A gay former soldier who chronicled his army career in best selling memoir Out In The Army has quit the shortlist of a glitzy awards ceremony.
James Wharton was hotly tipped to pick up the Diversity Champion of the Year accolade at the Out In The City Magazine Awards in a star-studded ceremony at London’s Landmark Hotel on 25 April.
But now he has pulled out and thrown his support to British Army Major Damian Jenkins.
He credits Jenkins, an openly gay doctor in the Royal Army Medical Corps, with making the top ranks of the armed forces more LGBTI-friendly.
Wharton told GSN: ‘I was at the very bottom of the ranks, I was a trooper. He is an officer.
‘He is in circles that are quite right wing in their attitudes and about how the military should be.
‘He didn’t go in and create friction but went in there with a very level head, proved the business case for diversity and influenced change in a very grown-up way.’
The awards, dubbed Britain’s ‘Gay Oscars’, will pay tribute to the people who have promoted equality and diversity for LGBTI people. Olympic diving hero Tom Daley, broadcaster Clare Balding, TV funnyman Alan Carr and Culture Club singer Boy George are also in the running for gongs.
Wharton’s book made him Britain’s most famous gay soldier. He has now left the armed forces.
While Wharton dropped out of the awards voluntarily and honorably, the organizers kicked Coca-Cola out in January after they failed to support Russian LGBTI activists despite sponsoring the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
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