Royal Navy ‘considering’ giving gender-fluid staff multiple ID cards

Military chiefs raise security fears as Royal Navy considers issuing multiple ID cards to gender-fluid staff

  • Navy accused of taking political correctness ‘a step too far’ by veteran chiefs 

Royal Navy top brass have been accused of taking political correctness ‘a step too far’ after it was revealed naval chiefs were ‘considering’ issuing multiple military ID cards to gender-fluid sailors. 

The move triggered a verbal broadside from veteran military commanders – including a former head of the Navy – who claimed the proposal could be ‘open to abuse’ and might pose a ‘security risk’.

Currently, all military personnel are issued a single identification card, known as a MoD90, which displays their name, rank and photograph. They allow access to Ministry of Defence sites. 

However, the Navy is weighing up whether to allow staff who are gender-fluid – those who may self-identify as different genders over time – to have multiple IDs. 

The revelation emerged in the service’s application to the Stonewall Top 100 Employers list, run by an LGBT rights charity – with the navy saying inclusion and diversity groups within the force had ‘challenged’ the tradition one-card rule. 

But military commanders fear issuing more than one ID could create a security risk. Retired Lieutenant Commander Mike Critchley said: ‘Losing an ID card can be open to abuse. Issuing more ID cards will heighten the risk of them being lost.’

The Royal Navy was 'considering' issuing multiple ID cards to gender-fluid personnel, it has emerged. Pictured is a file image of sailors marching past aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales in Scotland in 2019

Retired military commanders have since expressed concern at the proposal. Pictured is a file image of sailors marching during the King and Queen's coronation in London in May, 2023

MailOnline understands that nobody in the Navy, identifying as gender-fluid, has so far asked for multiple IDs. A defence source added: ‘The navy is considering it. But it “considers” a lot of things. No-one has actually asked for it. But that doesn’t mean someone isn’t considering it.’

Lt Cdr Critchley, from Gosport, Hampshire, said he was worried that ‘inclusivity, diversity, and LGBT’ issues were now ‘taking over’ within the navy and becoming a distraction.  

‘My issue is is the Royal Navy ready to go to sea and fight today? All this over stuff is diversionary,’ he added. 

Admiral Lord Alan West, a former head of the navy, agreed. He told The Times‘When giving people lots of different passes, there’s more chance of one of them being lost.

‘What worries me is that the navy is probably not strong enough at the moment. It needs more money spent on it, we need to get the right weapons systems. There’s a war going on in Europe.

‘I’d love people who are focusing on lots of passes for gender fluidity to maybe focus on making sure that the Royal Navy is strong enough to defend our nation.’

Philip Ingram, a former Colonel in British military intelligence, accused the navy of being too PC and said issuing multiple ID cards would be a ‘step too far’.

‘Issuing multiple ID cards is a step too far and would suggest there are wider issues that need to be dealt with if someone isn’t sure what their real identity is,’ he told MailOnline.

Colonel Philip Ingram, a former intelligence officer, was concerned by the potential of issuing multiple military ID cards to gender-fluid troops

Admiral Lord Alan West was a former First Sea Lord and security minister. also raised his concerns and said focus needed to be placed on ensure the Royal Navy was 'strong enough to defend the nation' (file image)

HMS Prince of Wales, the navy's newest aircraft carrier, has spent months in dry dock in Scotland after breaking down in August 2022 on her way out of Portsmouth

‘I can’t understand how individuals can say they’re male one day, female the next, and then back to male after that. How can then properly integrate into a fighting team?’

However, the retired soldier dismissed security risk fears, adding: ‘This won’t pose a security risk. There is such a small number of individuals everyone will know who they are. And the control over the issue of ID cards is pretty good.

‘What it does show is that the services are trying to be almost overly politically correct to cooperate with everything.’

The navy’s submission to Stonewall was obtained by The Times. It showed how ingrained diversity and inclusion was in the naval service. 

Last year the Royal Navy placed 71st in Stonewall’s top 100 employers list. In 2019 it was the 15th best in the country. 

Recruits into the force are rigorously prepared to fight discrimination, receiving a diversity and inclusion package and a ‘classroom instructor-facilitated lesson’ in the first week of a ten-week induction, the Stonewall application shows.

This training includes details on ‘sexual orientation and gender identity and discusses each in detail, referring to bisexuality and trans and non-binary genders’.

Military personnel are also required to complete refresher training every two years to ensure they are up to date on the policy.

A Royal Navy spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to attracting, retaining and developing the best talent from the broadest diversity of skills and background and to provide an environment where everyone feels included.

‘The current Royal Navy identity card does not specify an individual’s gender and any future decisions made regarding the issuing of cards must comply with security policies.’


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