Okay. Here's my take on this - I am a gay officer in the Royal Air Force, and openly so. The opinions I give here are entirely my own, and in no way reflect the policy or doctrine of the Ministry of Defence or the Royal Air Force.

When I signed my RAF Oath of Allegiance I signed to say that I would, as in duty bound, defend the Queen and my country. That I would obey all orders of Her Majesty and my superiors. Basically, that, as a person, I would be willing to lay my life on the line to defend what I believe in, and that I have the discipline to do so.

Fast-forward two years, when I graduated from the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, 17th out of a course of over 90, proudly wearing the cap badge I had worked hard to earn the right to wear. I'd been through personal, physical hell during training. I'd braved freezing snow, ice-cold river crossings, sweltering heat, and eye-crossingly dull air power lectures. I'd faced extensive tests of my physical, mental, and organisational abilities to cope with the unique demands of the Armed Forces, in classrooms, in the field - even up mountains in the most treacherous of conditions. I'd been broken down as a man, and rebuilt in the RAF's own image. I lived and breathed my Service.

I received my Queen's commission (no sniggering) - the Queen signed it, saying she had especial trust in my loyalty, courage, and good conduct. She expects me to lead and to command men - who am I to refuse, she is, after all, my boss.

Now, look back at that and tell me where my sexuality comes in to play. It doesn't. I am here because I want to serve my country, I am willing to die fighting for what I believe in, and I have the strength of body and spirit to do so. Who can claim that my sexuality diminishes my ability to conduct my duties?

Common misconceptions are that, as a gay man, I would be gallavanting around with other gay officers, cavorting with them in the Officers' Mess. That I would be unable to keep my hands off the young men who joined up for the same reasons as me, but who happen to be at a lower rank. Absolute bunkum - across the world Armed Forces have problems with sexual harrassment - heterosexual harrassment, to be more precise. Incidents of gay men or women sexually harrassing their comrades in more liberal Armed Forces (like the British and Dutch forces) are extremely low, so how can anyone claim that this is a problem?

I am who I am, and I am respected by my colleagues, of equal, lower, and superior rank, because I am honest about my sexuality and don't allow it to become an issue. I have the right to be frank about my sexuality, and I have the responsibility to keep the deeper details of my personal life outside the workplace. Don't ask, don't tell is, itself, an insidious method for silencing the gay community within the Armed Forces of some countries, effectively asking homosexuals to deny their sexuality by hiding it. The British Armed Forces, the group of world-renowned, highly-trained men and women I am honoured to be among, is a richer and more diverse organisation for allowing homosexuals to serve, and we will continue to do so with distinction.