Gay Activists Don’t Think Queen Elizabeth’s Anti-Discrimination Charter Goes Far Enough

In Deference to Commonwealth Countries, Omits References to Gays and Lesbians

On March 11, 2013, Her Majesty the Queen,in a live broadcast, signed a new charter dubbed “a 21st Century Magna Carta” designed to stamp out discrimination against homosexuals and promote “empowerment” of women in a drive to boost human rights.  The document includes affirmations on democracy, human rights, international peace and security as well as freedom of expression.

The Queen’s charter states that signatories oppose “all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, color, creed, political belief or other grounds.”  It’s “the other” that annoys activists such as American Democratic political consultant, writer, and Americablogger John Aravosis.

Says Aravosis, a Washington lawyer, “ in 2013, I’m supposed to laud someone who doesn’t even have the moral and ethical fortitude to call me anything other than “other?”  Did Lincoln free the “others?”

“What is this? the 1980s?  I’m supposed to genuflect because the Queen was too embarrassed to mention the g-word and the t-word?”

The British Press says that the charter doesn’t specifically refer to gays and lesbians because it might offend the Commonwealth’s countries with anti-gay laws.  More than forty-one countries of the fifty-four within the Commonwealth still criminalize homosexuality.  Aravosis again takes offense: “So just in case that wasn’t clear to you – Queen Elizabeth won’t be mentioning gays or trans people in her anti-discrimination statement, lest she offend countries that discriminate.”

British Activists Have Their Say About Her Historic Pledge

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, initially praised Queen Elizabeth’s agreement.  “Although the clause rejects discrimination based on ‘other grounds’ implicitly includes a rejection of homophobic discrimination, The Queen has never publicly acknowledged the LGBT community since she was crowned in 1952.” Ben Summerskill, the Chief Executive of the gay and lesbian rights group Stonewall UK, says that “this is the first time that the Queen has publicly acknowledged the importance of the six percent of her subjects who are gay.” Columnist at The Guardian, Patrick Strudwick  remarked that “by refraining from using the word gay or gay rights, the head of the Commonwealth will in fact silence opponents of equality!  Gay people of the Commonwealth need its head to speak of them and to them, to protect them.”

Don’t Look A Gift Horse In the Mouth?

Is the Queen, 86, evolving?  Summerskill commented , “we would of course be much happier if the terms would be addressed and discussed openly.  But if addressing them obliquely is a first step, we should be happy about that. It would be foolish not to acknowledge this may be a first step towards equality in some Commonwealth countries.”



4 thoughts on “Gay Activists Don’t Think Queen Elizabeth’s Anti-Discrimination Charter Goes Far Enough

  • March 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    If you want great progress, wait till the reign of Charles III.

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