agencies historically saw gay spies as a security risk,
considering them much more vulnerable to blackmail, but dropped
a hiring ban just over 25 years ago.
In January the domestic intelligence agency MI5 was named the
country's most gay-friendly employer by rights group Stonewall.
The flag was hoisted outside the Secret Intelligence Service's
building overlooking the River Thames, well-known for its
appearance in James Bond movies.
Alex Younger, the chief of MI6 known as "C", has previously said
that MI6 wanted to create "a workforce of individuals as unique
as the challenges we face".
"We recognize that the more diverse the contribution, the better
the solution and the greater the impact of our work," he was
quoted as saying on the agency's website.
In April, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
eavesdropping agency apologized for its ban on gays which led to
the dismissal and subsequent suicide of one of its most
brilliant code breakers, Alan Turing, in the 1950s.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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