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Justice for Gay Africans: ‘Queen’s Commonwealth charter is silent on sexuality’

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  1. GulliverUK 11 Mar 2013, 7:41pm

    As far as I can see she didn’t mention LGBT and without being explicit “other” can mean anybody or nobody. Therefore, this was a measure to shut us up moaning about her lack of commitment by Palace officials winking at us and telling …. “that ‘other’ … that’s you!”, to pacify us.

    Nobody will think ‘other’ means LGBT – you have to spell it out explicitly.

    What a wasted opportunity :( booooo

    1. “Nobody will think ‘other’ means LGBT – you have to spell it out explicitly.”

      How about the word ‘all’ in “We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination”?

      1. 12 Mar 2013, 6:05am

        mmm… ‘all’ is kind of inclusive, isn’t it?

  2. paul barnes 11 Mar 2013, 7:44pm

    The majority of the Commonwealth States discriminate against gay people in law. The Heads of these states would not sign a Commonwealth Charter if they believed that it committed them to ending discrimination against gay people. So the fact that they are prepared to sign it is proof that it is not meant to include gay people.

    1. You hit the nail right on the head! Many would not have signed if it had been specific in definition of individual rights it protected. The Queen was just another signatory, who despite her stature (unfortunately) has to remain neutral or non partisan in policy. The widely held belief the power of veto if used would reflect personal opinion and therefore not used has recently been shown to be incorrect.

      All to prove that if she had chosen to influence change the queen had power to do so.

      By not including gay people specifically, one has to wonder how a challenge of discrimination to human rights protected by charter would be interpreted in the courts with the following ambiguity in the definition of “other” being so vaguely associative to either individual or group.


      1. Continued:

        Example of the vague ambiguity “other” potentially excludes LGBT to oppose or defend a charter right!

        a : being the one (as of two or more) remaining or not included
        b : being the one or ones distinct from that or those first mentioned or implied
        c : second
        : not the same : different
        : additional
        a : recently past
        b : former
        : disturbingly or threateningly different : alien, exotic
        See other defined for English-language learners

        In some countries item 5 has great potential to be used against LGBT than it has to defend it.

        1. Nice work.

          However, if the Commonwealth Charter is seen side-by-side with David Cameron’s threat to cut foreign aid to former colonies that discriminate against gays, wouldn’t that modify the connotation of the word ‘other’ in our favor?

          1. I would hope that David Cameron reinforces his determination to deal with the former colonies by assertive action.
            First it’s vital to link or associate LGBT in dialogue to “other” as precedent to establish clarity and prevent ambiguity from the outset.
            Second policy should be to indicate displeasure with any legislation which violates human rights, with “notice” rather than “threats” aid “will be cut” making it a matter of record and policy, opposed to being a potential game of bluff.

            Unfortunately, I suspect this would be seen as impinging upon democracy by any county involved!

          2. @Steve –

            I get your drift. Good points.

            It seems to me though that the Charter and Cameron’s foreign policy are not isolated directives.

            Homophobic former colonies must be reminded time and again of their international contracts to respect universal human rights, and of the general direction the UN has taken with regards to human rights.

            These are positive forces that work hand in hand with the campaigns of gays rights organizations.

            In the final analysis, the challenge is to educate the populations of former colonies in such a way that they will arrive at the conclusion that gay rights are human rights, that homosexuality is as much a part of nature as hair or eye color.

            By the way, I saw the footage of the Queen at Westminster Abbey giving her much publicized speech, all 3-4 minutes of it. I couldn’t help but notice a clergyman standing over her right shoulder.

            I was reminded of the pressure applied by the CoE in the wording of the Charter.

  3. “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

    — Jack Layton

    Think about it, JfGA. Your present attitude is going nowhere.

    1. GulliverUK 11 Mar 2013, 9:16pm

      “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

      Failure in this case is the failure of HM to stand up for what is right — no courage you see. But hope is what is needed, and the courage to continue.

      I sign petitions all the time on gay rights on these countries – whether they do any good I don’t know — I hope they do. But given that she has done nothing, we must re-double and do much, much more.

      We must insist that the government not deport gay people to these countries, we must insist Aid is conditional in any of the 41 countries with severe anti-gay discrimination, we must write to our MPs, raise it in Parliament, write to foreign embassies, organise marches, whatever it takes. We can’t be truly free until we are all free.

      1. Good to hear it, Gulliver.

        In other words, you are loving, hopeful and optimistic.

        I’ve also been signing petitions addressed to our government (with some success, well, a bit anyway), raising funds for mini-credit self help groups, and working on committees concerned enough about social injustices in developing countries to educate the Canadian public, esp. at high school level and by yearly publicity campaigns.

        Also, I’ve learned to use ad hominem attacks sparingly because they really say more about me than about the person I would attack… lol

  4. Pavlos Prince of Greece 11 Mar 2013, 8:45pm

    I think, Buckingham Palace still is so uncomfortable with gay rights, because they see sexuality and family life in general as an very important and delicate territory, even essence of every monarchy: better no mistakes or controversy here, please (bad experience with gay rumors about Charles and Edward, royal divorces). Homosexuality still is for they too controversial or simple not-common enough (especially in the context of Commonwealth). And what is controversial, is not stable. Instability of gay rights is in contradiction with stability of monarchy.

    1. I don’t think for one second she thinks that deeply. We don’t exist or only in as much as we fetch their whisky, iron their clothes or choose those hideous block coloured outfits – I doubt we even get to touch the royal hair.
      The rights of the LGBT community mean absolutely nothing to people trapped in 1953. And don’t for one second think that even family is ever discussed – any of the boys or girls could be different – it would never ever even be noticed. They, like most of the so called Commonwealth leaders are trapped in a self maintained secure and elitist past..
      If you become ‘normal’ then you move forward and lose your fabulous don’t touch me lifestyle.
      Why would you?

      1. GulliverUK 11 Mar 2013, 9:10pm

        I’m sure she thinks we make really good servants, just like those from the colonies.

        As I said on the other thread – what is the point of the Commonwealth? What’s it for? What does it achieve?

      2. Considering she had a gay uncle, her son is constantly accused of being gay, and the Queen Mothers favourite servant was gay I bet the “gay” issue has come up more than you think…

        1. I’m inclined to share your perception because of the abundance of specific information available about royal, aristocratic and upper gays in the history of homosexuality in England, while barely anything specific has survived about the so-called common gays.

          But that’s neither here nor there.

          The focus here is on the Commonwealth Charter and how it outlines for the first time all the values that we cherish, a major step forward leading the way for those countries who are or want to be on the right side of history.

    2. GulliverUK 11 Mar 2013, 9:08pm

      Agreed, But peoples very lives are at stake – you’d think they’d put that before any embarrassment they might feel due to their lowly upbringing. The rest of us see this issue very clearly, about rights, human rights, about saving people from death, imprisonment, torture, discrimination, or doing anything we can to stop those.

      Making Aid conditional is the best way, it’s what many countries have started using in the last few years, including the UN. Besides, they all signed treaties in their local respective regions which include upholding equal rights – we shouldn’t even need to spell it out.

      I hope her words have some positive effect but like JfGA I doubt it’s even close to enough. ‘other’ is something most of us ignore, because when something isn’t spelt out explicitly people have no idea what it’s supposed to refer to. In one country they make think it’s a swipe at their treatment of a particular indigenous group; it means different things to different people :(

      1. Pavlos Prince of Greece 11 Mar 2013, 11:18pm

        I totally agree, that H.M. must and can publicly support gay rights in the Commonwealth, if not now, then in the very near future. Its right, good and not so terrible ‘risky’ as maybe she or her personal secretary in the Buckingham Palace are thinking. But maybe its what ‘Royal style’ is: every word counts, every gesture must be ‘calculated’. However, all Hannovers/Coburgs/Windsors, at least they since George V and Queen Mary, have certain talent go with the time, because they has understand: perfect monarchy can exist only as balance between tradition and modernity. All this story with gay rights in the Queens speech remembers me on another speech, this after death of Princess Diana. ‘Not only as the Queen, but also as a grandmother’. Well, another liberal challenge for Elisabeth II, again ?

  5. The Royals are still very uncomfortable with Gays.

    This is not a step forward, but an exposure of the Queens less than gay friendly attitude.

    1. I totally agree – but it goes way beyond her having a less than gay frienedy attitude – believe me we do not exist in the ‘royal court’ we are excentric servants to be sneered at and treated with embarrassement. Why is the Queen so keen on the Commonwealth that subjects us to the most evil hatred and contempt.Perhaps because she honeymooned there. Who knows.
      If the ‘Court’ had a real urge to be the voice of the people they have every opportunity to do that but have never taken it.
      The Queen is a woman trapped at the point of her enthronement – to me she comes across as a rather stunted and spoiled woman living in the past.
      Please remember how upset about the fire at Windsor – it about maintaining the status quo nothing else.

  6. Well, we wouldn’t want to make a fuss about it, would we? Just shut up and forget about it like a good little subject of the British crown.

  7. The queen is a useless parasite, always was always will be.

  8. Even tho she has forefeited the Throne and should have let Charles come on the Throne in the 60s , I actually think that the kween did speak up for African Gays and lesbians & Transpeople!!

  9. What do you expect? She comes from an era where `those sort of people shot themselves’. She won’t lift a finger to undo the terrible wrongs done to gay people nor the terrible wrongs that are currently being done to gays in Africa.

  10. Jessica Naomi 18 Mar 2013, 4:38am

    Where is the outrage that the UK still has colonies/common-wealth. That common wealth is ill gotten gains from the UK illegally invading Africa, enslaving, torturing and murdering people stealing diamonds, gold, and oil, while leaving behind heterosupremacist apartheid laws.

    The reason there is a commonwealth declaration that the queen will sign is to remind those illegally invaded countries that the UK invaders are still in control.

    1. Some of the countries which left the British Empire amicably (were granted independence) wanted to continue previous trade with the UK and other former colonies on previous terms. Others, like Canada and Australia, consider the UK part of their heritage and want to retain some affiliation.

      The Commonwealth is a fairly toothless body which allows both those things. Countries can leave it whenever they like. Being in the Commonwealth doesn’t make you still a colony (Canada, Australia, India would definitely not consider themselves such) and it’s overstating the situation to say the least to claim that the UK is still in control of Commonwealth countries.

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