Veteran gay activist Peter Tatchell has turned down an invitation to an event at the Queen’s platinum jubilee because of the monarch’s “neglectful stance towards the LGBT+ community”.
In the UK, Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her 70 years on the throne this year. The national celebrations include a four-day long weekend of events in early June.
Australian-born, UK-based activist Peter Tatchell has campaigned on LGBTIQ+ rights since 1967.
Tatchell said he’d received an invite to attend the big June 5 finale outside Buckingham Palace among a group of 100 “national treasures… paying tribute to Her Majesty”.
The national treasures are “celebrated, respected and admired people from many spheres – theatre, film, television, music, literature, sport, the sciences and business,” according to the invite.
But Tatchell, a self-described “lifelong republican and a thorn in the side of the establishment,” told The Guardian he’d declined the admittedly “gracious” invitation to the “gigantic public relations exercise” for a “flawed institution”.
“I do not wish to participate in a pageant that celebrates a monarchical regime based on hierarchy, deference and inherited wealth, status and power,” he said.
“For decades, I’ve championed a fair deal for everyone, against the elitism and privilege epitomised by royalty.
“I’m mindful that the establishment uses flattery and honours to disarm critics and radicals, and suck them into the system. I declined the invitation.”
Peter Tatchell says community ‘ignored for 70 years’
On LGBTIQ+ rights, Peter Tatchell added to his knowledge, the Queen “has never publicly acknowledged that LGBT+ people exist.”
“While I doubt that the Queen is a raging homophobe, she doesn’t appear to be gay friendly,” he said.
“The words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender have never publicly passed her lips since she ascended the throne in 1952.
“The Queen has never been a patron of any LGBT+ charity, despite being patron of more than 600 organisations.
“After the 1999 Soho gay pub bombing, which killed three people and injured more than 70 others, she did not visit the bomb scene or the victims in hospital.”
Tatchell also claimed for many years Buckingham Palace prohibited staff from bringing same-sex partners to the Christmas ball.
“To be ignored for 70 years feels like a deliberate snub,” Tatchell said.
“From one human being to another, I wish the Queen well. But I cannot join the celebration of her reign.”
Instead, Peter Tatchell told The Guardian he plans to spend the jubilee weekend talking about trans rights at an arts and philosophy festival in Wales.
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