his sexuality.

Lt Cmdr Gordon Jones, who is bisexual, has been praised for his work to promote the rights of LGBT service personnel.

Lt Cmdr Jones says the Royal Navy is changing Credit: ITV News

In the year 2000 the armed forces' long-standing ban on homosexuals was lifted by the European Court of Human Rights.

Since coming out as bisexual, Lt Cmdr Jones has led efforts to increase diversity within the Navy. And his hard work is paying off, having been shortlisted in this year's LGBT awards as a 'future leader'.

It's incredible to think that simply the people I find attractive would have meant that I wouldn't have been able to do the job I have now been doing for nearly 18 years. It was acceptable to actually consider who you want to kiss and who you want to date be something that is a negative in your personality.

– Lt Cmdr Gordon Jones

Lt Cmdr Gordon Jones has worked for the Royal Navy for more than 17 years, initially joining as a Warfare Officer before specialising as a hydrographic, meteorological and oceanographic officer.

He has served around the world, including the Falklands, the high Arctic and supporting disaster relief in the British overseas territories following hurricanes Irma and Maria.

He has been a member of Compass, the Navy’s sexual orientation and identity network, since 2016 and became the sexual orientation representative to the network in 2018.

Richard Young, a Navy chef based in Plymouth, was the last man to be sacked from the forces for being gay Credit: ITV News

It's very easy to hide your sexuality, your sexual orientation, especially for bisexual people. It's very easy to hide it if you wish to. I'm proud of the fact that actually I step forward and I normalise my sexuality as just being it's simply the way that I am and it's part of what makes me me. A lot of people who don't have experience with the military would very much consider us to be a kind of alpha male, aggressive society. We're very dogmatic in a lot of people's opinions. But actually we can change, we can adapt, we can definitely move forward.

– Lt Cmdr Gordon Jones
Lt Cmdr Jones says there is still more work to be done on LGBT rights Credit: ITV News

Even today you see homophobic slurs being used as an insult, which is astonishing in a society that actually legally there is no difference whatsoever, but people still consider it appropriate that you can attack someone purely for who they find attractive.

– Lt Cmdr Gordon Jones