MANCHESTER, England, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Gay and lesbian soldiers joined a gay pride parade in Manchester this weekend as part of an effort to attract more homosexuals to the British Army.
The soldiers, adorned with medals, spoke eagerly with marchers behind an RAF float and banner. The army also set up a recruitment booth at the adjoining festival.
The British Army's ban on homosexuals in the military was rescinded after protests in 1999. However, this marks the first time that gay and lesbians have been actively targeted as soldiers, the Sunday Times of London reports.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said: "People's sexual orientation is none of our business. We have a code of social conduct that everyone has to follow whatever their preference."
The military is even courting transvestites and transsexuals.
"There is a huge pool of talented lesbian and gay people out there who want to serve their country," said Ben Summerskill head of the gay rights organization Stonewall.