Joe Ousalice spent 18 years in the Royal Navy, but his career came to an abrupt end in 1993. Joe identifies as bisexual and his this ultimately resulted in his dismissal from the service, his sexuality believed to be "prejudicial to good order and naval discipline".
Until the year 2000, LGBT+ individuals were not allowed to serve in the British Armed Forces. Many who were thought to be LGBT+ were arrested, searched and questioned, often without legal counsel or support. On many occasions arrest was based upon little or no evidence, losing careers and in some cases homes and families.
I spent 18 years in the Forces. I've been down the Falklands, I've been to Northern Ireland six times, I've been to the Middle East twice... I was good enough to get killed for my country but not good enough because I was what they classed as being gay.
Joe suffered tremendously as a result of these discriminatory policies. He was outed to his family against his will and struggled financially after his dismissal, resulting in him losing his house. Joe served in the Falklands, Northern Ireland and the Middle East while in the Royal Navy, but had his medals taken from him when he was forced out. Joe spent the next 25 years fighting the Ministry of Defence to have his medals returned.
In 2021 the RNRMC began a partnership with Fighting With Pride, providing grant funding to support their work with Royal Navy and Royal Marines veterans impacted by the ban on LGBT+ personnel serving in the Armed Forces prior to January 2000. More information on the RNRMC's work with Fighting With Pride can be found here.