Prince William became the first member of the British Royal Family to visit an LGBTQ charity when he stepped out to The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) on Wednesday (June 26) after Lady Gaga encouraged him to do so.
“Do you know what? I’ve been giving that some thought recently because a couple of other parents said that to me as well. I think you really don’t start thinking about that until you are a parent, and I think – obviously, absolutely fine by me,” he said.
“The one thing I’d be worried about is how they – particularly the roles my children fill – is how is that going to be interpreted and seen. So Catherine and I have been doing a lot of talking about it to make sure they were prepared.”
AKT was founded in 1989 after a teenager of the same name fell to his death in Manchester while he was being chased because he was gay. He had been homeless at the time after running away from a children’s home where he had been living. The charity runs support centres and helps bring LGBTQ youth off the street, having given 6,075 nights of safe accommodation to people in 2017, according to the Daily Mail. It counts Ian McKellen among its patrons.
William went on to say his children already have a lot of pressure on their shoulders, and his one concern – if one of them ever came out – would be that it would just increase the amount they have to deal with every day. He said he and Duchess Kate have always tried to maintain open communication with their kids and let them know they can talk to them about anything.
“In order to help understand it, you’ve got to talk a lot about stuff and make sure how to support each other and how to go through the process,” he said. “It worries me, not because of them being gay – it worries me as to how everyone else will react and perceive it and then the pressure is then on them.”
William also went on to say he was “appalled” to hear about the attack on Melania Geymonat and her partner, Chris, on a London bus earlier this month. The two were physically assaulted and robbed after a group of men harassed them.
This isn’t the first time William has spoken out in support of LGBTQ issues. In 2017, he was named Straight Ally of the Year at the British LGBT Awards because of his efforts to stop bullying faced by LGBTQ youth.
“Nobody should be bullied for their sexuality or for any other reason,” he said in a video accepting the award. “It’s so important to be proud of the person you are.”
In 2016, William also became the first British royal to appear on the cover of an LGBTQ magazine after Attitude asked him to speak about bullying and how it affects LGBTQ people’s mental health.
William has been a passionate advocate for mental health awareness in recent years, having formed the Heads Together initiative with Prince Harry and Duchess Kate in 2017. That’s how he and Lady Gaga met, too. The pop star and the Duke of Cambridge first became acquainted in 2017, after William read an open letter she had written about her post-traumatic stress disorder. That led to them working together on Heads Together.
“They’ve kept in touch,” a source told the Daily Mail ahead of William’s engagement. “Lady Gaga encouraged him to get involved with AKT, as she had previously done work with them. The stories she shared with him inspired him to lend a hand.”
Tim Sigsworth, AKT’s CEO, said he was impressed with what Prince William had to say and thought the Duke of Cambridge’s comments would make a “massive difference.”
“I was impressed by his level of knowledge already, but his empathy and appreciation of the struggles and challenges faced by LGBT people was incredible to me,” Tom said, according to Express.
“And just his willingness to learn from the young people, his willingness to challenge his own perceptions and his willingness to come out in support of LGBT people in such a personal way as to refer to his children, that will make a massive difference.
“I was personally rejected by my mum, and the idea that the future monarch is saying they would support their children if they came out as LGBT is a message to the whole of society really, a message that we need to support and that we need to empower LGBT people.”