Falklands veteran forced out of Royal Navy for being bisexual will get his medal back

A ROYAL Navy veteran who was discharged for his sexuality will have his medal returned to him, it has been confirmed.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 9:09 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 3:36 pm

Joe Ousalice, 68, was a radio operator in the navy for 18 years, but was discharged in 1993 for being bisexual.

When he was discharged, his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and three Good Conduct badges were also taken away from him.

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Joe Ousalice will be presented with his Long Service and Good Conduct medal again today

But now Mr Ousalice, who lives in Southampton, will have his medals returned to him after the Ministry of Defence admitted its former policy towards LGBT+ service personnel was ‘unjust’.

Speaking to BBC News, Mr Ousalice said: ‘The navy wasn't just my job, it was my life – but to do it I had to hide another important part of me, which I did because I loved the navy life so much I didn't want to give it up.

‘I shouldn't have been asked to choose.

‘I want other LGBT veterans to know they're not alone and that we all deserve the same recognition.’

Mr Ousalice, who did six tours of Northern Ireland and came to Portsmouth on board HMS Norfolk after a Nato deployment, will be presented with the medal in a ceremony.

He hopes that by coming forward, other service personnel who suffered a similar fate will be able to do the same.

‘It’s not just me, there are hundreds of others like me,’ he said.

‘The excuse they used is that you could be a threat to any foreign country – it was pretty horendous, your head is spinning all the time.

‘One on occasion I came back into Portsmouth on HMS Norfolk and the military police dragged me in with my divisional officer and said that they’d seen me in a gay bar doing drugs.’

In a statement, the MoD said: ‘We accept our policy in respect of serving homosexuals in the military was wrong, discriminatory and unjust to the individuals involved.’