The last time Queen Elizabeth II mentioned LGBTQ rights in a Queen’s Speech was 2003.
On June 21, 2017, the monarch gave the community a long overdue shoutout.
“My ministers will seek to enhance rights and protections in the modern workplace,” the queen read from a document prepared by ministers of Prime Minister Theresa May’s conservative government. “My government will make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation.”
The commitment to end sexual orientation-based workplace harassment was the first explicit call for LGBTQ equality in the address since the queen announced the government’s support for civil union protections over a decade ago.
The speech is delivered annually at the opening of Parliament.
Many cheered the queen for standing up for Britain’s LGBTQ citizens.
Critics, however, noticed that the speech failed acknowledge the “T” in LGBTQ.
“We are very concerned no mention was made of tackling discrimination based on gender identity,” a spokesperson for British LGBTQ rights organization Stonewall said in a statement to PinkNews.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has pledged to amend laws that require citizens to undergo intrusive “medical checks,” before a legal gender change, but mention of legislation was nowhere in the speech prepared for the queen.
The 2010 Equality Act ban contains only limited protection for transgender workers, including banning employers from discriminating against employees who take leave for the purpose of gender reassignment.
While calling out anti-gay workplace discrimination is a good step, the U.K.’s trans citizens shouldn’t have to wait forever to hear vital, validating words of recognition from their queen.
According to comedian Stephen Fry, upon assenting to the country’s 2013 marriage equality legislation, the 91-year-old monarch said:
“Who’d have thought 62 years ago when I came to the throne, I’d be signing something like this? Isn’t it wonderful?'”
If British voters can hold the government to its commitments, perhaps she’ll be celebrating extending fuller equality to people of all genders sooner rather than later.