On the Queen’s Lack of Pro-Gay Speech

The Guardian's Patrick Strudwick puts the kibosh on the Mail on Sunday's weekend headline that started a snowball of proclamations (here, included) that Queen Elizabeth II was coming out for gay rights:

QueengayrightsFighting for gay rights? The Queen won't even mention them. She dare not speak our name – that is, if you believe she is even referring to gay people; if you buy the newspaper's inference that "other grounds" denotes an "implicit support of gay rights".

Let us assume it does mean that, and that Stonewall's assumption is correct. How does keeping ma'am about a minority help? Jesus never mentioned homosexuality – has that dissuaded many of his followers that "love thy neighbour" does not in fact mean: "as long as his partner's not called Steve"?

No, to refrain from specification is to collude with silence, the Grand Pause that keeps lesbians and gay men invisible, suffocating in marriages of inconvenience or trapped in police cells…

…The Mail on Sunday's splash is to be applauded, given its apparent heralding of a more liberal stance for the paper, an intriguing contrast to the Daily Mail. But this charter isn't a fight for gay rights, it's a vague whisper muffled by the screams of gay people awaiting the noose.

If only the alleged intention were expressed explicitly, unequivocally. Most Commonwealth nations, injected by our colonial laws and Old Testament homophobia in the first place, need it. Desperately.

Longtime activist Peter Tatchell agrees:

TatchellShe's made no such explicit commitment and not used any such words.

Indeed, in her 61 years on the throne, the Queen has never publicly uttered the words lesbian or gay. She is a patron of hundreds of charities but none of them are gay ones. Not once has she visited or supported a gay charity.

For the last four years, I've been pressing Buckingham Palace over the Queen's failure to acknowledge the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people – and got nowhere.

Not surprisingly, the Commonwealth Charter does not include any specific rejection of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This was vetoed by the homophobic majority of member states. They blocked its inclusion.

This makes the Queen's charter signing even less of a big deal. It is certainly not the breakthrough for LGBT rights that some people are claiming.

Nevertheless, it is true that some Commonwealth Secretariat officials interpret the charter wording that rejects discrimination on 'other grounds' as including a rejection of anti-gay discrimination. It is claimed that this catch-all phrase was inserted to circumvent the objections of homophobic Commonwealth countries. Possibly.

Comments

  1. Strepsi says

    I’ve been following this and it is disheartening: the line is that coming out against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was removed (or never added) because two thirds of the Commonwealth nations have criminal charges or homophobic laws.

    This makes it MORE imperative to take a stand, not less. :(

  2. Jack M says

    Finally someone has said it! There have been many instances of anti-discrimination policies which does not mention gays, and to infer that they are included is not always accurate.

  3. ratbastard says

    I don’t understand what the fear some Brits have of becoming a constitutional republic is? Stockholm Syndrome? They won’t be ‘special’ anymore? The concept of a hereditary monarch, ‘nobility’ and ‘royalty’ is pretty odious for the 21st century.

  4. matthew says

    Sadly, most of the commonwealth countries have laws against homosexuality–ironically left over from Victorian colonialism–hence the lack of specific LGBT support.

  5. says

    Instead of “keeping mum” for fear of upsetting the backwards nations of the Commonwealth, those countries should be asked to leave the Commonwealth for fear of upsetting the modern nations.

  6. Icebloo says

    Why are gays so obsessed and silly about the royal family. Grow the fu$k up !

    The UK royal family has done NOTHING for gay people. NOTHING. EVER. WAKE UP !

    The Queen has signed this document because politicians asked her to because all nations within the Commonwealth approved it. She had no choice. She even issued a statement when she signed it to say she was not politically endorsing it ! She’s a selfish bitc#. Always has been.

    The only thing the royal family cares about is money, power and prestige. They don’t care about anyone but themselves.

    They could have done something for gay rights DECADES ago but instead they just ignored us and carried on using taxpayer’s money to buy multi-million pound artworks for their private collection.

    Right now they could make a big difference by selling some of that art and giving the money to the poor people in the UK who have had their government assistance stopped by a right wing government which the royal family supports. While austerity measures are forced on the UK the royals asked for a raise in the MILLIONS of pounds of money they receive from the government. They don’t care other people are losing their homes, their jobs, their pensions etc

    The royals are NOT for human rights. They are all about their bank accounts and nothing else. They are NOT our friends. WAKE UP !

  7. Chlorogoth says

    I agree with pretty much everything said here except one. The younger members of the royal family have been gay friendly. Both Kate Middleton and Prince Harry have come out in support of gay rights, and have helped LGBT charities.

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