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LGBT soldiers and officers marching with Pride share their stories

Captain McClain Carter and Sergeant Chris Tierney are marching in the Army contingent of Pride in London this weekend. In their own words, they explain their experiences of being LGBT officers and soldiers respectively in the Army.

Capt McLain Carter

First off, I’m not what you’d consider a ‘typical’ Army Officer, indeed I had never considered the Army as a career.

That changed once I went to the University of Stirling where, by chance, I joined Tayforth Officer Training Corps (OTC). I came to realise that a lot of my preconceptions about the military were in fact based in ignorance and as such began a journey from UOTC to 7 SCOTS (Army Reserve) before commissioning initially into the Royal Regiment of Scotland and then finally into Adjutants General Corps.

You have a whole community ready to support you. Captain McClain Carter

It hasn’t been an easy journey, with lots of ups and downs. But it matches my coming story. It took me a long time to acknowledge my sexuality, I got very good at lying to myself let alone those around me. Honesty is the best policy as the saying goes though.

But coming out, like joining the Army, has been the best thing I have done so far in my life and would say to anyone to give it a chance. 

If you are in the military and are thinking of coming out: go for it. You have a whole community ready to support you.

Sgt Chris Tierney

I joined the Army in 2006 to start a new life and get away from the care system. I started my career as a Private in the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) which I thoroughly enjoyed, it gave me the chance to work closely with the community as one of the voluntary Community Youth Workers and represent my Corps and the Army in Tug of War, (fun fact) I had the pleasure of competing in front of the Royal Family multiple times whilst doing so.

During my time within the RLC I was really struggling with who I was and coming to terms with being Gay and it didn’t help that my friends and colleagues were pressuring me to “come out the closet” although I know they were not being vindictive or mean, mentally I just wasn’t ready and I decided I needed a change.

I remembered my first week there I came out as Gay [...] it wasn't a problem at all Sergeant Chris Tierney

In 2012 I decided to transfer to the Royal Military Police (RMP), I promised myself this would be the time where I would be the best version of me (mentally).

So, after 6 months of room inspections and Law at Defence School of Policing and Guarding, I was posted to my first unit as a newly promoted Lance Corporal to Hohne, where I rapidly got to grips with Police Work.

I remembered my first week there I came out as Gay, it was an incredibly scary but exhilarating time, it was such a mix of emotions, the strangest thing was the lack of response, as if it wasn’t a problem at all, I wasn’t even sure what I was expecting but I felt good, so I spent the next 2 years telling everyone that would listen that I was gay! After so many years of denying who I was to myself I just couldn’t stop saying it.

In 2014 I was posted to Bulford as a Corporal, where I spent roughly 2 years Policing the Garrison and where I met one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet, Warrant Officer Class One M Thompson, who to this day still has an effect on the way I conduct my business. A true inspiration.

Currently I am posted to 3 RMP Regimental Headquarters (RHQ) here in sunny Bulford, where I am the Training Non-Commissioned Officer, Regiment DMI and Regimental LGBTQ+ Representative. During my time here at the RHQ I have truly found what is to be valued and needed.

It is also where I met Warrant Officer Class Two Carson, who has taught me everything there is to know about being your true self and how to actually get the best out of people and even when times are tough, find that smile. If you ever have the pleasure to meet him, I guarantee you’ll walk away with one on your face.

I hope to emulate him as I continue my career as newly promoted Sergeant.