Queen Elizabeth excludes gays, trans from “non-discrimination” charter

There have been a number of breathless articles about how the Queen of England today “embraced” gay rights.

Don’t believe it.

Queen Elizabeth’s “embrace” is allegedly buried in a document she signed, affirming her opposition to discrimination based on “gender, race, color, creed, political beliefs” and “other” in the Commonwealth.

Holy royal closet, Batman

Yes, gay and trans people are supposed to be thrilled that the Queen might, or might not, have meant to closetedly include us in her use of the term “other.”

Seriously?

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”?

I’m supposed to genuflect because the Queen was too embarrassed to mention the g-word and the t-word?  What is this, the 1980s?  What is she, Ronald Reagan being afraid to mention the word “AIDS”?

Oh but it gets worse

The British press explains that the document the Queen signed specifically omitted references to “gays,” and one presumes transgendered people, “in deference to Commonwealth countries with draconian anti-gay laws.”

The charter, dubbed a ‘21st Century Commonwealth Magna Carta’ declares: ‘We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.’ The ‘other grounds’ is intended to refer to sexuality – but specific reference to ‘gays and lesbians’ was omitted in deference to Commonwealth countries with draconian anti-gay laws. Sources close to the Royal Household said she is aware of the implications of the charter’s implicit support of gay rights and commitment to gender equality. [emphasis added]

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.

Yes, God forbid the Queen be asked to take a stand against “corrective rape.”

You’re not a human rights advocate when you only advocate for people who already have rights

If the Queen is only willing to take on discrimination that everyone already agrees is bad, then she’s saying that she’s only willing to help when help is no longer needed.  What’s next?  Will the Queen be setting the Colonies free?

Not waving, but drowning. (Featureflash / Shutterstock.com)

Not waving, but drowning. (Featureflash / Shutterstock.com)

You’re not a human rights advocate when you only advocate for people who already have rights.  The whole point of civil and human rights is advocating for people who are lacking those rights, who are hated, who are despised, who are unpopular.

If anything, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is setting back the cause of gay and trans people in the Commonwealth by her intentional omission of our existence, while listing in detail other specific groups who should not be discriminated against.

It’s just as fair an interpretation of this document to suggest that the Queen intended that discrimination against gay and trans people be welcome in the Commonwealth by her direct omission of any mention of us.

The bottom line is that Queen Elizabeth is pandering to discrimination in a document opposing discrimination. That’s hardly leadership, royal or otherwise.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • I sure wish LGBT media would get their facts str8. Queen Elizabeth did NOT write that declaration, UK Parliament did. LGBT was NEVER included in that declaration but some LGBT activists thought it was because the word “Other” was in it. The reason sexual orientation and gender identity were not included was because the UK did not want to anger the countries they had invaded where the UK left behind gay bashing laws that are still enforced there.

  • radiofreerome

    Deny Jamaica foreign aid.

  • radiofreerome

    She can fucking abdicate.

  • radiofreerome

    I really wish someone would Romanov her.

  • LesFleurs

    My God, you’d think she murdered her own citizens, condoned torture and funded anti-gay movements in Africa. Oh, wait a minute…

  • Sweetie

    “Including ‘other’ clearly implies LGBT (or at least LGB).”

    No, it doesn’t.

    It implies only people whose need to be protected from discrimination is too minor to merit a clear classification.

  • don’t forget julia child was a big ol’ homophobe herself.

  • Ninong

    In reading some of the comments in this thread I think it is obvious that some people mistakenly believe that the Queen has influence over her government. Nothing could be further from the truth. And Queen Victoria was no different, except for early in her reign when she foolishly refused to accept new Tory ladies in waiting, resulting in the resignation of Robert Peel and the return of Lord Melbourne. However, no British monarch has refused to grant royal assent to a bill passed by parliament in 305 years.

    The Queen doesn’t have the option to talk things over with David Cameron and make suggestions. That’s just not the way it works. However, in this instance, it has been reported by the government that it was the Queen’s request to sign this bill publicly with cameras rolling. That’s about the extent of her influence. If she ever were to refuse to sign something, the next thing they would put before her to sign would be her abdication.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Thistle and shamrock.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Raped and plundered entire continents to fill the tower of London with the so-called “crown jewels.” Much like the Japanese imperial family and the Belgian royal family. Etc.Their wealth should be confiscated without compensation.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Abolish the monarchy and aristo titles. Confiscate their wealth without compensation. The old ones can collect the same retirement income and benefits as English workers. The younger ones can get a job.

    England needs a socialist republic.

    Tax cults like the anglo and roman catholics and mormons until they drop. Then tax them some more.

  • Mighty

    She is OLD. She won’t last. I wonder if Prince William is of different mind? I think he’d be a bit more progressive like his mom.

  • coemgenus

    For goodness’ sake, she is a constitutional monarch – she signs anything on the desk in front of her … don’t you people know ANYTHING? “She” leaves no one in or out of anything… do some reading…..

  • Russ

    John, both you and the reporters who yesterday were yelling that the Queen had “embraced” gay rights are ALL dead wrong. The Queen has neither struck a blow for the gays nor struck a blow against them. She has signed a document drawn up by the politicians of the Commonwealth countries, just as in Britain she routinely signs her name to every law and regulation passed by the politicians in Parliament, without regard to her personal feelings yea or nay on any of those measures. She is, and for the last sixty years has, done exactly what a constitutional monarch should do – to be above politics and above controversy, not taking sides or expressing her own opinions. That is her job. She is NOT a president or prime minister or party leader or activist of any sort. Nor does she “run” the country in any literal way, or tell the leaders of her government – whether they happen to be Left or Right, or right or wrong – what to do. She reigns but does not rule. And has done a splendid job of it. Your sputtering indignation is based on an entirely false concept of what her role is – you would do well, as a journalist, to go research that more deeply before you spread a lot of completely undeserved contempt for a lady who has stuck it out in a tough job much longer than you’ve been alive – and has never put a foot wrong. By being above controversy, and leaving all the hooting and hollering to the politicans and pressure groups, she can be the symbol of the nation for everyone, not just a few. That’s what a constitutional monarchy is all about.

  • pappyvet

    God save the Queen….and I dont mean Liz

  • silas1898

    Better weather. Less radiation.

  • Pretending we LGBTs are invisible for fear of offending those who hate us is the heart of discrimination. Using an oblique, generic term that can mean whatever people wish to read into it was a deliberate choice.

    This battered remnant of the once great British Empire, the Commonwealth — if it has no ideals, no real standards for membership, and tolerates genocidal behavior among its member nations, then it serves no moral purpose in existing at all. This new “Charter of the Commonwealth” is weak sauce at best, because even where it does verge into specificity, there are no new enforcement mechanisms or means to push Commonwealth member nations to repeal their draconian anti-gay laws, or to ban forced marriage, or ensure respect for basic human and political rights.

  • FunMe

    Oh my gosh, the pope and his kind really are queens!

  • According to the Doctor, she and her entire family are part werewolf.

  • reality people

    Ive read several articles about this – why cant people understand what the “ALL discimination” part does and does not mean? What more was she supposed to do other than explicity mention every form of sexual prefrence/position? Gay discrimination could actually come under “sex” rather than “other” but to be honest the loudest of the people complaining either arent from the commonwealth or are normally
    outspoken against it. This charter alone puts her ahead of any other
    head of state in terms of gay rights and it comes not long after her government voted overwhelmingly in favour of gay marriage. People should look closer to home before judging this as something negative purely because of its wording. The fact that its non-specific means there can be no loop-holes

  • Indigo

    Remain calm. Her grandson will do the honors and regularize the language at a later time, most likely before the end of this very century. Carry on.

  • Joneses

    Its like more and more I read shit like this it brings back memories of my grandfather in the south and his father and mother and their father and mother and so forth back before the Civil War and it effing sickens me.

  • Steve_in_CNJ

    zzzzz

  • kingstonbears

    But there’s a flip side to this that you haven’t mentioned. Why should residents of Canada, such as my husband and I, now support the monarchy. Our civil rights and protections are some of the strongest in the world and, no, we don’t need her seal of approval, but we also don’t need to be treated like we don’t exist. As far as these bigoted countries leaving the Commonwealth? Let them go and see how long they survive once the support from other Commonwealth countries ceases.
    The other interesting point is that she’s just thrown the majority of her staff under the bus. An acquaintance of ours served in the royal household and reported that the vast majority of the male staff are gay. Oops, wrong country. Let’s try poofs.

  • perljammer

    As pointed out by RyansTake, the declaration is by its nature completely toothless, regardless of its wording. A comprehensive list of all conceivable bases for discrimination would be so unwieldy that the “forceful specifity” you want would be completely lost in the clutter.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    ..and most of Obama’s actions that bring complaints or plaudits are actually acts of congress. This is how things work — if she signed it, it’s hers to own.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    This is pathetic, really. In your best Julia Child voice: “I favor equal rights for the disabled, women, and, you know, other folks.” “By ‘other folks’ do you mean gay people?” “Why no, that would offend gay-hating members of the Commonwealth.” “OK, so who do you mean?” “Why, gay people, of course. That should be clear, but don’t tell anyone.”

  • dbrockskk1

    true She signed it.

  • dbrockskk1

    Tell her about Matthew Shephard.

  • Well according to David Icke the Queen is really a lizard shape shifter.

  • Jafafa Hots

    I don’t agree with that either.
    But at least we don’t celebrate it and hand it off heriditarily.

    As far as the 1% murdering millions… maybe war profiteers. But nobody tops the British empire for genocide. We just don’t talk about it much. China. India. South Africa. America.
    Just reading about what they did in Asia is more than enough.

    Raped and plundered entire continents to fill the tower of London with the so-called “crown jewels.”

  • Scotland and Ireland have blood memories to long to have much sympathy for the old bag and her parasite family.

  • “Delicate pushes toward equality” ?. Oh please, you are talking to a kick ass crowd here.

  • We are implacably opposed to the unpleasantness of the ‘others’, whose rudeness consists of tainting the monarchy by queens impersonating the Queen.

  • By all means do cooperate with the Cappo, because if you don’t the whole prison camp block will suffer.

  • “strongly considering dumping her as a Queen ” I got to live to see the day, when those royal parasites get dumped. Haven’t you heard Jamaica and its advanced civilization is the new N. Korea.

  • And wash their dirty linens.

  • Ninong

    She didn’t write a single word of the document she signed.

  • Ninong

    They’re not her words. She didn’t write any of them.

  • Best. Link. Ever.

  • This is already nothing but a sternly written letter…. the epitome of toothless. The *only* reason why anyone is talking about it is because it’s the first time the Queen’s ever said anything that even implies she believes gay people shouldn’t be discriminated against.

    That’s the progress people here haven’t seen, as they miss the forest for the trees.

  • I agree with this. It would have been better to leave it completely open ended, than to have not included LBGT people.

    But I still think including “other” is better than nothing at all, and while overly diplomatic, is enough to avoid stirring up the bigots in places like Jamaica.

  • My point isn’t necessarily that they’re going to dump her — as I said, I’m no fan of a monarchy. They can do that if they want.

    What I was trying to point out, though, was that if LGBT rights was used in a campaign to dump her, there would be some incredibly toxic anti-gay animosity stirred up in these countries, even more so than already exists.

    That’s what I’d worry about.

    By all means, if those countries don’t want her anymore, great. More power to them. I just don’t want LGBT issues to come up in that kind of a campaign, or see homophobes empowered because LGBT issues was successfully used as a “wedge” issue.


    As for Bill Clinton and DOMA… that’s a completely different scenario. DOMA was a bill that took away rights, this is a statement of support to give more civil rights.

    There was nothing about DOMA that even pretended to be about empowering people who have been discriminated against. It was purely a bill meant to stamp down on gay people.

  • This! I have been uncomfortable with promoting this as some sort of *win* for anyone’s rights. Thank you for putting words to my feelings on this.

  • Ninong

    John,

    The fact that she has asked to sign it publicly with cameras present is a strong statement in itself. The fact that the government admits that the statement is intended to cover LGBT rights and that the Queen is aware of that implication is a strong statement.

    Many of the Commonwealth countries are muslim countries. Not only that, we have to remember that the Queen is still nominally the head of the Church of England, so she can’t say or do anything contrary to the current position of the Anglican church. She’s also “Defender of the Faith,” but that title is hilarious since it was given to Henry VIII by the Pope as “Defender of the Catholic Faith.” Why they have retained that one is beyond my comprehension.

    Once again, the Queen does not write any of that stuff and she has virtually no input. Her input here is to choose to sign it publicly with cameras present and for her government to say that she is aware that it is intended to cover LGBT rights, too.

  • Feels like being worried about offending the Afrikaaners, to me.

  • Yes, though then it would been sort of like opposing cloudy days and rain.

  • And such a declaration would be absolutely toothless. There are, in fact, clearly definable forms of invidious discrimination present in the world today, and we ought not to hesitate in identifying them with forceful specificity.

  • How many times have we been told that people are throwing us under the bus to protect us… why, Bill Clinton and DOMA come to mind! I dont buy it. If they’re going to dump over a charter declaration that includes gays, then they were already going to dump her anyway. I don’t need support from people who are afraid to even say my name.

  • Steve_in_CNJ

    I agree with John that this “damning with faint praise” gives succor to the bigots. Her words reinforced the inferior status of sexual minorities and left the non-bigots twisting in the wind.

  • perljammer

    The problem here is in the enumeration of examples of grounds for discrimination; no matter how many are listed, someone’s going to be left out (or fall into the dreaded “others” bucket). Should have left it just as “We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination.”

  • Yes — she could be voted out pretty much everywhere, but remains safely popular in the UK. (or at least England and Wales — who knows how things will go in Scotland if they vote to remove themselves from the UK).

    I mentioned Jamaica and Australia because I’ve read there’s a decent chance of her being voted out in both of those states, and that there will be votes in both of them over the next few years.

  • UncleBucky

    Yep, that could be the problem. That certain Commonwealth nations could dump the UK for this statement. I don’t agree, of course, but this could be the issue. Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Member_states_of_the_Commonwealth_of_Nations

  • Ninong

    The monarchy could be toppled in the UK, not just a few Commonwealth countries, if they lost the support of the population. Fortunately for them, Prince William seems to have actually “married well” in his choice of a wife. That has helped the monarchy in the eyes of most Britons.

  • UncleBucky

    She had a chance. Someone must have gotten to her and/or to the Royal family, that is, with some kind of blackmail. She had such a chance. This is a disgrace. Of course, I do not know Charles, William or Kate, but I think that they should be embarrassed. Who cares anymore.

  • Houndentenor

    I can’t believe there are still countries where people have that kind of power even though their only life accomplishment was being born. She’s not particularly bright or all that interesting. I really don’t give a crap what she has to say about anything.

  • Victoria was a little more than a figurehead. The Royals in the UK wielded a lot of power behind the scenes for a lot longer than they did on paper, with many members of their extended families or their allies appointed in high positions, and with a great deal of weight given to their private thoughts.

    The idea of the aristocracy and stations within the UK went on for a lot longer than many people realize. I’m by no means an expert, but I’d say WW2 broke a lot of that old world thinking, as I understand it.

  • Actually, she can be “toppled” in a lot of places. I believe Jamaica and Australia are both set to have votes on whether or not to keep the monarchy relatively soon — and at the very least in Jamaica, a more vocal statement of support of LGBT rights could easily be used as a hammer against her in that election… with LGBT people in the cross hairs.

    As I said above, we’re coming to this statement from a Western point of view. She is the “soveriegn” of many countries outside of the west, and the Commonwealth itself is even broader than that. This is one of those situations where delicate pushes toward equality is real progress, and where stronger pushes for it could be like snapping an elastic from pulling too hard.

  • I actually disagree with you on this one, John.

    Including “other” clearly implies LGBT (or at least LGB).

    Now, you can say she should have explicitly included LGBT and I’d agree that it would be be a stronger statement of support, but you have to weigh that against the fact that she’s “Queen” of a bunch of countries that are some of the most homophobic in the entire world, like Jamaica.

    Some of those countries are also strongly considering dumping her as a Queen — which is every bit their right.

    However, how much worse would it be for LGBT people in those countries if one of the primary reasons for her being voted out was because she came out strongly for LGBT rights? We’ve seen how LGBT people have been used in elections before — like in America, where we’ve been hit with incredibly evil ads, like the ones centered around school kids during marriage equality debates (clealry meant to suggest we’re somehow untrustworthy around kids, when there are millions of gay parents out there proving otherwise, not to mention all the scientific evidence suggesting we’re every bit as good as straight parents… and maybe even better).

    A campaign in any of those countries to get rid of the queen by using anti-gay rhetoric would be incredibly hurtful in those countries and feed into the trolls in those places who would like to make their anti-gay laws even more draconian.

    It’s very easy for us to condemn someone for issuing a statement that isn’t as strong as we’d like, coming from a Western point of view. From places like the UK and the US, her statement is weak tea.

    But in a place like Jamaica? That’s about as strong as she can get, and yeah… it’s real progress. As little respect as I have for any form of a monarchy, I have to respect the fact that she is more than just the Queen of England.

  • Ninong

    John, it wasn’t Victoria who was in danger of being toppled. Her Tory Prime Minister resigned simply because Victoria refused to accept his suggestion of a few new ladies in waiting who were Tories. Victoria told him she was happy with her ladies in waiting and didn’t need or want his assistance in selecting new ones. So he resigned, leading to a crisis in government.

    Elizabeth has no say whatsoever in a statement like this, and she certainly cannot do or say whatever she wants.

  • nicho

    Maybe that’s where they’re going to hold the conclave.

  • nicho

    Yeah — so unlike the money possessed by the one percent in the US. And we’re still murdering. We have a president who has a “kill list” on his desk, targeting people for assassination.

  • nicho

    Victoria was a figurehead too. Ninong is right. The government writes this stuff and she signs it. Just like her speech at the opening of parliament is written by the government. The queen, as the article states, officially has no political opinions — even though she may in private.

  • Victoria was a real queen, she is a figured head. The kingdom is dead, she’s not going to be topple by anyone. And she can do or say whatever she wants.

  • Ninong

    John,

    First of all, she doesn’t write that stuff, her government does. You don’t think she would put out something like this that wasn’t approved and/or edited by the government?

    “…she is aware of the implications of the charter’s implicit support of gay rights and commitment to gender equality.”

    They’re not going to let her put out anything contrary to the laws of some of the Commonwealth countries. The fact that the government admits “implicit support of gay rights and commitment to gender equality” is definitely a strong statement.

    The British monarch hasn’t been allowed to express personal opinions on political matters, which is what this is, in ages. Queen Victoria toppled her government for much less than that.

  • Naja pallida
  • SkippyFlipjack

    By contrast, today the Catholic church leadership has finally embraced the gay community — the Holy See spent $23 million on a Rome apartment block that includes Europe’s largest gay sauna. Outreach, I guess.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/as-cardinals-gather-to-elect-pope-catholic-officials-break-into-a-sweat-over-news-that-23m-investment-includes-gay-sauna-8529670.html

  • Jafafa Hots

    The existence of the Queen depends on a discriminatory society. The “royal family” wealth is all blood money from the murders of millions.

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