Peter Tatchell has refused an invitation to be declared a “national treasure” at the Queen’s platinum jubilee because of the monarch’s “neglectful stance towards the LGBT+ community”.
Tatchell, who has been campaigning for gay rights and equality since 1967, had been invited to attend the pageant outside Buckingham Palace as one of more than 100 “national treasures”.
But he declined, stating his lifelong republicanism and also that: “To my knowledge, [the Queen] has never publicly acknowledged that LGBT+ people exist. The words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender have never publicly passed her lips and she has never visited or been a patron of any LGBT+ charity.”
He added: “To be ignored for 70 years feels like a deliberate snub.”
In a letter to the platinum jubilee co-chair, the former publishing titan Nicholas Coleridge, Tatchell also claimed that for many years palace staff were prohibited from bringing same-sex partners to the Christmas ball.
He wrote that “after the 1999 Soho gay pub bombing, which killed three people and injured over 70 others, the Queen did not visit the scene or the victims in hospital”.
The pageant is due to take place on Sunday 5 June and will feature more than 10,000 participants – including members of the royal family – parading through the streets of Westminster and along the Mall to Buckingham Palace.
For the finale, Coleridge invited Tatchell to be among an “ensemble of over one hundred ‘National Treasures’ to join us as we pay tribute to Her Majesty”.
He explained that national treasures “means the celebrated, respected and admired people from many spheres – theatre, film, television, music, literature, sport, the sciences and business”.
In an interview with the Guardian, Tatchell said the pageant was “propaganda for the anti-democratic system of an unelected and unaccountable head of state”.
He added: “To join the celebration of the Queen’s reign would give legitimacy to an elitist and anti-LGBT+ monarch.”
He said he also objected to the royal family because of the way future monarchs are chosen, with “the first-born of the all-white Windsor family” ascending to the throne. “For the foreseeable future no black or brown Briton, no matter how worthy, can be made head of state,” he said.
Tatchell said he planned to spend the jubilee weekend talking about trans rights at the HowTheLightGetsIn festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales.
Buckingham Palace has been contacted for comment.