The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) joins local communities in
celebrating this year’s Pride Month.
Pride Month is about celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) communities all around the world, it’s about treating each other with respect and making sure our colleagues, friends and family members are confident and empowered to be themselves.
Pride Month is a time where the LGBT+ community can truly feel free to be their authentic selves. It’s about friendships and acceptance, and showcasing the diverse world we live in. It’s also about education and learning of the difficulties the LGBT+ community have faced, listening to those who have lived experiences and raising awareness. It’s about recognising how far we have come, but most of all, Pride Month is a celebration of love.
During Pride Month, the MDP attended Pride events at Furness and Portsmouth, and raised the rainbow flag with their military colleagues at their headquarters, at RAF Wyton.
MDP LGBT+ Champion, Assistant Chief Constable Jason Gwillim, said:
“It was an honour to be part of the rainbow flag rising at our headquarters with MDP and military colleagues. Pride Month is such an important event, which the Force is proud to support year after year, with officers and staff taking part in various celebrations in and around the sites we protect.
“I am particularly proud to be the MDP LGBT+ Champion, and I have been working closely with our staff network and their new chair on continuing to ensure the MDP is a truly inclusive Force, providing a workplace that is free from any form of discrimination and where all our people feel safe and comfortable being their true selves. In the MDP diversity really does matter, and is about all of us.”
For the MDP the celebrations don’t stop with Pride month…In July the Force will be attending Reading Pride and MardiGla in Scotland.
Although as a nation and in policing, we have come a long way, homophobia still exists. The MDP LGBT+ Network will therefore also be continuing to raise awareness through other areas of work including further developing the Force’s ally programme. This involves officers and staff from across the Force volunteering as allies to provide support, call out inappropriate behaviour and take action to help make inclusion an everyday reality, so their LGBT+ colleagues #NeverMarchAlone.
PC David O’Donnell, who attended Edinburgh Pride and recently became the Chair of the MDP LGBT+ Network, said:
“I am delighted to now lead the network, and I will be working with our members and the Force to ensure the MDP is seen as an employer of choice for LGBT+ people. Pride Month is a great way for the Force to show its commitment to being an inclusive employer and supporting the LGBT+ community, be it as an employer or a service provider. Our community includes both those who work for us and those who we work with.
“This is a very challenging time in policing, and so Pride Month provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the recent reviews relating to discrimination within the police service. The Casey report, commissioned by the Metropolitan police, and the recently announced review into Police Scotland, found that both organisations are institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic.
“With this in mind, I’m grateful to see that our new Chief Constable intends to continue prioritising the elimination of homophobia and other discrimination, and this also means there is a lot on the to-do list for me and the network, over the coming months.”
What Pride Month means to me — Carlene, a Temporary Inspector in the MDP, reflects on what the month-long celebration means to her.