Just over 17 years ago it was illegal for an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person to serve in the British military.
We can be proud that those policies of exclusion have been relegated to our past and now, in 2017, LGBT members of our military can go about their daily lives free to be who they are without fear of reprisal.
Yet, watching the media last Wednesday, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d turned back the clock.
Donald Trump’s announcement, through his favourite medium of Twitter, that transgender people were a “disruption” and no longer welcome to serve in the US military, harkened back to an abhorrent era of homophobia that does not belong in the 21st century, never mind the White House.
Being transgender has no impact on a person’s ability to serve.
In fact those US citizens currently serving in the military voluntarily put themselves through years of arduous training in order to prove themselves capable of serving their country.
Yet now they are being told by a commander-in-chief, who himself refused to serve and dodged the military on a medical deferment, that they are not wanted and are a hindrance to their fellow soldiers.
While these Trumpian views may seem far removed from the UK, the LGBTI+ community can be forgiven for fearing they may well find a home on this side of the Atlantic, in the dodgy deal forged between the Tories and the DUP, the ultra-conservative Northern Irish party, who oppose a raft of LGBT rights.
In America, we are seeing a pattern. First it was women with the roll back of reproductive rights, then Muslims with the travel ban, and now transgender people.
When will our Prime Minister Theresa May use her “special relationship” to call out hate?
Or will she continue to cower, to maintain her new friendships in the DUP and desperately hold on to power in Westminster?
Be it in America, Europe or here in the UK, we cannot entertain the hateful and backward attitudes that are an attack on our basic values of equality.
In Scotland, we thankfully have a First Minister and Scottish Government who will stand up for the LGBTI+ community and live up to our title as a world leader in LGBTI+ rights.
Aside from passing historic same-sex marriage legislation, in recent years we’ve passed new laws on hate crime, pledged to review and reform gender recognition laws for people who are transgender or intersex, we have become the first country in Europe to provide national government funding to a transgender rights project and started a new programme for tackling discrimination in sport.
We are not resting on our laurels, and never will when we know that we can make a difference.
The Prime Minister has the responsibility to use the UK’s special relationship with the US.
She must use her influence to call out dangerous, regressive policies.
May’s personal legacy will already be marred with catastrophic political failure due to her humiliating general election result, however she risks greater infamy in future generations if she does not call out dangerous policies that should be consigned to the history books.
This article originally appeared in the Daily Record.