The IDENTITY Project

Charity Chief Executive, Brighton, UK

Craig Jones

Craig’s early Royal Navy career was a ‘boys own’ story. He was a helicopter fast rope insertion officer in the Northern Arabian Gulf, was involved in counter narcotics operations in the Caribbean and in the 18 months leading to the Good Friday agreement was a patrol commander in South Down.

Within minutes of the signal coming off the teleprinter which announced the end of the gay ban in January 2000, he ‘came out’ and grabbed the baton from the courageous ‘Rank Outsiders’ campaign group whose remarkable tenacity won his right to serve, and until retiring in 2008 his work helped the Armed Forces begin their journey to be places where LGBT+ people could thrive.

In 2017 he led an amazing team of 10 authors to create the anthology Fighting with Pride (FWP). This has transformed into a ground breaking charity which aims to find our LGBT+ Veterans, support their recovery and bring them home to the military family.

What does your identity mean to you?

For a significant period of my life my LGBT+ identity hid in the shadows of my life as a Royal Navy Officer, somehow this has made my pride in our wonderful community all the greater.

Seeing young people and older people finding their way to being their true selves is a wonderful thing and for me the opportunity to open doors in the Armed Forces was a privilege.

These days I check if doors are open though before taking a bull run at them!

 

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