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Tortured gay RAF man seeks justice for LGBT servicepeople

AN EX-SERVICEMAN who says he was tortured by the RAF for being gay in 1986 has rejected government claims that the forces are now a more welcoming place for LGBT members. 

Simon Hinchley-Robson, who served as a cook in the RAF, was dismissed after his sexuality was revealed.

This led to the former serviceman, who was 21 at the time, being arrested by members of the RAF special investigation branch and taken to an interrogation room for four days.

There, Mr Hinchley-Robson says he was denied food and sleep, forced to strip and repeatedly searched internally.  

The former serviceman’s harrowing testimony was read out to the Commons last week by his local Labour MP, Clive Efford, who described his constituent’s treatment as “a form of torture for being gay.”

Mr Efford called for his constituent’s pension to be reinstated and an admission of wrongdoing from the RAF. 

Speaking after the MP’s intervention, Mr Hinchley-Robson said: “I wanted them to come forward and say they were wrong.”

The former serviceman also said he wanted justice for others who faced the same treatment, four of whom he knows have since committed suicide. 

In response to his case being raised, the government has now invited Mr Hinchley-Robson to apply to have his pension reinstated and insisted the military was a more welcoming place now to members of the LGBT community. 

But Mr Hinchley-Robson disagreed: “Although they say you can be open in the forces, I would still dispute, if I walked into an army recruitment office or the marines and said ‘by the way I am gay, I want to join up,’ they would find everything they could to stop me from joining up. They really would.”

The historic ban on being gay in the military was not lifted until 2000. 

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