LGBT+ at Sea

“Human Rights apply at sea, as they do on land”


“This is the first time that so many members of the UN family have joined forces in defense of the basic rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people”.

Charles Radcliffe, the Chief of Global Issues for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)


In at least 76 countries globally, same-sex relations
(let alone relationship recognition) between consenting adults remains illegal; penalties range from corporal punishment, to jail terms, life imprisonment and the death penalty. Discriminatory laws are found in both explicit terms, and in vague language related to morality, the policing of gender, and offences against the ‘order of nature’.

Today, Human Rights at Sea is tackling the LGBT+ issue as part of its Maritime Human Rights Campaign ‘Unlocking the issue, leading the discussion’.

What Is LGBT? LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and along with heterosexual. It describes people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Understanding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is essential to be both fully aware and educated of issues that LGBT+ people might face in the maritime community.

On 30 September 2015, in an unprecedented joint initiative, 12 United Nations entities called on States to act urgently to end violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTQI) adults, adolescents, and children.


Human Rights at Sea LGBT+ Advisers

Lieutenant-Commander Samantha Truelove MBE Royal Navy.

Samantha was shortlisted for the 2014 European Diversity Awards Inspirational Role Model of the Year Award and shortlisted for the British LGBT Awards 2015 (positive role model), National Diversity Award 2015 (LGBT Role model) and Inclusive Networks National Awards (Network Leaders of the Year with her Co Vice-Chair of the the Royal Navy’s Compass Network – Lt Cdr Chris Wood. Compass is the Royal Navy’s Sexual orientation and Gender Identity network.

Cadet Sarah Stevens RFA

Sarah was born in Cardiff in 1979 and went to Howell’s School, Llandaf. She was awarded an Army Bursary to study at the University of Wales, Bangor where she gained a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry & Sport Science and an MSc in Applied Exercise Physiology. She received her initial military training at the University of Wales Officer Training Corps before volunteering for 7 years as an Officer in the Army Cadet Force. After ten years of working in a variety of roles with young people, including 3 years as a secondary school Chemistry teacher, Sarah joined the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as a Deck Officer Cadet in September 2013. After passing out from Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth she began her cadetship at Fleetwood Nautical College and has since been deployed on RFA BLACK ROVER in the South Atlantic and RFA WAVE KNIGHT in the North Atlantic. She is due to qualify as a Third Officer at the end of 2016. Sarah is the RFA representative on the Naval Servicewomen’s Network and the Royal Navy’s COMPASS network (Compass is The Royal Navy’s Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Network). She is also an LGBT+ advisor for the charity Human Rights at Sea and is passionate about promoting seafaring as a career to women. Sarah was shortlisted as ‘One to Watch’ in the Northern Power Women Awards 2016 and was announced as a winner in the Defence category of the ‘WeAreTheCity’ Rising Star Awards 2016. Sarah lives in Manchester and enjoys hiking, running, travelling and decent red wine. With what little spare time she has, she is also a Special Constable with Cheshire Police.

“It can be challenging to reach out to all our people, especially those who are deployed globally on operations. We are keen to reach all areas of the Naval Service.”

Portrait Of Lt Cdr Sam Truelove And Lt Cdr Chris Wood - Tue 27 Oct 2015



Compass is the sexual orientation and gender identity network of the British Royal Naval Service





US Navy

Updated Department of the Navy Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement Released

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus released an update to the Department of the Navy Diversity and Inclusion Policy statement, which is below. In this video, SECNAV discusses how the updated policy statement makes the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps a more effective warfighting force.

2016 Maritime LGBT Case Study

Cadet Sarah Stevens (X) RFA

Cadet Sarah Stevens (X) RFA

Read her story




February LGBT History Month (UK)

31 March International Transgender Day of Visibility

17 May International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia Official website

22 May Harvey Milk Day

24 May Pansexual and Panromantic Awareness and Visibility Day

June LGBTQ+ Pride Month

September Bisexual Awareness Week Begins the Sunday before Celebrate Bisexuality Day. Official website

23 Sep Celebrate Bisexuality Day Also referred to as Bisexual Pride Day, Bi Visibility Day, CBD, Bisexual Pride and Bi Visibility Day

October Asexual Awareness Week Dates vary and may extend into November. Official website

October Ally Week Official website

11 October National Coming Out DayOfficial website

26 October Intersex Awareness DayOfficial website

20 Nov Transgender Day of RemembranceOfficial website

1 Dec World AIDS DayOfficial website

10 Dec Human Rights DayOfficial website