Peter G Tatchell
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Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom and global justice since 1967.
He is a member of the queer human rights group OutRage!, and the left-wing of the Green Party. Peter is also the Green Party’s spokesperson on human rights.
Peter is Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, which campaigns for human rights in Britain and internationally.

A summary of his motives, morality and methods is here:

http://www.petertatchell.net/biography/motives.htm
Peter’s key political inspirations are Mahatma Gandhi, Sylvia Pankurst, Martin Luther King and, to some extent, Malcolm X and Rosa Luxemburg. He has adapted many of their methods to his contemporary non-violent struggle for human rights – and invented a few of his own.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1952, Peter began campaigning for human rights in 1967, aged 15. His first campaign was against the death penalty, followed by campaigns in support of Aboriginal rights and in opposition to conscription and the Australian and US war against the people of Vietnam.

In 1969, on realising that he was gay, the struggle for queer freedom became an increasing focus of his activism.
After moving to London in 1971, he became a leading activist in the Gay Liberation Front (GLF); organising sit-ins at pubs that refused to serve “poofs”, and protests against police harassment and the medical classification of homosexuality as an illness.
He famously disrupted Prof Hans Eysenck’s 1972 lecture which advocated electric shock aversion therapy to “cure” homosexuality.

The following year, in East Berlin, he was arrested and interrogated by the secret police - the Stasi - after staging the first ever gay rights protest in a communist country.
Throughout much of the 1970s, and beyond, he was active in anti-imperialist solidarity campaigns, supporting the national liberation struggles of the peoples of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Oman, Palestine, Western Sahara, East Timor and West Papua.
He also campaigned against the dictatorships in Franco’s Spain, Caetano’s Portugal, the Colonel’s Greece, Marcos’s Philippines, Suharto’s Indonesia, Pinochet’s Chile, Somoza’s Nicaragua, Saddam’s Iraq, the Shah’s and Khomeini’s Iran, and Brezhnev’s Soviet Union and its satellite regimes in Eastern Europe and the Baltics.
Peter stood as the Labour candidate in the 1983 Bermondsey by-election, but was defeated in the most violent and homophobic election in modern British history.
In the mid-1980s, he, Bruce Kent and others risked arrest on charges of sedition and incitement to mutiny by publicly urging British military personnel to refuse to obey orders to train, prepare and use nuclear weapons.

In early 1987, Tatchell launched the world's first organisation dedicated to
defending the human rights of people with HIV, the UK AIDS Vigil Organisation. In 1988, the UKAVO persuaded the World Health Minister's Summit on AIDS to issue a declaration opposing government repression and discrimination against people with HIV.

An anti-apartheid activist since his teens in the late 1960s, his lobbying of Thabo Mbeki and the ANC in 1987 contributed to it renouncing homophobia and making its first public commitment to lesbian and gay human rights. Later, together with others, he helped persuade the ANC to include a ban on anti-gay discrimination in the post-apartheid constitution - which became the first constitution in the world to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
In the late 1980s, Peter co-organised the Green and Socialist Conferences, which bought together reds and greens and sought to forge a new political alliance for social justice and ecological sustainability. During the same period, he was warning of the dangers of climate change, resource depletion and species extinction.
After playing a prominent role in the London chapter of the AIDS activist group ACT UP, in 1990 he and 30 other people jointly founded the radical queer human rights direct action movement OutRage!.

Most notoriously, in 1994 Peter Tatchell and OutRage! outed 10 Church of England Bishops and called on them to "tell the truth" about their sexuality - accusing them of hypocrisy and homophobia for publicly colluding with anti-gay policies, despite their own homosexuality. This led to him being denounced in parliament and the press as a "homosexual terrorist" and "public enemy number one".

In the same year, he and five other members of OutRage! picketed an Islamist mass rally at Wembley Arena, organised by the fundamentalist group, Hizb-ut Tahrir. They were protesting against the group’s unlawful public exhortations to kill gay people, unchaste women and Muslims who turn away from their faith. Despite the Islamists openly threatening to murder him, the police arrested Tatchell. He was convicted but the conviction was overturned on appeal
Two years later, in 1996, together with OutRage!, he launched his “Consent at 14” campaign, which urged a reduction in the age of consent to 14 for both gay and straight sex; arguing that consent at 16 was unrealistic and unfair because it criminalised the many young people who have sexual contact and experience before the age of 16. He suggested that the best way to protect young people is earlier, more frank sex and relationship education, to empower them with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make wise, responsible choices and to report unwanted sexual advances and abusers.
Peter and his OutRage! comrades briefly and peacefully interrupted the Archbishop of Canterbury's 1998 Easter Sermon in Canterbury Cathedral; condemning Dr Carey's advocacy of discrimination against lesbians and gay men. He was arrested and convicted under the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860 (formerly part of the Brawling Act 1551).

This is Peter’s only conviction in 40 years of nearly 3,000 direct action and civil disobedience protests.
The following year, 1999, in central London, he and three OutRage! colleagues ambushed the motorcade of the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, and made a citizen's arrest of the President on charges of torture and other human rights abuses. When he summonsed the police, they were arrested, while Mugabe was given a police escort to go Christmas shopping at Harrods. All charges against Peter and his colleagues were later dropped.

In 2000, he stood unsuccessfully as an independent Green Left candidate for the London Assembly.
He attempted another citizen's arrest of President Mugabe in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel in Brussels in March 2001, which resulted in him being beaten unconscious by Mugabe's bodyguards.

In 2002, Peter bought an unsuccessful legal action in the British courts for the arrest of the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, on charges of war crimes in Vietnam and Cambodia during the 1970s.

The same year, he ambushed Mike Tyson outside his gym, just a few days before his world title fight against Lennox Lewis in Memphis, USA. Challenging Tyson over his homophobic slurs against Lewis, Tatchell persuaded Tyson to make a public statement insisting that he was not homophobic and to declare: “I oppose all discrimination against gay people.”
In early March 2003, Tatchell forced Prime Minister Tony Blair’s motorcade to halt in Piccadilly, in a protest against the impending war in Iraq. He ran out into the road and held up a placard opposing invasion and urging instead aid to the Iraqi people to help them topple Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Blair’s car screeched to a standstill just six inches from Tatchell’s legs. Although arrested and detained in Vine Street police station, no charges were pressed.

He participated in the attempted Moscow Gay Pride marches in 2007, in solidarity with Russian lesbian and gay rights campaigners. Together with others, he was beaten up by neo-Nazis, ultra-nationalists and fundamentalist Christians; suffering some brain and eye damage. The police arrested him, while his attackers were allowed to go free.

Although great progress has been made in repealing anti-gay laws in the UK, he is still campaigning to complete the unfinished battle for queer equality: for an end to the ban on same-sex marriage, action against homophobic hate crimes and bullying in schools, and the enforcement of the laws against inciting homophobia violence.
He is also supporting LGBT activists in many of the more than 70 countries that still totally outlaw lesbian and gay relationships, and which punish same-sexers with maximum penalties including flogging, life imprisonment and execution. This solidarity work has included support for queer activists in South Africa, Nepal, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Uganda, Malawi, Russia and Zimbabwe.
More than 40 years after first beginning his human rights campaigns, Peter Tatchell continues to campaign for the independence of the Western Sahara, Palestine, Baluchistan, and West Papua. He supports the struggles for democracy and human rights in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Burma, Columbia, Somaliland, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

As well as opposing the war in Iraq and the post-war occupation, he has spoken out against US threats to attack Iran.

A high-profile campaigner in British politics for three decades, he opposes ID cards, nuclear weapons and energy, the privatisation of public services and the erosion of civil liberties by draconian anti-terror laws.

Believing that climate chaos is the biggest threat faced by humanity, he proposes a switch to renewable energy and, in particular, a coordinated international scientific endeavour to develop safe, clean, sustainable fuels for cars and planes.
He supports a fairer proportional voting system; and an elected head of state and upper house; as well as a written constitution and a bill of rights. An opponent of animal-based medical research, on both scientific and humanitarian grounds, he urges major funding for an EU-wide effort to devise more reliable, effective and cruelty-free research technologies.

A radical anti-materialist and critic of the celebrity-obsessed consumer society, he advocates quality – not quantity – of life; arguing that ever-increasing personal income and material wealth is not the key to human happiness. A strong proponent of economic democracy, he believes in the redistribution of economic power and wealth, in order to make Britain (and the world) a more economically democratic, participatory, inclusive, transparent, just and compassionate society.

From the late 1970s onwards, he called for a single, comprehensive, all-inclusive Equal Rights Act to harmonise the uneven patchwork of equality legislation, to ensure equal treatment and non-discrimination for everyone.

Peter has proposed an internationally-binding UN Human Rights Convention enforceable through both national courts and the International Criminal Court; a permanent rapid-reaction UN peace-keeping force with the authority to intervene to stop genocide and war crimes; and a global agreement to cut military spending by 10 percent to fund the eradication of hunger, disease, illiteracy, unemployment and homelessness in the developing world.

For many years, Peter Tatchell wrote regular columns for The Guardian’s Comment is Free website. Read his archived articles here:

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/peter_tatchell/

In 2007, he hosted a weekly online TV current affairs programme, Talking With Tatchell, which has since been archived at: http://www.veoh.com/search/videos/q/tatchell
He is the author of over 3,000 published articles and six books, including The Battle for Bermondsey (Heretic Books/GMP), Democratic Defence – A Non-Nuclear Alternative (Heretic Books/GMP) and We Don't Want To March Straight - Masculinity, Queers & The Military (Cassell).

Peter was voted the sixth greatest "Hero of our Time" by readers of the New Statesman in 2006, and in the same year The Independent listed him as one of top 50 "Good" people in Britain.



In 2009, he won Campaigner of the Year at the Observer Ethical Awards.

For information about Peter’s human rights campaigns: www.petertatchell.net

To make a donation: http://www.petertatchell.net/donate.htm
Peter Tatchell Foundation: http://www.petertatchellfoundation.org/

Entries by Peter G Tatchell

Valery Gergiev Faces the Music Over Support for Russian Invasion of Ukraine

(8) Comments | Posted 11 April 2014 | (08:09)

Russian conductor Valery Gergiev was the focus of a noisy protest last night at the Barbican concert hall in London. Ukrainian campaigners and allies accused the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) of "supporting President Putin's tyranny, the invasion of Ukraine and the persecution of gay Russians."
...

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David Cameron Must Deliver Promised Ban on Wild Animals in Circuses

(12) Comments | Posted 9 April 2014 | (00:00)

Today I'm delivering a letter to David Cameron.

Together with over 70 politicians and celebrities, I am urging him to ban wild animals in circuses. Eddie Izzard, Julian Clary, Moby, Michaela Strachan and Brian Blessed are among the signatories. So, too, are famous alumni of David Cameron's old...

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Gay Marriage Ban Imposed Only in 1971 - Now It's History!

(23) Comments | Posted 27 March 2014 | (23:00)

Rejoice! The ban on same-sex marriage in England and Wales is being finally lifted after a campaign for its repeal that lasted 43 years. The ban was imposed for the first time in 1971. Previously, there was no legal prohibition on lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) couples getting married....

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Up Against the Stonewall on Equal Marriage

(15) Comments | Posted 17 March 2014 | (23:00)

Former Stonewall chief Ben Summerskill has made astonishing allegations against the Liberal Democrats, claiming they never sincerely supported same-sex marriage. He suggested they acted with "cynical and opportunistic" motives.

This is outrageous. I don't support the Lib Dems, but they backed equal marriage at a...

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Derek Jarman 20 Years On: Artist and Activist, Pioneer and Rebel

(5) Comments | Posted 19 February 2014 | (07:51)

On this day, 20 years ago, the film-maker, painter, sculptor, gardener, author and queer rights activist Derek Jarman died of HIV. One of Britain's leading post-1945 avant garde artists, he is best remembered for his dazzling array of ground-breaking films:
Sebastiane (1976), Jubilee (1977), Caravaggio (1986), The Last of...

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If Homophobia Was a Winter Olympic Sport, Russia Would Be a Gold Medal Contender

(41) Comments | Posted 4 February 2014 | (07:05)

This Friday, the Winter Olympics open in the Russian resort of Sochi amid great controversy over the Putin regime's homophobic policies, which clearly violate the anti-discrimination Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter.

For me, queer freedom knows no borders. Over the last decade or so, amazing positive gains have...

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The New Nigerian Anti-Gay Law Is One of the World's Harshest

(1) Comments | Posted 14 January 2014 | (13:15)

It has just emerged that last week, in a secret decision made without any public announcement, President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria signed into law one of the world's most draconian anti-gay statutes.

It seems he did not want foreign aid donors and investors - or...

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New Asbo-style Bill Menaces Free Expression

(13) Comments | Posted 8 January 2014 | (07:30)

Last year, the government was outvoted in parliament. Against minister's wishes, MPs repealed the section of the Public Order Act 1986 that outlawed "insults"; deeming it to be too sweeping and a threat to freedom of expression.

This year, in apparent revenge, the government has, in effect,...

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Alan Turing: Was He Murdered By the Security Services?

(17) Comments | Posted 24 December 2013 | (23:00)

I have this week written to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, urging a new inquiry into the death of the scientist Alan Turing, who has been finally granted a royal pardon for his 1952 conviction for homosexual relations.

Turing is generally believed to have been committed suicide...

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The Current Age of Consent of 16 Doesn't Protect Young People, It Criminalises Them

(71) Comments | Posted 20 November 2013 | (23:00)

Attempts by one of Britain's leading public health experts, Professor John Ashton, to generate a much need debate about lowering the age of consent have been roundly rebuffed. The government dismissed the idea out of hand, without any consideration or justification. Other ill-informed critics unfairly accused him of opening the...

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Commonwealth Colludes With Anti-Gay Persecution

(184) Comments | Posted 14 November 2013 | (23:00)

Commonwealth leaders from around the world meet in Sri Lanka on Friday. Yet again they plan to ignore the criminalisation of lesbian and gay people in 80% of Commonwealth member states. They are refusing to even discuss the current homophobic persecution in Ghana, Cameroon, Zambia, Uganda and Nigeria.

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G20 Global Speak Out: Love Russia, Hate Homophobia

(103) Comments | Posted 3 September 2013 | (00:00)

G20 world leaders are being pressured to raise violations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Russia when they meet in St Petersburg this Thursday. They are being targeted by a Global Speak Out two days beforehand, on Tuesday 3 September. It is being coordinated by the international...

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Manning v Seymour Hersh and Lt William Calley

(269) Comments | Posted 22 August 2013 | (13:07)

NOTE: This article was written and scheduled before Manning announced that she was planning gender reassignment, wanted to live as a woman and be known as Chelsea

Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years jail for releasing to Wikileaks classified documents that exposed US war crimes, lies...

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Abu Qatada: Even Terror Suspects Have Human Rights

(149) Comments | Posted 12 July 2013 | (00:00)

The whole point about the principle of universal human rights is that they apply to everyone - even to people that many of us find objectionable, such as the alleged terrorist orchestrator Abu Qatada.

Home secretary Theresa May is wrong to promise to reduce the appeals procedure...

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Vladimir Putin, The Czar of Homophobia

(462) Comments | Posted 4 July 2013 | (00:00)

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has signed into law the new homophobic Bill that criminalises gay freedom of expression. The adoption of children by foreign same-sex couples has also been banned and gay organisations that receive financial donations from overseas are being fined as 'foreign agents'. These are the latest examples...

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Defend the Right to Privacy, Defend Edward Snowden

(284) Comments | Posted 26 June 2013 | (00:00)

To some people, US whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor but to me he is a human rights hero. At great personal risk, motivated by idealism and democratic values, he has exposed the mass invasion of privacy worldwide by US and UK spy agencies.

These spy operations...

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Iran's Unfree Elections: Banned Candidates and 2,600 Political Prisoners

(24) Comments | Posted 14 June 2013 | (09:31)

Tehran's repression has intensified in the run up to today's 14 June presidential poll, with escalating pre-emptive arrests of opposition activists. The Islamist regime is terrified of a repeat of the 'people power' protests that threatened the dictatorship in 2009.

Two candidates from the 2009 election for...

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Russian Anti-Gay Law Violates the Constitution and European Human Rights Law

(103) Comments | Posted 13 June 2013 | (00:00)

The Russian parliament has unanimously passed a harsh new anti-gay law that criminalises LGBT freedom of expression, under the guise of suppressing the spread of 'propaganda' to minors in support of "non-traditional sexual relations".

It is one of the most draconian laws...

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Britain Has a Duty to Compensate All Victims of Colonial Repression

(100) Comments | Posted 7 June 2013 | (11:51)

The UK government's expression of regret and its agreement to pay compensation to Kenyan torture victims must now lead to similar redress for the victims of repression in other colonial era domains: Malaya, Aden, Cyprus and the north of Ireland.

This repression included detention without...

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Will the House of Lords Vote for Marriage Equality?

(106) Comments | Posted 3 June 2013 | (14:39)

The rally outside the House of Lords, to coincide with the debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, is the latest big lobby in support of marriage equality.

It is the continuation of a 21-year-long campaign that began way back on 1992 when the LGBT rights group...

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