A SUBMARINER from Gosport has told how he was overwhelmed to shake hands with the prime minister during a celebration of the LGBT+ community.
Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering Submariner) Rob Morrison was one of three Royal Navy sailors invited to 10 Downing Street for the event.
And as part of the day, the HMS Sultan-based sailor was able to meet PM Theresa May.
Speaking of the moment, ET Morrison said: ‘Attending such a prestigious event on behalf of the Royal Navy was an incredible honour. Meeting the prime minister was a truly overwhelming experience and one I will not forget.’
ET Morrison was accompanied by Commander Sam Truelove and Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Mike Hill.
The trio are all members of Compass, the sexual orientation and gender identity network of the naval service and were invited to Downing Street yesterday.
They had all represented the Senior Service by marching at Pride in London the week before.
Cdr Truelove, co-chairman of the Compass network, said: ‘Being a member of the LGBT+ community and being invited to 10 Downing Street was an important opportunity to demonstrate the contribution of LGBT+ service personnel to the UK Armed Forces.’
The sailors were joined by representatives of the Army, RAF, Ministry of Defence civil servants and 140 other guests from the public and charitable sector.
LGBT+ men and women across the navy joined their army, RAF and civilian colleagues to march at this year’s London Pride earlier this month.
The parade was the 11th annual event to be supported by the Royal Navy and saw around one million people in attendance.
The naval contingent was formed of men and women who are members of Compass, which supports all those serving including reserves, civilians, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and all fighting arms of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
Following the main Pride parade through central London, service personnel marched down Whitehall to salute the fallen at the Cenotaph in poignant recognition of the many LGBT people who have served Britain throughout history.
The march also marked 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 was passed, which decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales.
Surg Lt Cdr Hill said the navy was ‘uniquely positioned to demonstrate to the world that embracing diversity leads to better outcomes’ for individuals and the service as a whole.
He said: ‘It was fantastic to highlight the progress the military has made and continues to make. It is also heartwarming to hear how appreciative members of the LGBT+ community are of the work the armed forces do for our community.’
Compass will also be supporting 15 other pride events around the UK, the largest number to date, supporting naval regional commands in demonstrating diversity.