This year marks the first year Britain’s Royal Marines will be marching in London Pride.
As Reuters reports, the Royal Marines Pride group will be led by the Royal Marine Band Service on July 7, where one million people are expected to participate in the Pride festivities.
Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Mike Hill, an organizer for the Royal Navy’s Pride involvement, spoke about the ways the March represents better inclusion: “It has been almost 20 years since the ban on LGBT+ people serving in the military was lifted, but many people outside of the armed forces still think it’s an exclusively macho organization,” he said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Since last January, the Royal Marines have been making strides to encourage diversity within their program, despite government numbers suggesting they are below the number of recruitments for the year then projected. Still, LGBTQ inclusion within the military has been an important issue in the last few years for various countries.
News of the Royal Marines’ involvement in London Pride also follows the recent news of the U.K. banning conversion therapy.
The London Pride parade takes place July 7.