The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.Eleanor Roosevelt
James Wharton is one of Britain's first openly gay soldiers
James Wharton, originally from North Wales, joined the British Army in August 2003. On
completion of his initial training James entered the ranks of the Household
Cavalry, choosing to be a member of the elite Blues and Royals.
In 2007 James served in Southern Iraq for seven months carrying out his duties
as an Armoured Reconnaissance soldier.
In 2008 he spent 4 months assisting in the training of other troops preparing
for active service at the British Army's training facility in Alberta, Canada.
James has played a part on all major state occasions including the State
Opening of Parliament, Lord Mayors Parade, Cenotaph Parade, and the Queen’s
Birthday Parade. In April 2011, James was honoured to be escorting the
Sovereign on the occasion of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding.
James was the first openly gay person to appear on the front cover of Soldier
magazine, the British Army's official publication, which also had an in-depth
article on James' life as its feature. Marrying his long term partner Thomas in
March 2010 James and his husband became the first same sex couple to have their
relationship formalised in the Household Cavalry's 350 year history. More so,
they enjoyed the celebrations within the very walls of the Knightsbridge based
James has modeled for Ross Watson, who created a painting and a number of
photographic portraits of James in
August 2011; some of which have been bought by Sir Elton John. The
painting and portraits made their debut in December 2011 in Sydney at Ross'
25th anniversary in art exhibition.
James is currently touring secondary schools in the UK as a positive role model
for Stonewall in their Education for All campaign, talking of his experiences
as an 'out' gay soldier in the British Military. He has also featured in
Stonewall's Role Model guide.
James has ranked in the top 20 of the Independent On Sunday's Pink List for the
past 3 consecutive years down to his work fighting homophobia within Britain's
Schools and his LGB activism commitments.
James and Thomas currently live in Putney, south west London, with their
adorable dog, Pickle, with James hoping to study a history degree upon leaving
the army in April 2013.
1. The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
This is the perfect book for someone who doesn’t particularly believe in god and
religion. It’s an alternative ending of one’s life and throws out another
answer to the great question: What happens next?
2. The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, by Randy Shilts
Harvey Milk is one of my heroes. I’m fascinated by who he was and the life he lead
before becoming a beacon of gay rights and the gay rights movement of America. The
book informs the reader that although Milk’s public life was surrounded with
intolerance and ultimately ended in tragedy; his personal life was equally as hard
fought and contributed to hugely to his untimely end.
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
I read the Kite Runner whilst serving in Basra in 2007 and was incredibly moved
by the story and the underlying theme of personal and cultural tragedy felt by
the people of Afghanistan in the late part of the last century.