Head of British army addresses gay conference

by Rex Wockner

<HEADER International News>

The head of Britain's army, Gen. Richard Dannatt, chief of the general staff, made history by addressing a gay conference in London Oct. 9, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

In remarks to the Fourth Joint Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual Matters, Dannatt said that respecting GLBT officers and soldiers is "a command responsibility" that is mandatory to ensure "operational effectiveness."

"We have made real progress in our understanding of equality and diversity in the military context, and there is a desire to achieve more yet," he said. "Respect for others is not an optional extra, it is a command responsibility and an essential part of leadership, teamwork and operational effectiveness."

Britain's armed forces lifted their gay ban in 2000 on orders from the European Court of Human Rights.

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