King Charles unlikely to ‘support LGBTQ+ community’, activist warns: ‘He’s never been our ally’

King Charles coronation

Veteran activist Peter Tatchell has warned that Britain’s newly-crowned King Charles III is not a friend of the LGBTQ+ community, saying Charles “acquiesces with our tormentors” through “silence”.

King Charles was crowned in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey on Saturday (6 May), at the cost of at least £100 million to the UK taxpayer.

According to YouGov polling, a majority (64 per cent) said they cared not very much or not at all about the coronation. Official viewing figures put the number of those who tuned in to watch the spectacle at approximately 20 million – about two thirds of those who watched the late Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

In Glasgow, Cardiff and London, anti-monarchy demonstrators peacefully protested the occasion, and the Met has confirmed that 64 arrests were made in England’s capital. Among those arrested were the CEO of Republic, Graham Smith, and members of Westminster city council’s women’s safety campaign Night Stars, who give out rape alarms.

The Metropolitan Police’s actions were described as “heavy-handed”, particularly as coronation demonstrations had been officially approved.

Peter Tatchell, who has been a vocal campaigner for human rights and LGBTQ+ issues for more than 50 years, criticised the Met for “breaking their promise that peaceful anti-monarchy protests would be permitted”.

You may like to watch

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews, the director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation outlined why Britain’s new King is unlikely to stand with the LGBTQ+ community, in the UK or elsewhere.

“There is very little prospect that the new King will embrace and support the LGBTQ+ community. He’s never been our friend or ally.

“On the contrary, he consorts with religious leaders who oppose our human rights. He’s a traditionalist with markedly conservative views on most issues. In his eyes, LGBTQ+ equality is ‘too controversial’ to handle. 

“Like his mother the Queen, King Charles has never publicly acknowledged the existence of LGBT+ people. So far as he is concerned, we don’t exist. There is no record that he has ever spoken the words lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”

Peter Tatchell joined protestors from Republic in Trafalgar Square to say ‘Not My King’. (Andrew Aitchison/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Tatchell also highlighted that the King’s record of charitable work notably lacks any inclusion of LGBTQ+ causes.

“He’s a patron of many charities and visits many of them in person – but none are LGBT+. 

“Although the king has publicly defended the human rights of Christians and Tibetans, he’s never defended the human rights of LGBTs. By his silence, he acquiesces with our tormentors. 

“He is head of the homophobic Church of England and has pledged to defend it, despite the Church opposing marriage equality and witch-hunting LGBT+ clergy,” Tatchell continued.

“Charles has been the future head of the Commonwealth for seven decades but never spoken out against the 32 Commonwealth countries that criminalise and persecute LGBTs. He sits on his hands and looks the other way. 

“He’s never expressed a word of sympathy for the victims of homophobic discrimination and violence in Britain or the Commonwealth.”

Experts around the world have noted that the coronation of King Charles is the perfect time for the British monarchy to face up to its anti-LGBTQ+ colonial legacy.

The British Empire exported conservative values and oppressive homophobia across the globe, and countries that were previously under British rule are still struggling with its harmful legacy.

In Uganda, Kenya India, Nigeria, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Sierra Leone and Barbados, among other former colonies, queer people continue to face violence and legislative oppression, and do not enjoy the same rights and protections as non-LGBTQ+ people.

“King Charles sits on his hands and looks the other way.”

Peter Tatchell

Despite this, King Charles has remained silent about LGBTQ+ rights – both in Britain and across the Commonwealth, of which he is now the head.

Republic’s Graham Smith described the royal family as having “a lot of questions to answer” and said the only way to end the homophobic legacy of colonialism is to abolish the monarchy.

“If silence is collusion,” he told PinkNews, “I think they’ve got a lot of questions to answer as to why they’ve taken no interest in LGBT issues when it can be pretty life and death in so many parts of the Commonwealth.” 

Tatchell also slammed the royal family for discriminatory practices against LGBTQ+ staff members, telling PinkNews: “For decades, Buckingham Palace discriminated against LGBT+ staff.

“Until protests by myself and the LGBT+ group OutRage! changed the policy in the 1990s, straight staff were allowed to bring their partners to the annual Christmas Ball, but gay staff were not.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.