The UK’s intelligence service MI5 is apparently working to add more gays and lesbians to its ranks.

Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper reports that the agency has approached gay rights group Stonewall for advice on how to attract more recruits from this community.

Stonewall is said to be advising the organisation on creating a gay-friendly working environment in which staff can be open about their sexuality.

This is a dramatic turnaround from practices of the previous century in which gays and lesbians were specifically excluded from jobs linked to issues of national security out of fear that they would be targets of blackmail.

According to the newspaper, MI5 will also be listed in Stonewall’s upcoming graduate recruitment guide, which lists gay-friendly employers.

“I am optimistic that in 10 to 15 years their employment profile will look very much like modern Britain. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be a lesbian or gay director-general,” said Ben Summerskill, Stonewall’s director.

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