Is Prince Charles the ‘anti-gay president’?

Editor’s note: This is the second of two pieces from feminist blogger AnaMaria Acierto of Mother Justice examining the difference in approach between Prince Charles and his son, Prince William.

After it was first reported last Thursday that Prince Charles had made controversial remarks at a political dinner in 2015 about home-schooling, social media immediately started dissecting the comments as a sign of concern about whether the heir to the throne is anti-LGBT. The matter of whether Charles’s political views inhibit his ability to perform his responsibilities as king, as well as whether he has used his power to socially promote LGBT people, have been debated ad nauseam. People often suggest that as a non-royal to be the king of England, Charles must be quite conservative in his approach to social issues. In fact, those in the LGBTQ community and others who are not the royal family have found instances over the years in which the heir to the throne has promoted different issues than many royal supporters would like. For instance, one of Charles’s most public initiatives as head of the Commonwealth is to promote LGBT rights — an effort not supported by the British government and probably not by many members of his family, either. So what’s my problem? Why does a conversation about identity and politics have to be politicized?

Part of the problem is that the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity is so intrinsically linked to race and class that talking about them separately is problematic. For example, while all countries in the Western Hemisphere and a few in Africa are decriminalizing same-sex sexual acts (and Portugal recently legalized gay marriage), homosexuality in the U.S. and many other Western countries remains illegal. Almost all Muslim countries, at least those governed by Sunni Islam, ban sex outside of marriage. The vilification of any group of people for their sex behaviors seems to breed violence against them. Nor is homoeroticism necessarily about the desire to pursue emotional and physical intimacy with another man, but about the physical desire to touch an ethnic minority — who are often also perceived as sexually promiscuous — in order to harass them. When the Trump administration suspended the Obama-era guidelines protecting transgendered students from discrimination, they did so in part because they were considered to have accommodated “radical transgender ideology” and encouraged students to “identify freely” by using the bathroom of their choice, as opposed to their biological sex. Those same concerns and animus are well-documented in Europe, where family values and conservative policies clash with transgender identity and rights for LGBT people.

Feminism, like other forms of feminism, often tends to try to combine politics and identity in ways that advocates from the two realms do not see eye to eye on. Working-class women are often treated as objects in movies and as sexual inferiors in their own homes. This can cause some working-class women to see themselves as less than what they really are. That this feeling can be exacerbated if a women’s own mother or sister is unhappy with her is not news. In fact, not long after this recent scandal surfaced, Prince Harry, the son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, had just married into the House of Windsor as wife of Meghan Markle.

Read the full story on Mother Justice.


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