The Queen of England has for the first time shown her support for an LGBT charity, taking her a step further in publicly acknowledging the gay and lesbian community.
Queen Elizabeth II was among a host of public figures to congratulate the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard on its 40th birthday.
The 87-year-old monarch said in her message: “Best wishes and congratulations to all concerned on this most special anniversary.”
Prime Minister David Cameron also wished the charity the best, commenting that “Since 1974 there has been real progress towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Voluntary organisations, such as the Switchboard, have made a vital contribution to that progress.”
One Direction singer Harry Styles filmed a brief video in which he said: “Happy birthday to the switchboard for celebrating forty years.”
Last year, the Queen was applauded for signing a Commonwealth charter opposing discrimination. While it did not specifically mention sexual orientation discrimination, the Queen’s comment that “we place special emphasis on including everyone” was widely believed to have referred to LGBT people.
British LGBT rights activist Peter Tatchell, however, was not impressed by her subtlety. He pointed out that “since she became Queen in 1952, the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ have never publicly passed her lips,” which remains the case today.
The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard has provided support and information to an estimated 3 million people since its founding. The service answers around 15,000 calls every year and reaches around 100,000 people through it resources website.