Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands


The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands is a micronation established as a symbolic political protest by a group of gay rights activists based in southeast Queensland, Australia. Declared in 2004 in response to the Australian government’s refusal to recognise same-sex marriages, it was founded on a group of uninhabited islets on the Great Barrier Reef. It is an expression of queer nationalism.
Founded in June 2004, the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was created by a group of gay protesters against the refusal of the Australian government to acknowledge same-sex marriages. They chartered a ship called the Gayflower and chose the Coral Sea Islands as their location. The main island chosen for their new micronation is called Cato Island. The leader of the protesters, Dale Anderson, was “declared emperor” of the kingdom, becoming Dale Anderson I. Currently, other than the protester inhabitants, the island itself is uninhabited and the kingdom is not recognised by the Australian, or any world, government. After spreading to a number of other Coral Sea Islands nearby to Cato Island, Emperor Dale also appointed a “high court” and “chief justice”.
On Cato Island itself, the settlers found a “disused weather station” and converted it into a post office, where they obtain funds for their kingdom by “selling its unique coins and stamps”.
In May 2010, Dale Anderson was invited to (but did not attend) a conference in Sydney for the leaders of all the micronations in the world, in order to determine ways to obtain recognition as sovereign countries.
Declaration of Independence
Coinciding with the decision to secede from Australian sovereignty, the Kingdom’s founders drafted a Declaration of Independence. The Declaration begins,
“Homosexual people have honestly endeavoured everywhere to merge ourselves in the social life of surrounding communities and to be treated equally. We are not permitted to do so. In vain we are loyal patriots, our loyalty in some places running to extremes; in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our fellow citizens; in vain do we strive to increase the fame of our native land in science and art, or her wealth by trade and commerce. In countries where we have lived for centuries, we are still cried down as strangers…. In the world as it is now and for an indefinite period…. I think we shall not be left in peace.”
Stated to have been inspired by its American counterpart, the Kingdom’s Declaration of Independence also stated: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Economy and tourism
The kingdom issued its first stamps in July 2006 “with the aim of creating a high and distinctive reputation amongst the philatelic fraternity”. The kingdom’s defunct website used to say that tourism, fishing and philatelic sales were its only economic activities. However, swimming, reef walking, lagoon snorkelling, bird-watching, seashell-collecting, and shipwreck-exploring were all government-sanctioned non-economic activities.
In a scheme similar to Israel’s right of return, a person was automatically granted permanent resident status and was immediately eligible for citizenship in the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands simply by being gay or lesbian. There was no visa requirement to visit the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, but there was a requirement that visitors be gay or lesbian.
The kingdom’s national anthem is “I Am What I Am” by Gloria Gaynor.


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