Is the Queen homophobic?
Is the Queen homophobic?
Never acknowledged the existence of gay people
Never supported a gay charity
Never uttered the word gay in public
London - 1 June 2012
"Not once in her 60-year reign has the Queen publicly acknowledged the existence of the gay community - or gay members of her own royal family. She has never supported or visited a gay charity. Although she is a patron of many good causes, none of them are gay or serve the gay community. The words 'gay' and 'lesbian' have never publicly passed her lips," said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights advocacy organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
He was speaking in the run-up to this weekend's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Britain, which commemorate Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne.
"Even when she announced government plans for gay law reform in her Queen's Speeches to parliament, she did not use the words lesbian or gay. Apparently, mentioning gay people is beneath the dignity of the monarch," he added.
"While she has spoken approvingly of the UK's many races and faiths, for six decades the Queen has ignored lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Britons. If she treated black and Asian Britons in the same way, she'd be denounced as a racist. Why the double standards?
"Whereas most of us now welcome and embrace gay people, the Queen has never done so.
"As our head of state, Elizabeth II is supposed to represent and embrace all British people, not just some. How much longer will the LGBT community have to wait for royal recognition and acceptance?
"There is solid evidence of regal prejudice. Gay staff in the Royal Household used to be banned from bringing their partners to the annual Christmas Ball at Buckingham Palace; whereas heterosexual staff were always invited to attend with their partners. This homophobic discrimination was exposed by the LGBT human rights group OutRage! in 1995. It was only after a protest outside the palace and the ensuing bad publicity that the royals dropped the ban.
"When there are major tragedies involving the loss of life, the Queen often visits the site and the victims in hospital. This did not happen when neo-Nazi, David Copeland, bombed the Admiral Duncan gay pub in Soho, London, in 1999, killing three people and wounding 70 others. At the time, it was the worst terrorist outrage in mainland Britain for many years. To most people's surprise, the Queen did not visit the bombed-out pub or the hospitalised victims.
"Defenders of the monarchy point out that many royal staff are gay men. This is true. So what? Having gay staff wait hand and foot on the Queen is proof of nothing, apart from the fact that she likes well-mannered, well-groomed male servants. It's the equivalent of rich racists claiming that they can't be racist because they employ black staff to clean their homes and cook their meals.
"Ever since the public relations blunders at the time of Princess Diana's death, the Queen has gone to great lengths to be more in touch with the mood of country. She presents the monarchy as modern, compassionate and inclusive; often referring to the value of a diverse multicultural, multifaith society.
"On gay issues, however, she remains curiously out of step with public opinion. While I doubt that Elizabeth II is a hard-core homophobe, she certainly doesn't appear to be gay-sympathetic," said Mr Tatchell.