Rainbow flag flies at naval base in Scotland

The LGBT rainbow flag has been raised for the first time at HM Naval Base Clyde to mark Purple Friday.

February is LGBT History month and on the last Friday of the month Purple Friday is celebrated in support of LGBT Youth Scotland.

Representatives from the Royal Navy, Ministry of Defence, Babcock, Ministry of Defence Police and Police Scotland gathered to witness this significant event – with the flag flying from 43 Commando’s main mast outside their Faslane Headquarters.

Sub Lieutenant Annabel Sykes, 28, from West Yorkshire, a junior Logistics Officer at the Naval Base, said: “It was a huge honour to represent the RN at the raising of the Pride Flag at HMNB Clyde for the first time today, to mark Purple Friday.

"Together with our Civil Service Colleagues and Industry Partners, we are leading the way to promote an inclusive culture and celebrate the diversity of our people at the home of the UK Submarine Service."

The Royal Navy was the first defence organisation to join Stonewall as a Diversity Champion in 2005 and this year they were rated 15th in the top 100 employers in the Workplace Equality Index. The Navy continues to develop ties with its LGBT+ workforce through the Compass Network.

It was a huge honour to represent the RN at the raising of the Pride Flag at HMNB Clyde for the first time today

Sub Lieutenant Annabel Sykes

Compass Network is the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Network of the Naval Service and it aims to provide an inclusive Naval Service in which people feel comfortable, valued and empowered to be themselves and express their sexual orientation and gender identity, realise their career potential and contribute fully to the Service.

Gavin Leckie, Managing Director Babcock Clyde, said: “This symbolic gesture by the Naval Base Commander marks another milestone in LGBT+ history. My hope is that all who visit the base will recognise this senior commitment to the wider inclusivity agenda, which Babcock is proud to support, and become an ally of the LGBT+ community.”

Purple Friday was first celebrated in Canada in 2010 and is named after the purple stripe on the LGBT rainbow flag. According to Gilbert Baker, the creator of the flag, the purple represents “spirit”.