U.K. Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Celebrate ALL Queens’ Jubilee
While thousands of people congregated in front of Buckingham Palace this week to celebrate the Queen's 60 years of rule, a smaller and just as flashy get-together took place in Edinburgh, Scotland: a chapter of the Sister and Brothers of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence held a mock diamond jubilee to celebrate 60 years of gay liberation, the British newspaper the Guardianreported.
Members of the organization described their even as "one bunch of proud old queens saluting another."
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SPI) is a charitable organization that raises money for AIDS and LGBT-related causes by holding protests, events and street performances. Members are known for using drag and Catholic imagery to call attention to their cause.
The newspaper points out that the members of Edinburgh's SPI had their faces painted with union flags and wore Egyptian decorations, whistles and costume jewelry. The group gathered with friends for a picnic where they ate homemade cake and crudités and honored Quentin Crisp -- an English writer who was a gay icon in the '70s after he published his memoir, "The Naked Civil Servant."
Brother Bimbo del Doppio Senso, a longtime member of the SPI's Edinburgh chapter, said she is a "reluctant royalist" because she lives "in fear of a President Thatcher, and a President Blair wouldn't be much better," she told the Guardian.
She also told the newspaper that the association between their cause and the jubilee was "obvious."
"When Princess Diana went and held the hand of an Aids patient, for all her faults and privileges, the idea Aids could be passed on just by touching was just gone," Doppio Senso told the newspaper.
But Queen Elizabeth II has never taken a stand on gay rights, unlike the Queen Mother who was known for having a gay staff. She "was what we'd describe as a notorious fag hag. She had a lot of gay staff and was known to have had lots of gay friends," Doppio Senso said. The Queen Mother even famously yelled to gay her staff: "When one of you young queens has finished, can you bring this old queen a drink?"
Not all members of the SPI feel the same about the royal family, however. Ringa Fyre, 22, said that he thinks the royal family is wonderful.
"I think they symbolize and they give a lot more hope. There's a lot of pride which comes from it," he said. "We're giving respect to our own past; things have improved and we're celebrating."
Doppio Senso's feelings towards the Queen may mirror those of many citizens of Scotland. "There were only about 100 street closures for parties in Scotland, against 9,5000 in England," the article says in regards to the Queen's jubilee. In addition, an opinion survey found that only 41 percent of Scots were proud of the Queen while 80 percent of English voters said they were proud of her.
The Queen's silence on LGBT rights has upset a number of gay activists as well, including Peter Tatchell.
"While I doubt that Elizabeth II is a raging homophobe, she certainly doesn't appear to be gay-friendly," he said in a statement. "Not once in her 60-year reign has she publicly acknowledged the existence of the LGBT community - or gay members of her own royal family. The Queen has turned her back on queens."