Queen Elizabeth Acknowledges Gay People For First Time

killer-queensCan you believe that somehow the Queen of England has never said anything publicly about gay and lesbian people? Yes, that’s right. The monarch of a country where just about everyone seems pretty gay anyway has only just now acknowledged that we exist.

And why now? Because it’s the 40th anniversary of the formation of the Gay and Lesbian Switchboard, a British nonprofit that offers support to LGBTs by phone. It’s the oldest British LGBT charity still in existence. Queen Elizabeth issued a statement of congratulation to the group, the first time she’s ever had anything to say about a gay charity.

Elizabeth joins the Prime Minister and Mayor of London in marking the occasion.

This comes as England experiences some tumult over LGBTs and royalty. The country is set to legalize the freedom to marry at the end of the month, and the government has had to re-write numerous laws regarding kings and queens. Men are now barred from becoming Queen, alas. Looks like we’ll have to content ourselves with one Queen at a time.

Meanwhile, the media is gearing up for a huge celebration when marriages begin. Stephen Fry will officiate the first televised wedding ceremony on Channel 4 on March 29.

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  • Kieran

    She’s been on the throne for over 60 years and this is the first time?

    File this one under “Better late than never” I supose.

  • NG22

    I always hoped a member of her family would come out as gay, to force the issue. I’m sure there have been gay British royals, but not open ones. If there were a gay prince in 2014, I wonder if the royal family would be mature enough to let him live and love openly. What a great example such a hypothetical human being would be. For instance, Jamaica is one of the most anti-gay countries in the Western Hemisphere. As Jamaica still observes the crown, that would mean a gay prince of their country.

    You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one–as John Lennon would say.

  • balehead

    She’ll blame them for stealing Diana’s jewels…

  • hotshot70

    the way the queen acknowledges gay people is when she says “hello” to Charles.

  • SpunkyBunks

    I’m sure she’s down with the gayelles. Who else is gonna pick out her stylin hats and dresses. She’s always dressed to the nines. Most rich people are used to working with the gays. Its the middle and lower classes that aren’t exposed to gay culture.

  • BBellairs

    From what I have read, there were quite a few gay men working for the Queen Mother when she was alive. She was said to be a little confused by them, but accepting nonetheless. You can be pretty sure there are, and always have been, gays working for the Queen, and I doubt very much that she would be unaware of that fact.

  • Harry R. Freeman-Jones

    This is not the first acknowledgement of gay people made by the Queen. I remember reading with surprise and delight at the time that when the great composer Benjamin Britten died, the Queen sent her sincere condolences to his life partner and the fabled tenor, Sir Peter Pears. His relationship with Britten was almost universally known and had spanned many decades. The Queen, in fact was a friend to Britten and was able to encourage him personally when his melancholy threatened his creativity. One cannot doubt that she recognized and understood the importance of the two men’s abiding, intimate, passionate and inspiring relationship. Pears unique and unforgettable voice, temperament, and soulful musicality caused the composer to create some of the most enduring compositions of the twentieth century. Pip! Pip! Indeed!

  • dazzer

    Constitutionally, the Queen isn’t allowed to comment on anything that is regarded as ‘political’. And that isn’t just in the UK, it includes the other 16 countries where she is head of state.

    For the vast majority of her reign, equal rights have been regarded as a political matter. She couldn’t comment publicly, but she could and did show support by including openly gay and lesbian people in her court.

    Also, there have been openly gay, lesbian or bisexual monarchs in her ancestry (Edward II, King Richard I, King James I of England and VI of Scotland, Queen Anne, etc). And she’s dealt with myriad gay or lesbian politicians during her time on the throne without passing any negative comment on them.

    The reason why her complimenting London’s Lesbian And Gay Switchboard is important is because it’s a highly political comment in the Commonwealth (the organisation that arose from the ending of the British Empire). Although the Commonwealth is a bizarre, talking shop of an organisation that doesn’t seem to fill any need, it’s the second biggest international ‘countries’ organisation outside of the UN, and Elizabeth II is its head.

    By congratulating London’s Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, the Queen is able to comment politically without breaching her constitutional duties. It seems like a small gesture, but she’s actually laying down her marker that equal rights in the UK are fine with her and no longer a major political issue. But, more importantly, she’s screwing with Commonwealth countries like Uganda and Nigeria and Jamaica and – increasingly – Kenya by saying that she is recognises the contributions to society and equality of everyone.

    It doesn’t look like much, but Elizabeth II has just slapped down a lot of homophobic governments. And she’s done it in public.

    A lot of people just think of Elizabeth Windsor as a ceremonial figurehead. But she’s not. She’s an incredibly astute politician who lacks the ability to be an open politician because of her constitutional role. She’s met every significant/powerful person on earth for the last 60 years and knows where every body is buried.

    Politicians from all political persuasions from across the world will attest to the fact that she’s nobody’s fool. She’s well briefed by her own staff – not the government’s – and she makes her own decisions within the legal constraints placed on her.

    Congratulating a 40-year-old charity is one thing, but she’s just made a thoroughly open statement about where her loyalties lie.

  • BBellairs

    @dazzer: Thank you for this very thoughtful and well written post concerning Her Majesty. Three of my Grandparents emigrated here from England, and I still have family there. I am an unashamed Anglophile, and have always admired the Queen.

  • Spike

    Can you even imagine how many gays work around and in support of the Royal Family?

  • dougmc92

    well- she has to say something soon- this may have been a toe dipping into the water…becuase gay marriage is now legal in England- it does affect the crown. Parliament is discussing a bill that would recognize a same sex partner of a future British royal or monarch. As it stands now, a wife of an heir or monarch gets an automatic title- Princess of Wales or Queen, but the husband of an heiress or monarch doesn’t automatically get omne…Prince Philip was a Prince (of Greece)by birth- was was created Duke of Edinburgh by Elizabeth’s father upon their marriage and Elizabeth elevated him to Prince Consort after she became Queen….the new proposal seeks to clarify what the same sex spouse of a royal would be….Andrew’s wife Sarah became Her oyal Highness/Duchess- as did Kate Middleton- but Princess Anne’s husbands got no title- if they or Anne wanted- the Queen would have made them Earls- like she did for her sister Margaret’s husband….

  • dougmc92

    that’s Her ROYAL highness

  • charlesbogdan

    I am from Chicago and I feel for this guy but he’s not any good so if he wants I will send him money not record but to take singing lessons or I can problem find him so underwear modeling gigs in LA !!!

  • Sweet Boy

    It takes a queen to recognize another

  • Ruhlmann

    God save the Queen. Long may she reign.

  • tjr101

    She’s been ruler for over 60 years, I’m sure she had at least one gay living a short walk from her personal quarters in Buckingham palace.

  • jar

    @NG22: Eh, the queen’s son, Edward, would suffice, no?

  • mmedesevigne

    @dazzer: Thank you for this excellent and well-thought-out post. And let’s not forget her very gay-positive parents (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother). The Queen Mum had many gay friends and staff (whom she referred to as her ‘knitting circle’). She was also patroness of St. Katherine’s Church in London that had an openly gay pastor. She thought the place needed ‘more colour’.

    The classic story is that, after a long day of public engagements, she returned to Clarence House and called down to the butler’s pantry, saying: “I don’t know about you old queens, but this old Queen needs a drink!”

  • mmedesevigne

    @stadacona: You need to read dazzer’s comment before blowing a head valve.

  • vavaara

    @dazzer: your comment was better than the article itself :)

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