The head of the UK’s MI6 intelligence apologized publicly to LGBT spies and aspiring agents for unfair treatment because of their sexuality. He admitted that talented and courageous people who wanted to serve their country suffered because of ignorance and prejudice.
MI6 Head apologized for past treatment
Richard Moore acknowledged in a video statement on Twitter that a ban on LGBT spies that went on till 1991 was “wrong, unjust and discriminatory.” They were told that gay people were not capable to serve.
Marking the 30 year anniversary of lifting the vetting bar to LGBT+ employees in intelligence agencies in 1991, I apologise on behalf of #MI6 for the way LGBT+ colleagues and fellow citizens were treated, and express my regret for everyone whose life was affected #LGBTHM21 pic.twitter.com/bLsnNeY8RJ
— Richard Moore (@ChiefMI6) February 19, 2021
Moore is also known as C, the code given to the director of Britain’s overseas intelligence agency.
Same-sex relationships were legalized in England in 1967. But LGBT people were denied from serving in Britain’s intelligence services for security reasons. This was probably because they were more vulnerable to blackmail than straight people. MI6 said it was not sure how many people had been fired or barred from joining for security concerns.
Moore said that the dreams of loyal people willing to serve their country in MI6 shattered due to the “misguided” view.
“Today, I apologize on behalf of MI6 for the way our LGBT+ colleagues and fellow citizens were treated and express my regret to those whose lives were affected,” he said.
He also said that homophobia stayed for a long time after the ban was over. And hence some staff was unable “to be their true selves in the workplace.“
“We still have more to do to become a fully inclusive employer, and my goal for MI6 is to make it a workplace where you can always bring your true self to work,” said Moore.
The Ministry of Defence said that it would allow ex-serving personnel to reclaim any medals received when they were fired from the armed forces for being homosexual. The military’s bar on LGBT people serving continued till 2000.
The MoD move was criticized because it did not consider issues such as criminal convictions, lost ranks, and pension rights or compensation. Moore’s apology on behalf of MI6 also did not refer to any sort of compensation.