As the Queen goes Golden this year, Adrian Gillan analyses Her relationship
to us gays and urges Ma'am to mark her 50th by uttering the 'G-word' this Jubilee.
"I don't think there would be any message for the gay community in particular, nor
am I aware of past statements specifically directed at gay people," the Queen's
Communications Secretary Simon Walker told OutUK of Her Majesty's reticence on all things queer.
"But of course," he continued flawlessly and - one sensed - finally, "the Jubilee
celebrations are designed to be inclusive and to involve the whole community."
Yet what is Her Majesty's attitude towards the gay community in the UK and Commonwealth?
Just why should her scene queen subjects drape themselves in bunting this summer?
FIFTY YEARS A QUEEN
Interestingly, no one could act less like a 'queen' than the Queen, the antithesis
of the dramatic and outspoken - doubly ironic really when She has more cause than
most to belt out 'I will survive' on stage down Her local gay joint on a Sunday night.
Of course despite the Queen's own stance or lack of it - overlooking Prince Philip's
gaffes and ignoring poor dear Edward altogether - the Royal Family has no shortage
of gay idols. The Queen Mum registers high on the kitsch scale with an intoxicating
mix of gin and sheer gumph. Di rated high on the Diva scale and the 'Diana effect'
twinks on in youthful sex gods Harry and Wills.
Son Charles seems somewhat more cross-cultured and broad minded, not to say opinionated
and passionate, than his Ma. Unless there's a glorious Republican revolution, he
will get the opportunity to become a more modern, campaigning monarch and his
trusty relationship with gay media guru Mark Bolland augurs well.
However, in truth, our present Queen has never publicly acknowledged in word or
deed the existence of her gay dominion, not in the way She has - very occasionally -
acknowledged other minority groups. Her own private Staff excepting, the nearest
the Queen has got to a real 'queen' is probably some camp comic at a Royal Variety
Show or when handing out honours as part of the New Blair Project.
Though strictly apolitical, shouldn't a modern Head of State of any meaningful
function show true leadership and take responsibility for representing the whole
of modern culture, not just dutifully reflecting the old values of an increasingly
irrelevant portion of it? Or is HM just too out of touch - born out of Empire,
enthroned in the 50s and still somehow believing in the divine right of monarchs?
Compared with other more presidential Euro-monarchs, the Queen's style doesn't
lend itself well to engaging with Her general public let alone her gay one. Yet
people of all sexualities might usefully be made aware of any Royal queer patronage.
In so doing, She would be performing an important social service. It is a gift in
Her giving - if she indeed supports us at all that is.
As Head of the Church of England what are Her thoughts on Archbishop
Carey's statements that homosexual relationships are "incompatible" with the Bible.
As Head of the Commonwealth, we wondered what influence She - or the Corgis - were
able to have when President Mugabe said, "Animals in the jungle are better than
these [gay] people because at least they know how to distinguish between a male and a female".
So might we hear a small Jubilee G-word from you soon Ma'am? Few things would better
demonstrate a genuine commitment to social inclusion than a short section of speech
overtly highlighting and celebrating various sections of the community who have
hitherto - through reticence by no means exclusive to Her Majesty - been made to
feel excluded. If it is there, better out than in Ma'am. If not, what more can I say?
In keen anticipation still of a most special Queen's Message, may I take this opportunity
to wish Your Majesty a Jubilee that is both pleasant and gay. I'm certainly ready
to wrap myself in bunting.
For further information on the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations and how you can
get involved, visit the official website.