The woman, now 52 years old, disclosed that she had to conceal multiple same-sex relationships she had while serving in the Women’s Royal Army Corps. She said that this made it difficult for her to maintain her mental health.
Holmes hid her sexuality for years
After keeping her sexual orientation a secret for a number of years, the middle distance athlete Dame Kelly Holmes, who won gold medals for Britain in the 1500 and 800 meters at the Summer Olympics held in Athens in 2004, stated that she was relieved to come out as gay. Holmes had been keeping her sexuality a secret for a number of years.
The athlete, who is 52 years old and has won two gold medals, disclosed that she had to hide the fact that she had several relationships with people of the same sexual orientation while she was serving in the Women’s Royal Army Corps because she feared being court-martialed for her actions. This caused her to struggle with her mental health.
It was against the law for homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual people to serve in the British Army, Royal Navy, or Royal Air Force (RAF) prior to the year 2000; however, the legislation has since been amended to reflect the current climate.
She’s an honorary colonel in the RACTR
Dame Kelly revealed in a speech given to coincide with Pride Month, which celebrates and raises awareness about LGBTQ+ communities in the month of June, that she first realized she was gay at the age of 17, after kissing a fellow female soldier, and that her family and friends have known her since 1997. The month of June is designated as Pride Month, and the speech was given to coincide with the celebration.
In the year 2020, she spoke with a military LGBTQ+ commander about the possibility of being punished for violating army regulations, but she was informed that she would not be punished for doing so.
In 2004, Holmes competed in her last major tournament, the Olympic Games in Athens, where she won a gold medal in both the 800 meter and the 1500 meter events. Following her retirement from sports in 2005, she was bestowed the title of Dame by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Since then, she has been given the rank of honorary colonel in the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment, and she has also founded a nonprofit that provides assistance to formerly active athletes.
Since her interview, the Olympic winner has been inundated with messages of support across social media, with many people praising her bravery and expressing hope that it would encourage other young athletes to be more comfortable with their sexuality.
Dame Kelly expressed her anxiety
In an interview with the Mirror, Dame Kelly expressed her anxiety about the possibility of being disciplined for her sexual orientation while she was serving in the Army.
She added, “I was persuaded throughout my entire life that if I acknowledged to being homosexual in the Army I would still be in problems.” “I was convinced that if I revealed to being gay in the Army I would still be in trouble.”
She recounted an experience in which members of the Royal Military Police had searched her living quarters in what she assumed to be an effort to learn more about her sexual orientation.
“They pulled everything out of your cupboard, turned out the beds and drawers, read letters — everything — trying to catch us out so that we could be arrested, court-martialed, and potentially go to jail,” she said. “They did all of this trying to catch us out so that we could be arrested, court-martialed, and potentially go to jail.”
Dame Kelly retired from professional running
At the age of 18, Dame Kelly retired from professional running to join the Army in the late 1980s. She served as an HGV driver and a physical fitness instructor during her time in the military.
In recognition of her contributions to the Army, she was presented with an MBE in 1998, and in 2018, she made history by being the first individual to be appointed Honorary Colonel to a regular regiment, the Royal Armoured Corps.
People who were gay, transgender, or bisexual and served in the armed forces carried the risk of being sent to prison if their sexual orientation or gender identity was revealed.
The law was altered in the year 2000 as a result of a case brought before the European Court of Human Rights by four servicemen and women who had been fired because of their sexual orientation.