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Peter Tatchell

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Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell
Peter Tatchell, 25 March 2005
Personal details
Born Peter Gary Tatchell
(1952-01-25) 25 January 1952
Melbourne, Australia
  • Australian (1952-1989)[1]
  • British (1989-present)[2]
Political party Green Party of England and Wales
Other political
Labour Party
Alma mater University of North London
  • Peter Tatchell Foundation
  • Official website
  • Official twitter

Peter Gary Tatchell (born 25 January 1952) is an Australian-born British human rights campaigner best known for his work with LGBT social movements.

Tatchell was selected as Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey in 1981. He was then denounced by party leader Michael Foot for supporting extra-parliamentary action against the Thatcher government.[3][4] Labour subsequently allowed him to stand in the Bermondsey by-election in February 1983. In the 1990s he campaigned for LGBT rights through the direct action group OutRage!, which he co-founded. He has worked on various campaigns, such as Stop Murder Music against music lyrics allegedly inciting violence against LGBT people and writes and broadcasts on various human rights and social justice issues. He attempted a citizen's arrest of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in 1999 and again in 2001.

In April 2004, he joined the Green Party of England and Wales and in 2007 was selected as prospective parliamentary candidate in the constituency of Oxford East,[5][6][7] but in December 2009 announced he was standing down due to brain damage he says was caused by a bus accident as well as damage inflicted by Mugabe's bodyguards when Tatchell tried to arrest him in 2001, and by neo-Nazis in Moscow while campaigning for gay rights.[8][9]


  • Personal life 1
    • Early campaigns 1.1
    • Gay Liberation Front 1.2
    • Graduation 1.3
  • Political activity 2
    • Labour candidate for Bermondsey 2.1
    • Bermondsey by-election 2.2
    • Democratic Defence 2.3
    • Green issues 2.4
    • Iraq War 2.5
    • Balochistan 2.6
    • Activities in Moscow 2.7
  • Campaigns 3
    • OutRage! 3.1
    • Age of consent laws 3.2
    • Civil partnerships 3.3
    • Zimbabwe 3.4
    • Stop Murder Music campaign 3.5
    • Imperialism 3.6
    • South Africa 3.7
    • National Front and British National Party 3.8
    • Gaza and the West Bank 3.9
    • 2008 Olympics 3.10
    • Anglican and Catholic churches 3.11
    • Islam 3.12
      • Yusuf al-Qaradawi 3.12.1
      • Muslims and gay rights 3.12.2
      • Adam Yosef 3.12.3
    • Secondary issues 3.13
      • Environmental issues 3.13.1
      • Animal rights 3.13.2
      • Cornwall 3.13.3
  • Columnist and other pursuits 4
  • Awards 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • See also 7
  • Footnotes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Personal life

Tatchell was born in Melbourne, Australia. His father was a lathe operator and his mother worked in a biscuit factory. His parents divorced when he was four and his mother remarried soon afterwards.[10] Because the family finances were strained by medical bills, he had to leave school at 16 in 1968. He started work as a sign-writer and window-dresser in department stores. Tatchell claims to have incorporated the theatricality of these displays into his activism.[11] Raised as a Christian, Tatchell says that he "ditched [his] faith a long time ago" and is an atheist.[12] It is widely reported that Tatchell is a vegan, however Tatchell himself only states that he eats no meat, but does eat eggs, cheese,[13] and, according to Richard Fairbrass, wild salmon,[14] meaning Tatchell is in fact a pescatarian.

He became interested in outdoor adventurous activities such as surfing and mountain climbing. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions about how insurance and legal risks were making British teachers reluctant to take pupils on outdoor adventures, he said outdoor activities helped him develop the courage to take political risks in adult life.

Early campaigns

His political activity began at Mount Waverley Secondary College, where in 1967 he launched campaigns in support of Australia's Aboriginal people. Tatchell was elected secretary of the school's Student Representative Council. In his final year in 1968, as school captain, took the lead in setting up a scholarship scheme for Aborigines and led a campaign for Aboriginal land rights. These activities led the headmaster to claim he had been manipulated by communists.[15]

In 2004 he proposed the renaming of Australian capital cities with their Aborigine place names. He joined the Australian campaign against the death penalty. Prompted by the impending hanging of Ronald Ryan in 1967, Tatchell went round his local area painting slogans against the hanging, a fact he did not reveal until nearly 30 years later.[16] Ryan was accused of killing a prison warder while escaping from Pentridge Prison. Tatchell claimed, unsuccessfully, that the trajectory of the bullet through the warder's body probably made it impossible that Ryan could have fired the fatal shot.

In 1968 Tatchell began campaigning against the United States' and Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, in his view a war of aggression in support of a "brutal and corrupt dictatorship" responsible for torture and executions. The Victorian state government and Melbourne city council attempted to suppress the anti-Vietnam War campaign by banning street leafleting and taking police action against anti-war demonstrations.[17]

Gay Liberation Front

Original UK Gay Liberation Front activists, including Bette Bourne (on the left), at LSE 40th anniversary celebration, Tatchell is fourth from the left.

To avoid Gay Pride march in 1972.[19]

In 1973 he attended the 10th World Youth Festival in East Berlin on GLF's behalf. His actions triggered opposition within and between different groups of national delegates including the Communist Party of Great Britain and National Union of Students. He was banned from conferences, had his leaflets confiscated and burned, interrogated by the secret police (the Stasi) and was threatened and assaulted by other delegates, mostly communists. Tatchell later claimed that this was the first time gay liberation politics were publicly disseminated and discussed in a communist country, although he noted that, in terms of decriminalisation and the age of consent, gay men had greater rights in East Germany at the time than in Britain and much of the West.[20][21]

Describing his time in the Gay Liberation Front, he wrote in The Guardian that:


After taking A levels at evening classes, he attended the Polytechnic of North London (now the London Metropolitan University) (PNL), where he obtained a 2:1 BSc (Hons) in sociology.

At PNL he was a member of the National Union of Students Gay Rights Campaign. On graduating he became a freelance journalist specialising in foreign stories, during which he publicised the Indonesian annexation of West Papua and child labour on British-owned tea farms in Malawi.[23]

Political activity

Peter Tatchell at the Cowley Road Carnival, Oxford, July 2007.

Tatchell popularised the phrase "sexual apartheid" to describe the separate laws that long existed for gays and heterosexuals.[24][25]

He opposed the appointment of Ruth Kelly as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in 2006, as Kelly had not supported equal treatment of lesbians and gay men in any parliamentary votes. Tatchell said "her appointment suggests the government does not take lesbian and gay rights seriously", adding "Tony Blair would never appoint someone to a race-equality post who had a lukewarm record of opposing racism".[26]

Labour candidate for Bermondsey

In 1978 Tatchell joined the Labour Party and moved to a council flat in Bermondsey, south-east London.

From October 1979, he became a leading member in a group of left-wingers planning to depose the right-wing caucus of Southwark councillors that controlled the Bermondsey Constituency Labour Party (CLP). At CLP's AGM in February 1980, the left group won control and Tatchell was elected Secretary.

When the sitting Labour MP, Bob Mellish, announced his retirement in 1981, Tatchell was selected as his successor. The selection was a surprise, as Arthur Latham, a former MP and former Chairman of the Tribune Group, was the favourite. Later the Militant group was cited as the reason for Tatchell's selection, but he has pointed out that at that time it had only a handful of members in the constituency, he had never been a member and Militant did not support his selection. Tatchell ascribed his selection to the support of the "older, 'born and bred' working class; the younger professional and intellectual members swung behind Latham".[27]

Tatchell was then denounced by party leader Michael Foot for supporting extra-parliamentary action against the Thatcher government;[3][28] according to Tony Benn, Foot lied about Tatchell's alleged extremism in order to allow the Social Democratic Party to join, and Neil Kinnock stated that the whole affair was a matter of political judgement, asking "... the question is: are we talking of extra-parliamentary or anti-parliamentary behaviour?"[29] The fact that Tatchell was a gay man was also considered a factor as to why Tatchell should not be supported.[29]

Labour subsequently allowed him to stand in the Bermondsey by-election, in February 1983.

Bermondsey by-election

In an article for a left-wing magazine, Tatchell urged the Labour Party to support direct action campaigning to challenge the Margaret Thatcher-led Tory government.[30] Social Democratic Party MP James Wellbeloved, arguing the article was anti-Parliamentary, quoted it at Prime Minister's Questions in December 1981 to embarrass Labour leader Michael Foot. Unexpectedly, Foot denounced Tatchell, stating that he would not be endorsed as a candidate. Foot narrowly won a vote at the Labour Party National Executive Committee to deny Tatchell's endorsement. However, the Bermondsey Labour Party continued to support him and he worked on convincing Foot that his article was in the tradition of the Chartists and the Suffragettes and had been misinterpreted by his political opponents. It was eventually agreed that when the selection was rerun, Tatchell would be eligible, and he duly won. When Mellish resigned from Parliament and triggered a by-election, Tatchell's candidacy was endorsed.

The divisions in the Labour Party, which Tatchell's far left views had exposed, and his homosexuality (which he refused to confirm or deny in media appearances), were used against him, in an election campaign widely regarded as one of the dirtiest and most violent in modern British history. Tatchell was assaulted in the street, had his flat attacked, and had a death threat and a live bullet put through his letterbox in the night. Although the Bermondsey seat had long been a Labour stronghold, the Liberal candidate, Simon Hughes, won the election. During the campaign, allegations were made that some Liberal canvassers stirred up xenophobia and homophobia on the doorsteps, playing up the fact that Tatchell was born in Australia and making an issue of his homosexuality. Members of the Liberal Gay Action Group campaigned wearing lapel badges emblazoned with the words, "I've been kissed by Peter Tatchell" as a protest against the perception that he was attempting to hide his sexuality (see Bermondsey by-election, 1983). One of Hughes' campaign leaflets was condemned for claiming the election was "a straight choice" between Liberal and Labour,[31] but this phrase is regularly used by many parties within the UK, and Hughes has since apologised for what may have been perceived as an inadvertent slur. Hughes later came out as bisexual in 2006.[32]

In the mid- and late 1980s, Tatchell wrote books including The Battle for Bermondsey (the story of the by-election), Democratic Defence and a ground-breaking guide to surviving with HIV and AIDS, AIDS: A Guide to Survival. His book Europe in the Pink described the varying laws on homosexuality through the European Union. In 1990 Tatchell sought (unsuccessfully) the Labour nomination for Hampstead and Highgate, but was defeated by actress Glenda Jackson.

Democratic Defence

Tatchell's book Democratic Defence was published in 1985. This outlined how defence of the United Kingdom might be assured after the nuclear disarmament that he and the Labour Party were then committed to. (Labour has since abandoned this policy).[33] Tatchell argued that the British military was still organised on an imperialist strategy of basing troops abroad rather than on a strategy of defending the UK itself against foreign attacks.[34] Citing the problems that the British army was facing in Northern Ireland, he argued that their long-established methods were ineffective against guerilla warfare.[35] He argued for a range of methods to liberalise the regime in the armed forces so that troops could be allowed to join trade unions and political parties,[36] and to end [what he referred to as] the "bull" of "petty regulations" and harsh punishments for violating them.[37] He upheld the British Home Guard as an example of a citizens' army that had been effective in fighting Nazi Germany,[38] and also upheld the armed forces of Sweden, Switzerland and Yugoslavia as effective in deterring foreign aggression.[39]

Tatchell argued for withdrawal from

  • Official website
  • online TV interviewsTalking With TatchellArchived collection of his on
  • .The Third EstateInterview with
  • Tatchell, Peter. "Comment is free: Peter Tatchell". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2008. 
  • Archived WAF statement on Tatchell
  • Catalogue of the Tatchell papers held at LSE Archives

External links

  • Power, Lisa (1995). No Bath But Plenty of Bubbles: An Oral History Of The Gay Liberation Front 1970-7. Cassell.  
  • Lucas, Ian (1998). OutRage!: an oral history. London: Cassell.  
  • Walter, Aubrey (1980). Come together: the years of  


  1. ^ Peter Tatchell: Appeal against Visa Refusal>
  2. ^ Peter Tatchell: Appeal against Visa Refusal>
  3. ^ a b "What's Left After Same-Sex Marriage? The Unfinished Battle for LGBT Equality". The York Union. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Crisis Years, The Thatcher (20 April 2015). "Peter Tatchell, Michael Foot and Margaret Thatcher". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Tatchell to stand for Green Party". BBC News. 24 April 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2008. 
  6. ^ Duff, Oliver (17 April 2007). "Out now: Margaret's myopic view of the world".  
  7. ^ Tatchell, Peter (5 May 2004). "Why I joined the Greens". Red Pepper. Retrieved 5 February 2008. 
  8. ^ Day, Elizabeth (20 December 2009). "How constant beatings have caught up with campaigner Peter Tatchell". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Peter Tatchell stands down as parliamentary candidate". BBC News. 16 December 2009. 
  10. ^ Day, Elizabeth (20 December 2009). "How constant beatings have caught up with campaigner Peter Tatchell". The Observer (London). Retrieved 20 December 2009. 
  11. ^ "Is This Your Life?" television programme, Channel 4, 5 August 1995.
  12. ^ "Coming Out as Atheist: Peter Tatchell, Grayson Perry". National Secular Society. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "A Day in the Life of Peter Tatchell". Huffington Post. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Celebrity blind date: Richard Fairbrass and Peter Tatchell". The Guardian (London). 19 June 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  15. ^ a b (Tatchell, 1983) p.13
  16. ^ "Bermondsey ten years on", Gay Times, February 1993.
  17. ^ New Statesman: Volume 137, Issues 4891–4903, 2008.
  18. ^ Jorge Morales, "Tatchell's Long Crusade", The Advocate, 2 May 1995; page 23.
  19. ^ Power, Lisa (1995). No Bath But Plenty of Bubbles: An Oral History Of The Gay Liberation Front 1970-7. Cassell.  
  20. ^ Peter Tatchell, "GLF at the World Youth Festival, GDR 1973", in Gay Marxist No 3 (October 1973).
  21. ^ Documentary Explores Gay and Lesbian Oppression in East Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE
  22. ^ Tatchell, Peter (12 October 2010). "The Gay Liberation Front's social revolution". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  23. ^ "Britain's profitable brew", New Statesman, 20 July 1979, p. 88–89
  24. ^ Tim Ross (19 March 2011). "Peter Tatchell bids to overturn gay marriage ban at European Court of Human Rights". The Daily Telegraph (London).
  25. ^ Megan Murphy (31 July 2006). "British Lesbians Lose Bid to Validate Their Marriage", Bloomberg News (New York).
  26. ^ "article". Pink News (London). 9 May 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  27. ^ Peter Tatchell (1983). The Battle for Bermondsey. Heretic Books. p.50.
  28. ^ Crisis Years, The Thatcher (20 April 2015). "Peter Tatchell, Michael Foot and Margaret Thatcher". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  29. ^ a b Tony Benn; Ruth Winstone (1996). The Benn Diaries: 1940 – 1990. Arrow. pp. 527–528.  
  30. ^ London Labour Briefing, November 1981.
  31. ^ "British Parliamentary By Elections: Campaign literature from the by-election". Archived from the original on 25 October 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  32. ^ Shoffman, Marc; Cohen, Benjamin (26 January 2006). "Hughes considered quitting over bisexual revelations". Pink News. Retrieved 1 November 2007. 
  33. ^ History of the Labour Party, Labour Party website, accessed 21 March 2014
  34. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 44–49.  
  35. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 109–113.  
  36. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 80–87, 195–199.  
  37. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 73–75.  
  38. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 129–142.  
  39. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 99–109.  
  40. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 199–201.  
  41. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 55–5.  
  42. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 32–43.  
  43. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. p. 36.  
  44. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defence. London: GMP Publishers. pp. 36, 38.  
  45. ^ Peter Tatchell: Why I Resigned from Labour, 23 February 2000
  46. ^ Wilgress, Matthew. "Peter Tatchell and the London Elections". What Next? Marxist Discussion Journal. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  47. ^ Peter Tatchell, "Economic Democracy" – How The Light Gets In, 5 June 2012
  48. ^ BBC News: Live coverage – General Election 2010, 27 April 2010, 16:03
  49. ^ "Peter Tatchell: The 'Megaphone' of the Oppressed". International Humanist Ethical Youth Organization. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  50. ^ a b Peter Tatchell (19 March 2003). "Iraq: the third way". The Guardian (London).
  52. ^ "Diary" – Peter Tatchell. New Statesman (London), 24 March 2003.
  53. ^ Peter Tatchell, "Iraq – Ayatollah Sistani Says Death to Gays; Sistani fatwa encourages terror against queers. Shia Badr Corps execute sodomites, Sunnis and others. UK fetes Sistani and hosts Badr's political wing, despite anti-gay murders.", 15 March 2006.; News story about protest- Marc Shoffman, "Iraqi Ayatollah sparks outrage after decreeing death to gays", Pink News, 17 March 2006.
  54. ^ Tatchell, Peter (26 September 2014). "ISIS Must Be Stopped But Not By the West - Arm the Kurds". Huffington Post (UK). Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  55. ^ Tatchell, Peter (21 December 2007). "Pakistan's secret war in Baluchistan". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 February 2008. 
  56. ^ Peter Tatchell, "Balochistan: UN Speech", delivered to Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization; Human Rights in Pakistan conference held at the United Nations in Geneva on 11 March 2010 parallel to the 13th session of the UN Human Rights Council. The conference was co-hosted by UNPO and Interfaith International. (Footage of the speech on YouTube)
  57. ^ "Moscow police detain gay activists". CNN. Reuters. 27 May 2007. Archived from the original on 18 June 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 
  58. ^ Rachel Shields (28 May 2007). "Gay activists beaten up at Moscow demo". The Independent (London). 
  59. ^ "". Retrieved 18 June 2007. 
  60. ^ "Comment: Moscow's gay-bashing Mayor pledges continued intolerance". Pink News (London). 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  61. ^ "Gay protest broken up in Moscow". BBC News. 16 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  62. ^ "Comment: Peter Tatchell on how Moscow's ban on the gay parade led to massive media coverage of LGBT issues". Pink News. 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  63. ^ Julia Karmo (16 May 2009). "Moscow Police Break Up Gay Pride Rally". Sky News. 
  64. ^ Lucas, Ian (1998). OutRage!: an oral history. London: Cassell.  
  65. ^ See, e.g., Ian Lucas, "OutRage! – an oral history", Cassell 1998.
  66. ^ Ian Lucas, "OutRage! – an oral history", Cassell 1998, pp. 63–71
  67. ^
  68. ^ Lucas, Ian (1999). "OutRage!: an oral history – Book Review". Retrieved 18 February 2008. 
  69. ^ Lucas, Ian (1998), OutRage! : an oral history, London, p. 200,  
  70. ^ Lawrence Donegan; David Sharrock (22 March 1995). "Heart Attack MP 'Received Letter From Outrage!'". The Guardian (London). 
  71. ^ Garner, Clare (30 November 1998). "Stars of stage and pulpit will support 'indecent' Tatchell". The Independent (London).
  72. ^ Garner, Clare (1 December 1998). "Protest in the cathedral 'political', says Tatchell". The Independent (London).
  73. ^ "Tatchell defends Mugabe 'arrest'". BBC News. 6 March 2001.
  74. ^ Summerskill, Ben (23 February 2003)."The Observer Profile: Peter Tatchell: Just a zealous guy". The Observer (London).
  75. ^ Otton, Garry (1 December 2005). "Examining the treatment of sexuality in the Scottish media". Scottish Media Monitor. Retrieved 5 February 2008. 
  76. ^ Yoshie Furuhashi. "African LGBTI Human Rights Defenders Warn Public against Participation in Campaigns Concerning LGBTI Issues in Africa Led by Peter Tatchell and Outrage!". Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  77. ^ "African LGBTI smear campaign". Peter Tatchell. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  78. ^ a b c d e Tatchell, Peter (1 October 2012), Under-age sex: Statement of clarification by Peter Tatchell, London, retrieved 15 Nov 2013 
  79. ^ OutRage! press release, 21 February 1996
  80. ^ McKinstry, Leo (24 February 1996). "Gays Homing in on Kids". The Sun (London).
  81. ^ Hitchens, Peter (12 September 2010). "Question: Who said: 'Not all sex involving children is unwanted and abusive'? Answer: The Pope's biggest British critic". The Mail on Sunday (London). Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  82. ^ Tatchell, Peter (30 January 2011), Age of Consent, retrieved 15 September 2011 
  83. ^ Cigpapers; Tyler, Watt (23 February 2014). "Is Peter Tatchell A Paedophile Or Simply Misunderstood?". British National Party. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  84. ^ Tatchell, Peter. "I'm 14, I'm gay and I want a boyfriend". Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  85. ^ Tatchell, Peter (10 March 2008). "Lowering the unrealistic age of consent will help teens". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 10 March 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  86. ^ Tatchell, Peter (24 April 1998). "What's Wrong With Porn?". Metropolis. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  87. ^ Tatchell, Peter (January 2008). "Porn Can Be Good For You". Red Pepper Online Forum. Archived from the original on January 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  88. ^ "If we could by some form of genetic engineeringeliminate these trends, we should—so long as it is done for a therapeutic purpose" — letter to the Jewish Chronicle, 16 July 1993
  89. ^ Jason Bennetto, "Is this comparison odious?", The Independent, 31 October 1993
  90. ^ a b Peter Tatchell; Joseph Patrick McCormick (26 June 2014). "'"Peter Tatchell: 'David Cameron has betrayed equality by denying straight couples civil partnerships. Pink News. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  91. ^ Tatchell, Peter (27 July 2014). "David Cameron Insists That Straight Civil Partnerships Remain Banned". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  92. ^ "Peter Tatchell on civil partnerships and marriage laws". BBC. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  93. ^ Tatchell, Peter (20 May 2013). "Straight civil partnerships defeated".  
  94. ^ Tatchell, Peter (26 October 1997). "The other persecution (Letter)". The Observer (London). p. C2. 
  95. ^ Duval Smith, Alex (6 November 1999). "Gays seeking sexual asylum in South Africa".  
  96. ^ Moreton, Cole (19 August 2007). "'"Peter Tatchell: 'There may be a case for the people of Zimbabwe to kill Robert Mugabe. The Independent (London). Retrieved 7 February 2008. 
  97. ^ "Who and What is the "Zimbabwe Freedom Movement"?". Sokwanele. 13 November 2003. 
  98. ^ "Reggae Singers urge: Kill Queers". Outrage!. Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. 
  99. ^ Leah Nelson, "Jamaica's Anti-Gay 'Murder Music' Carries Violent Message" Intelligence Report, Winter 2010, Issue Number: 140.
  100. ^ Alicia Roache, Staff Reporter. "Black Music Council Defends DJ's", The Sunday Gleaner ( 13 December 2004.
  101. ^ Tatchell, Peter (19 April 2004). "Diary - Peter Tatchell".  
  102. ^ "Kissinger: mistakes may have been made". London:  
  103. ^ Aizura, Aren (23 October 2009). """Racism and the Censorship of "Gay Imperialism.  
  104. ^ "African LGBTI Human Rights Defenders Warn Public against Participation in Campaigns Concerning LGBTI Issues in Africa Led by Peter Tatchell and Outrage!".  
  105. ^ Galloway Activist Urges: Assault Tatchell: Respect Member Stirs Homophobia, Violence and Xenophobia Against Gay Activist, UK Gay News, 16 January 2006.
  106. ^ Tatchell, Peter (15 May 2004). "Gays Attacked at Palestinian Rights Protest: Attempt to silence debate on murder of gay people". Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  107. ^ a b Scott Anthony "Police forced to call in reinforcements as protesters disrupt Olympic torch relay", The Guardian, 6 April 2008. Retrieved on 4 September 2008.
  108. ^ a b Antonio Fabrizio , "Interview: Peter Tatchell's 40 years of campaigning", Pink News, 15 December 2007.
  109. ^ a b "UK: Anger over "anti-Catholic" Pope documentary". The Spy Report (Media Spy). 5 June 2010. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  110. ^ Irish Times, p 17, 25 July 2008
  111. ^ "Letters: Harsh judgments on the pope and religion". The Guardian (London). 15 September 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  112. ^ "Islamic Fundamentalism in Britain". Peter Tatchell. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  113. ^ a b "Criticising the oppressed".  
  114. ^ a b Tatchell, Peter (25 October 2006). "Respect is a two-way street: There is a whiff of hypocrisy among some Muslims who, in the name of being spared offence, want to censor other people's opinions". The Observer (London). 
  115. ^ Sue Simkim, Anna Thomas-Betts, "Prisoners or Detainees?" Independent Monitor, The Association of Members of Independent Monitoring Boards, March 2008, Issue 93, pp. 12–15.
  116. ^ "Gay Muslim Appeals Against Conviction", UK Gay News, 8 May 2006.
  117. ^ Jamie Doward, "Fallen City star claims gay bigotry: Deutsche Bank faces allegations of sexual discrimination against vice-president", The Observer, 20 February 2005.
  118. ^ "Lifelong crusader for gay rights". (The Irish Times). 25 July 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  119. ^ OutRage! press release
  120. ^ Tatchell, Peter (1 October 1995). "Islamic Fundamentalism in Britain". Retrieved 1 February 2008. 
  121. ^ "Indymedia article". Indymedia article. 14 February 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  122. ^ "online". BBC News. 3 January 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  123. ^ Tatchell, Peter (14 February 2006). "Battered, bruised and betrayed". Retrieved 1 February 2008. 
  124. ^ Tatchell, Peter (6 January 2005). "Crucifying queers". Retrieved 1 February 2008. 
  125. ^ Cohen, Benjamin (20 March 2006). "Liberal Islamic scholar forced to pull out of gay rights speech by Muslim leaders". Pink News. Retrieved 1 November 2009. 
  126. ^ Tatchell, Peter (19 May 2005). "Malcolm X — gay black hero?: On Malcolm X's 80 birthday, Peter Tatchell reveals the hidden gay past of the American black nationalist leader". The Observer (London). 
  127. ^ Peter Akinti, the editor of  
  128. ^ According to biographer "The Nation". The Nation. Retrieved 17 September 2010.  ^
  129. ^ "Indymedia article". Indymedia article. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  130. ^ "Decisions of the Committee Against Torture — Article 7.4". Human Rights Internet. 26 May 2003. Archived from the original on 20 January 2005. 
  131. ^ a b Livingstone, Ken (February 2005). "Tatchell's Islamic Conspiracy Theory". Labour Left Briefing. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  132. ^ I'm a polymorphous pervert': Boris and his mayoral rivals make their case for the gay vote — UK Politics — UK"'". The Independent. 29 March 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  133. ^ Gays in Eurabia – Muslim immigrants to Europe are threatening the rights of gays, women and free speech – 20 April 2006.
  134. ^ "Hundreds join free speech rally". BBC News. 25 March 2006. 
  135. ^ "WAF — Peter Tatchell statement". Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  136. ^ a b An embrace that shames London New Statesman — Peter Tatchell — Monday 24 January 2005
  137. ^ "Why the Mayor of London will maintain dialogue with all of London's faiths and communities — A reply to the dossier against Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi". 24 March 2005. Archived from the original on 24 March 2005. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  138. ^ "New Statesman article". New Statesman article. 19 July 2004. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  139. ^ a b "London protest at anti-gay Moscow mayor".  
  140. ^ "Press Release: Mayor of London supports rights of gays and lesbians to peacefully demonstrate throughout Eastern Europe including Moscow". Greater London Authority. 18 February 2007. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  141. ^ Gay Pride Parade Wars: Livingstone Attacks Tatchell and Alexeyev Attacks Livingstone – UK Gay News – 1 March 2007.
  142. ^ Peter Tatchell, "Don't Boycott World Pride in Jerusalem – Tatchell", UK Gay News, 19 June 2006 .
  143. ^ "Galloway Activist Urges: Assault Tatchell". 16 January 2005. 
  144. ^ "Muslim "homophobe" backs Tatchell's bid to be MP". GScene Magazine. 23 October 2009. 
  145. ^ "Muslim 'Homophobe' Endorses Activist MP Candidate".  
  146. ^ Tatchell, Peter (16 January 2005). "Peter Tatchell – Official Biography". Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  147. ^ Peter Tatchell The Oxygen Crisis, The Guardian, Comment Is Free 2008-08-13.
  148. ^ "Spotlight on CAPS' Patrons". Captive Animals' Protection Society (CAPS). May 2008. Archived from the original on 20 November 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  149. ^ a b "Peter Tatchell: Self-rule for Cornwall | Comment is free". (London: Guardian). 23 January 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  150. ^ a b "Tatchell's in town to back home rule for the Cornish". Retrieved 28 August 2009. 
  151. ^ Tatchell, Peter (October 1999). "The End of Media Homophobia?". Retrieved 19 December 2014. it was The Sun - through its columnists Gary Bushell, Richard Littlejohn and Norman Tebbit - that has for years stirred the very prejudice it now claims to deplore 
  152. ^ Tatchell, Peter (October 1999). "The End of Media Homophobia?". Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  153. ^ Peter Tatchell's contributor page, Comment is Free
  154. ^ "MAKE JUSTICE WORK AMBASSADOR: PETER TATCHELL". Make Justice Work. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  155. ^ "About us". Peter Tatchell Foundation. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  156. ^ New Statesman Library – Articles by Peter Tatchell
  157. ^ Cowley, Jason (22 May 2006). "Heroes of our time — the top 50".  
  158. ^ Walker, Tim (16 December 2010). "Peter Tatchell says 'no thanks' to the Lords". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  159. ^ "Peter Tatchell named Secularist of the Year 2012". National Secular Society. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  160. ^ Stephen Gray (19 March 2012). "Peter Tatchell named Secularist of the Year". PinkNews. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  161. ^ "Veteran activist Peter Tatchell wins lifetime achievement award". Gay Star News. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  162. ^ "National Diversity Awards 2012 LGBT winners /publication = DIVA Magazine Lesbian News /". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  163. ^ "Celebrity Patrons - National Diversity Awards". Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  164. ^ Joseph Patrick McCormick (23 January 2014). "Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell awarded Honorary Doctorate by De Montfort University". PinkNews. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 


See also

  • Tatchell, Peter (1983). The Battle for Bermondsey. Heretic Books.  
  • Tatchell, Peter (1985). Democratic Defense. Millivres-Prowler Group Ltd.  
  • Tatchell, Peter (1987). AIDS: a Guide to Survival.  
  • Tatchell, Peter (1990). Out in Europe. A guide to lesbian and gay rights in 30 European countries.  
  • Tatchell, Peter (1992). Europe in the Pink.  
  • Tatchell, Peter; Taylor, Robert (1994). Safer Sexy: the Guide to Gay Sex Safely. Freedom Editions.  
  • Tatchell, Peter (1995). We Don't Want to March Straight: Masculinity, Queers and the Military.  


In January 2014, Tatchell was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by De Montfort University.[166]

On 21 September 2012, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award at the UK's first National Diversity Awards.[163][164] Alongside Misha B, Jody Cundy, Peter Norfolk and others he is a patron for 2013 National Diversity Awards.[165]

In 2012, the National Secular Society awarded Tatchell Secularist of the Year, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the defence of human rights against religious fundamentalism.[161][162]

In 2010 he won Total Politics Top 50 Political Influencers. A diary journalist reported rumours that he had been recommended for British New Year's honours to become a member of the House of Lords. He was said to have turned it down.[160]

In 2009 he racked up multiple awards. He was named Campaigner of the Year in The Observer Ethical Awards, London Citizen of Sanctuary Award, Shaheed Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti Award (for reporting the Balochistan national liberation struggle), Evening Standard 1000 Most Influential Londoners (winning again in 2011), Liberal Voice of the Year and a Blue Plaque in recognition of his more than 40 years of human rights campaigning.

In 2006, New Statesman readers voted him sixth on their list of "Heroes of our time".[158][159]


He contributes to The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2.

In 2011, he became the Director of the [157]

As of 2009, he has been an Ambassador for the penal reform group, Make Justice Work.[156]

He is a regular contributor to The Guardian's opinion section, "Comment is Free".[155]

Tatchell has written numerous articles in newspapers and magazines related to his various campaigns. He was highly critical of the media coverage of the Admiral Duncan pub bombing, claiming than the homophobic attitudes of news outlets had helped fuel the attack,[153] and that the press concerned themselves almost exclusively with the one heterosexual victim, rather than the two other deaths and the dozens of maimed patrons, saying that:

Columnist and other pursuits

This article received the largest number of comments to any Guardian article, according to This is Cornwall.[152] Over 1,500 comments were made, and while some comments were supportive, Tatchell found himself "shocked and disgusted" by the anti-Cornish sentiment shown by many commenters.[152]

Tatchell campaigned on the issue of the constitutional status of Cornwall. In November 2008, The Guardian carried an article by him entitled Self-rule for Cornwall,[151] in which he said:


Tatchell is an active supporter of animal rights, saying "human rights and animal rights are two aspects of the same struggle against injustice".[150] He is a patron of the Captive Animals Protection Society, a charity campaigning for an end to the use of animals in circuses, zoos and exotic pet trade. He is also a patron of Animal Aid and works with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Animal rights

For over 20 years, Tatchell has written and campaigned about environmental problems including energy conservation and renewable energy; in particular tidal, wave and concentrated solar power. On 24 May 2009, he appeared on the BBC Daily Politics programme to oppose the Elephant and Castle regeneration scheme, which he said would bring few benefits to local working-class people. However, his main campaigns remain centred on human rights and "queer emancipation".[148] In August 2008 Tatchell wrote about speculative theories concerning possible atmospheric oxygen depletion compared to prehistoric levels, and called for further investigation to test such claims and, if proven, their long-term consequences.[149]

Environmental issues

Secondary issues

In October 2009, Yosef pledged his formal support to Tatchell's general election parliamentary candidacy, calling for the left to "embrace a mutual personal and political commitment towards equality and human rights".[146][147]

In December 2005, Muslim journalist and Respect party activist Adam Yosef came under criticism for an article in Desi Xpress opposing registered civil partnerships and then retracted it. His next column identified Peter Tatchell, British National Party leader Nick Griffin and Omar Bakri Mohammed of Al-Muhajiroun as the top three "hate filled bigots", saying that Tatchell needed "a good slap in the face" and his "queer campaign army" should "pack their bent bags and head back to Australia". Tatchell denounced a "naked appeal to homophobia and xenophobia" echoing "the racist, xenophobic language of the BNP",[145] and Yosef apologised, claiming the "slap in the face" remark was a "figure of speech". Yosef denied any racism and said the Australian mention referred to "the Islamophobic riots which recently gripped Sydney" (the Cronulla riots). Desi Xpress staff expressed regret to Tatchell and gave him a right of reply.

Adam Yosef

Tatchell was in and out of hospital at the time, as a result of the injuries he received at the hands of far-right assailants in Moscow. On his partial recovery, he issued a strong statement condemning the Jewish fundamentalists who had promoted the bill which had banned gay pride in Jerusalem.[144]

Following the vote by the Knesset, the Israeli legislature, in 2007 in favour of bills to ban lesbian and gay pride parades in Jerusalem, the Lesbian and Gay Coalition Against Racism criticised Tatchell, saying:

Livingstone issued a statement saying "I have already, and continue, to condemn all these and assert the basic human and civil right of gays and lesbians to peacefully demonstrate", but added "It is clear that there is a concerted attack on gay and lesbian rights in a series of East European countries fed by diverse currents. In Moscow the Russian Orthodox church, the chief rabbi and the grand Mufti all supported the ban on the Gay Pride march with the main role, due to its great weight in society, being played by the Orthodox church. The attempt of Mr Tatchell to focus attention on the role of the grand Mufti in Moscow, in the face of numerous attacks on gay rights in Eastern Europe, which overwhelmingly come from right-wing Christian and secular currents, is a clear example of an Islamaphobic campaign."[142] Tatchell retorted that Livingstone's remarks were "dishonest, despicable nonsense", adding "The Grand Mufti was not singled out". He further said the Mayor had brought his "office into disrepute" and "has revealed himself to be a person without principles, honesty or integrity."[143]

In February 2007 the Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, visited Livingstone for an annual meeting that also involved the Mayors of Berlin and Paris, with the mayor of Beijing present as well. PlanetOut Inc.'s website,, reported:[141]

Tatchell wrote in the Guardian that certain Muslim leaders, whom Tatchell describes as appearing "to be representative of the majority of British Muslim opinion", of "intolerance" to gay people. He said people such as Hizb ut-Tahrir were extreme fundamentalists who had an "agenda for clerical fascism,"[115] He noted that its constitution explicitly rejects democracy (non-Islamic parties would be banned) and human rights (non-Muslims would have fewer rights and freedoms). Tatchell further claimed that "The suppression of critics within the Muslim community is already excessive", adding "the MCB went out of its way to expose Irshad Manji as a lesbian in a seedy bid to discredit her ideas." Tatchell had himself previously outed religious figures he viewed as hypocritical and homophobic, but he felt that Manji was neither hypocritical nor homophobic, so the MCB's action in drawing attention to her sexuality was, he said, unjustified.

Muslims and gay rights

Livingstone's invitation of conspiracy theories and racism.[133]

Yusuf al-Qaradawi

In February 2010, Women Against Fundamentalism defended Tatchell against allegations of Islamophobia and endorsed his right to challenge all religious fundamentalism: "WAF supports the right of Peter Tatchell and numerous other gay activists to oppose the legitimisation of fundamentalists and other right wing forces on university campuses, by the Left and by the government in its Preventing Violent Extremism strategy and numerous other programmes and platforms".[137]

Speaking to the Guardian following the release of the Borat film in the UK, Tatchell criticised Sacha Baron Cohen for his double standards and ‘self-censorship', saying "he regards Christians and Jews as fair game, he never gives Muslims the same doing over".

Tatchell's speech at the rally claimed, "As well as challenging religious-inspired tyranny, let us also say loud and clear that we defend Muslim communities against prejudice and discrimination. Let us declare that we deplore the homophobia, race hate, Islamophobia and antisemitism of the British National Party."

Concerning the Islamic prophet Muhammad and in support for free speech in general.[135] Tatchell had expected "thousands" to attend the event, which was held on 25 March 2006, but police estimated only 250 people attended.[136]

In 2004, then-Mayor of London Ken Livingstone criticised Tatchell for Islamophobia over comments he made concerning the pending visit of the Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi.[133] Two years later, Livingstone stated that he "probably shouldn't" have called Tatchell an "Islamophobe", but defended his actions at the time by saying "in politics you engage with people which you have profound disagreements with...", giving as an example then-Mayor of Moscow Yury Luzhkov's support of London for the 2012 Olympics as vital to the bid's success in spite of Luzhkov's regular bans of Moscow Pride.[134]

Following the hanging of two teenage boys, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni by Iranian authorities, Tatchell reiterated his long-standing view that the Islamic Republic of Iran is an "Islamo-fascist state". Tatchell claimed the two youths were hanged merely for being gay. He bases this opinion on information from activists inside Iran and from friends of the hanged youths who were with them at a secret gay party before they were arrested. The Iranian government and state-licensed media claim the youths were guilty of rape of a 13-year-old boy at knifepoint. Tatchell observes that trumped up charges are routine in Iran. Left-wing political activists are, for example, often arrested on false charges such as spying, adultery, drug taking, sodomy and alcoholism. No claims by the Iranian government or judiciary should ever be taken at face value, he says. International human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch preferred campaigners to focus on the propriety of hanging two teenagers rather than the alleged connection to gay sex.[130] Faisal Alam, founder of American Gay Muslim group Al-Fatiha, argued in the magazine Queer that Iran was condemned before the facts were certain,[131] and in 2003 the United Nations Committee Against Torture noted that "from different and reliable sources that there currently is no active policy of prosecution of charges of homosexuality in Iran".[132] This is disputed by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. They confirm that the death penalty exists for homosexuality in Iran and that gay and lesbian people suffer persecution, including arrest, torture, imprisonment and execution by slow strangulation. This is corroborated by the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees (formerly the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organisation), most of whose members are based inside Iran and regularly provide reports of homophobic beatings, torture and imprisonment by state agents.

Tatchell chose Malcolm X as his specialist subject when appearing on Celebrity Mastermind, explaining that he considered him an inspiration and hero (his other inspirations are Mahatma Gandhi, Sylvia Pankhurst and Martin Luther King). However, his endorsement of Bruce Perry's biography in an article calling for black gay role models[127] led to criticism[128] due to Perry's claim that Malcolm X had male lovers in his youth.[129]

A colleague of Tatchell's, Islamic theologian Muhammad Yusuf, a research fellow with Interfaith Alliance UK, withdrew from a planned lecture on "an Islamic reformation that reconciles Islam with democracy and human rights, including human rights for women and gay people" after receiving threats from Islamist fundamentalists. Yusuf said that "senior Islamic clerics" told him they could not guarantee his safety if he went ahead.[126] The lecture was to raise funds for the Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund.

Tatchell describes the umbrella group Muslim Council of Britain as "anti-gay",[122] asking how "they expect to win respect for their community, if at the same time as demanding action against Islamophobia, they themselves demand the legal enforcement of homophobia?".[114] He noted that the MCB had joined forces with right-wing Christian fundamentalists to oppose every gay law reform from 1997 to 2006. The opposition of MCB Chairman Sir Iqbal Sacranie to homosexuality and registration of civil partnerships led Tatchell to observe "Both the Muslim and gay communities suffer prejudice and discrimination. We should stand together to fight Islamophobia and homophobia".[123] Tatchell subsequently criticised Unite Against Fascism for inviting Sacranie to share its platforms, describing him as a bigot and a "homophobic hate-mongerer."[124] This was in response to Sacranie's denunciation of gay people as immoral, harmful and diseased on BBC Radio 4. When the MCB boycotted Holocaust Memorial Day, partly because it included a commemoration of the gay victims of Nazism, Tatchell wrote that "the only thing that is consistent about the MCB is its opposition to the human rights of lesbians and gay men".[125]

Tatchell has described Sharia law as "a clerical form of fascism"[119] on the grounds that it opposes democracy and human rights, especially for women and gay people. He was the keynote speaker at a 2005 protest at the Canadian High Commission demanding that Ontario's arbitration law, which permitted religious arbitration in civil cases for Jews and Christians, be extended to Muslims. Tatchell argued there should be no separate arbitration systems for any specific religion.[120] In 1995 he wrote that "although not all Muslims are anti-gay, significant numbers are violently homophobic [...] homophobic Muslim voters may be able to influence the outcome of elections in 20 or more marginal constituencies."[121]

Tatchell is critical of Islamic fundamentalism, and first wrote about its rise in Britain in 1995.[113] However, Tatchell condemned Islamophobia, saying "Any form of prejudice, hatred, discrimination or violence against Muslims is wrong. Full stop".[114] He described the Qur'an as "rather mild in its condemnation of homosexuality".[115] Tatchell also points out that much of his prison and asylum casework involves supporting Muslim prisoners and asylum seekers—heterosexual, as well as LGBT. In 2006, he helped stop the abuse of Muslim prisoners at Norwich jail and helped secure parole for other Muslim detainees.[116] Half his asylum cases are, he reports, male and female Muslim refugees. Two of his highest-profile campaigns involved Muslim victims—Mohamed S, who was framed by men who first tried to kill him and then jailed him for eight years, and Sid Saeed, who brought a racism and homophobic harassment case against Deutsche Bank.[117][118]


On 15 September 2010, Tatchell, along with 54 other public figures, signed an open letter, published in The Guardian, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to the UK.[112]

With respect to Anglicanism, he stated that "it's very sad to see a good man like the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, going to such extraordinary lengths to appease homophobes within the Anglican Communion".[111]

Channel 4 indicated in June 2010 that Tatchell would be the presenter of a documentary film examining "the current Pope's teachings throughout the world".[110] The announcement sparked criticism from some prominent British Catholics including Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe, who said that Channel 4 appeared to be trying to "stir up controversy". Tatchell stated as part of the announcement that the documentary "will not be an anti-Catholic programme".[110]

Tatchell criticised the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI, whom he described as "the ideological inheritor of Nazi homophobia".[109] "He'd like to eradicate homosexuality, but since he can't put LGBT people in physical concentration camps, is doing his best to put them in psychological concentration camps."[109]

Anglican and Catholic churches

In April 2008, Tatchell attempted to disrupt the procession of the Olympic torch though London. As a protest against China's human rights record he stood in front of the bus carrying the torch along Oxford Street while carrying a placard calling on Beijing to "Free Tibet, Free Hu Jia" (the name of a recently jailed human rights activist). Tatchell was taken away by police but was not charged.[108] In an interview Tatchell called on the world to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympics, or to take other visible action.[108]

2008 Olympics

For nearly four decades, Tatchell has campaigned for Mossad agent sent to disrupt the march, of being a racist or a Zionist, a supporter of Ariel Sharon or an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency or MI5.[107]

Gaza and the West Bank

In the 1970s and 1980s Tatchell was involved in campaigns against the National Front and the British National Party. He campaigned with Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League.

National Front and British National Party

He was involved in the anti-apartheid movement from 1969 until the end of the white minority regime in 1990; being a regular protester and speaker at the 24/7 non-stop, four-year-long picket outside South Africa House.[106]

A long-time anti-apartheid activist (from 1969), his lobbying of the ANC in 1987 contributed to it renouncing homophobia and making its first public commitment to lesbian and gay human rights. Later, in 1989 and 1990, he helped persuade the ANC to include a ban on anti-gay discrimination in the post-apartheid constitution (he assisted in drafting model clauses for the ANC). See: Sex and Politics in South Africa (Double Storey Books, Cape Town, 2005, pp. 140–149).

South Africa

However, despite his anti-imperialist past, Tatchell has also been accused of "Gay Imperialism" by various LGBTI groups,[104] and for putting vulnerable non-white gay communities at risk, especially in Africa.[105]

In 2002, he brought an unsuccessful legal action in Bow Street Magistrate's Court for the arrest of the former U.S. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, on charges of war crimes in Vietnam and Cambodia.[103]

His Palestine, East Timor and West Papua.

While still at school, Tatchell campaigned in favour of better treatment of, and full human rights for, the Aboriginal people of Australia.[15] He believes that Australian cities should be renamed with their original Aboriginal place names, to sever ties with the colonial era. For example, he wants the Tasmanian capital Hobart to be renamed Nibberluna, arguing that this would be a fitting tribute to Australia's Aboriginal heritage, which he says has been discarded and disrespected for too long.[102]


Members of the Rastafari movement accused Tatchell of racism and extremism, saying, "He has gone over way over the top. It's simply racist to put Hitler and Sizzla in the same bracket and just shows how far he is prepared to go."[101] Tatchell denies equating Sizzla with Hitler.

Tatchell has claimed that the laws against incitement to violence and murder are not being enforced. He has also organised protests outside the concerts of singers whose lyrics he claims urge the killing of queers. Long-running targets of his criticism include reggae artists whose lyrics he and his colleagues claim encourage and glorify violence toward lesbians and gay men, including murder. Tatchell's campaign began in the early 1990s when Buju Banton's song "Boom bye-bye" was released. He has picketed the MOBO Awards ceremony to protest at their inviting performers of what he terms "murder music".[99] In response Tatchell received death threats and was labelled racist. Tatchell defended himself by noting that the campaign was at the behest of the Jamaican gay rights group J-Flag, and the UK-based Black Gay Men's Advisory Group, with which he works closely. He also pointed to what he described as his life's work campaigning against racism and apartheid and stated that his campaigns against "murder music" and state-sanctioned homophobic violence in Jamaica were endorsed by black Jamaican gay rights activists such as Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), and by many straight human rights activists in Jamaica (male homosexuality remains illegal in Jamaica). The campaign has had positive effects with seven of eight original murder music singers signing the Reggae Compassion Act, which says that signatories will not "make statements or perform songs" that incite hatred or violence.[100]

Stop Murder Music campaign

In late 2003 Tatchell acted as a press spokesman for the launch of the Zimbabwe Freedom Movement, which claimed to be a clandestine group within Zimbabwe committed to overthrowing the Mugabe government by force. The civic action Peter Tatchell: Just who does he think he is?" by Max Barber.

Tatchell ultimately failed in his attempt to secure an international arrest warrant against Mugabe on torture charges. The magistrate argued that Mugabe had immunity from prosecution as a serving head of state.

On 5 March 2001 Tatchell believed Mugabe was about to visit Brussels. He went there and attempted a second citizen's arrest. Mugabe's bodyguards were seen knocking him to the floor. Later that day, Tatchell was briefly knocked unconscious by Mugabe's bodyguards and was left with permanent damage to his right eye. The protest drew worldwide headlines, as Mugabe was highly unpopular in the Western world for his land redistribution policy. Tatchell's actions were praised by Zimbabwean activists and many of the newspapers that had previously denounced him.[97]

Tatchell researched the Gukurahundi attacks in Matabeleland in the 1980s, when the Zimbabwean Fifth Brigade attacked supporters of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union. He became convinced that Mugabe had broken international human rights law during the attack, which is estimated to have involved the massacre of around 20,000 civilians. Then in 1999, journalists Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto were tortured by the Zimbabwe Army. The arrest of Augusto Pinochet in London seemed to him a precedent that human rights violations could be pursued against a head of state, thanks to the principle of universal jurisdiction. On 30 October 1999 Tatchell and three other OutRage! activists approached Mugabe's car in a London street and attempted to perform a citizen's arrest. Tatchell opened the car door and grabbed Mugabe. He then called the police. The four OutRage! activists were arrested, on charges including criminal damage, assault and breach of the peace; charges were dropped on the opening day of their trial. Mugabe responded by describing Tatchell and his OutRage! colleagues as "gay gangsters", a slogan frequently repeated by his supporters, and claimed they had been sent by the United Kingdom government.[96]

Part of Tatchell's political activism and journalism in the 1970s involved the LGBT rights in Zimbabwe outside the Zimbabwe High Commission in London. Two years later, he passed through police security disguised as a TV cameraman to quiz Mugabe during the "Africa at 40" conference at Central Hall, Westminster. Mugabe told him that allegations of human rights abuses were grossly exaggerated; he became agitated when Tatchell told him that he was gay. Mugabe's minders summoned Special Branch guards, who ejected Tatchell. On 26 October 1997 a letter from Tatchell to The Observer argued that the United Kingdom should suspend aid to Zimbabwe because of its violence against LGBT people.[95]


Writing for Pink News, he continues:

Tatchell has pledged his support for opposite-sex couples to be allowed to have Peter Tatchell Foundation, he claims that:

Civil partnerships

OutRage!'s protest against Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, who supported the idea of genetic engineering to eliminate homosexuality,[89] led to accusations that Tatchell was antisemitic, following OutRage!'s leaflets citing the similarity of Jakobovits ideas for the eradication of homosexuality to those of Heinrich Himmler were distributed outside the Western and Marble Arch Synagogue on the Rosh Hashanah in September 1993. Rabbi Julia Neuberger, who had campaigned for gay rights, said "Drawing a comparison between Lord Jakobovits and Himmler is offensive, racist and [...] makes OutRage appear antisemitic". She stated that the action and leaflet would "alienate Jews who are sympathetic to gay rights".[90]

In the Irish Independent on 10 March 2008 he repeated his call for a lower age of consent to end the criminalisation of young people engaged in consenting sex and to remove the legal obstacles to upfront sex education, condom provision and safer sex advice.[86] In 1998 and 2008, he supported relaxation of the then strict laws against pornography, arguing that porn can have some social benefits, and he has criticised what he calls the body-shame phobia against nudism, suggesting that nudity may be natural and healthy for society.[87][88]

He also comments on an interview he conducted in the late 1990s on the subject of paedophilia and child prostitution, in which he interviewed 14-year-old boy (under the pseudonym "Lee") who had had sex with older men, in some cases for money. In this interview, Tatchell makes various counterarguments against Lee's point of view, such as: "How can a young child understand sex and give meaningful consent?", "Perhaps your friends were particularly mature for their age. Most young people are not so sophisticated about sex", "Many people worry that the power imbalance in a relationship between a youth and an adult means the younger person can be easily manipulated and exploited", "Many people fear that making sex easier for under-age teenagers will expose them to dangers like HIV. Isn't that a legitimate worry?".[78][85]

On Tatchell's personal website he also states that "My Guardian letter cited examples of youths in Papuan tribes and some of my friends who, when they were under 16, had sex with adults (over 18s), but who do not feel they were harmed. I was not endorsing their viewpoint but merely stating that they had a different perspective from the mainstream opinion about inter-generational sex. They have every right for their perspective to be heard."[78] He also debunks various claims that his critics (such as the British National Party)[84] made against him, such as his contributions to the Betrayal of Youth (BOY) book, published by Warren Middleton of the Paedophile Information Exchange, stating that:

Tatchell has since reiterated that he does not condone adults having sex with children. On his personal website, under the subsection Age of Consent, he writes:

In a 1997 letter to The Guardian, Tatchell defended an academic book about "boy-love," calling the work "courageous," before writing:

In 1996 Tatchell led an OutRage! campaign to reduce the age of consent in the UK to 14 years, to adjust for studies that showed nearly half of all young people had their first sexual experiences prior to 16 years old, regardless of sexuality. He stated that he wished to exempt these people from being "treated as criminals by the law," and that the campaign claimed there should be no prosecution if the difference in ages of the sexual partners was no more than three years, provided that these youths are given a more comprehensive sex education at a younger date.[79] He was quoted in the OutRage!'s press release as saying "Young people have a right to accept or reject sex, according to what they feel is appropriate for them".[80] Leo McKinstry, in The Sun, called the release "a perverts' charter".[81]

Tatchell contributed a chapter to the 1980 book Betrayal of Youth that questioned whether 16 was the appropriate age of consent, but did not make any specific recommendation for the appropriate age.[78] He wrote in 2012 that he would not have written for the book had he known that the editor and many of the other contributors were involved in paedophile advocacy.[78]

Age of consent laws

A number of African LGBTI leaders signed a statement condemning the interference of Tatchell and OutRage! in African issues,[76] which led Tatchell to respond that he favoured working with the radical LGBTI groups in Africa rather than the more conservative (according to him) leaders who had signed the statement. Tatchell and OutRage! published a refutation of the allegations.[77]

The LGBT press dubbed him "Saint Peter Tatchell" following further OutRage! campaigns involving religion.[75]

On 12 April 1998, Tatchell led an OutRage! protest, which disrupted the Easter sermon by Archbishop of Canterbury, with Tatchell mounting the pulpit to denounce what he claimed was Carey's opposition to legal equality for lesbian and gay people. The protest garnered media coverage and led to Tatchell's prosecution under the little-used Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860 (formerly part of the Brawling Act 1551), which prohibits any form of disruption or protest in a church.[71][72] Tatchell failed in his attempt to summon Carey as a witness and was convicted. The judge fined him the trivial sum of £18.60, which commentators theorised was a wry allusion to the year of the statute used to convict him.[73][74]

Peter Tatchell being interviewed by Natalie Thorne, deputy editor of Fyne Times, at a 'First Sunday' event, November 2007.

Some OutRage! activities were highly controversial. In 1994, it unveiled placards inviting ten Church of England bishops to "tell the truth" about what Outrage! alleged was their homosexuality and accusing them of condemning homosexuality in public while leading secret gay lives. Shortly afterwards the group wrote to twenty UK MPs, condemning their alleged support for anti-gay laws and claiming they would out them if the MPs did not stop what they described as attacks on the gay community. The MP Sir James Kilfedder, one such opponent of gay equality,[67] who had received one of the letters,[68] died two months later of a sudden heart attack on the day one of the Belfast newspapers planned to out him.[69][70] In a comment in The Independent in October 2003, Tatchell claimed the OutRage! action against the bishops was his greatest mistake because he failed to anticipate that the media and the church would treat it as an invasion of privacy.

In 1991, a small group of OutRage! members covertly formed a separate group to engage in a campaign of outing public figures who were homophobic in public but gay in private. The group took the name FROCS (Faggots Rooting Out Closeted Sexuality). Tatchell was the group's go-between with the press, forwarding their news statements to his media contacts. Considerable publicity and public debate followed FROCS's threat to out 200 leading public personalities from the world of politics, religion, business and sport. With Tatchell's assistance, members of FROCS eventually called a press conference to tell the world that their campaign was a hoax intended to demonstrate the hypocrisy of those newspapers that had condemned the campaign despite having themselves outed celebrities and politicians.[66]

Tatchell took part in many gay rights campaigns over issues such as Section 28. Following the murder of actor Michael Boothe on 10 May 1990, Tatchell was one of thirty people to attend the inaugural meeting of the radical gay rights non-violent direct action group OutRage! – although he was not a co-founder – and has remained a leading member.[64] The group fuses theatrical performance styles with queer protest. As the most prominent OutRage! member, Tatchell is sometimes assumed to be the leader of the group, though he has never claimed this, saying he is one among equals.[65]



On 16 May 2009, the day of the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow, Russian gay rights activists staged a protest in Moscow in defiance of the city's mayor, Yuri Luzkhov, who had long banned gay demonstrations and denounced them as "satanic".[60] Tatchell was among 32 campaigners arrested when they shouted slogans and unfurled banners.[61][62][63]

In May 2007 Tatchell returned to Moscow to support Moscow Pride and to voice his opposition to a ban on the march, staying at the flat of an American diplomat. On 27 May 2007, Tatchell and other gay rights activists were attacked. He was punched in the face and nearly knocked unconscious, while other demonstrators were beaten, kicked and assaulted.[57] A German MP, Volker Beck, and a European Parliament deputy from Italy, Marco Cappato, were also punched before being arrested and questioned by police.[58] Tatchell later said "I'm not deterred one iota from coming back to protest in Moscow."[59] On his release, Tatchell made a report on the incident to the American Embassy.

In May 2006 Tatchell attended the first Moscow Pride Festival. He appears in the documentary Moscow Pride '06 featuring this event.

Activities in Moscow

In 2006, he expressed concern for the Baloch people facing military operations in their homeland, Balochistan in Pakistan.[55] From 2007 to 2009, he campaigned in defence of two UK-based Baloch Muslim human rights activists, Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baluch, accused of terrorism charges and tried in London. Both men were acquitted in 2009. He alleged British and U.S. collusion with the suppression of the Balochs, including arms sales to Pakistan, which he says were used to bomb and attack Baloch towns and villages.[56]


[54] In September 2014, Tatchell advocated arming the

In 2003 Tatchell said he supported giving "massive material aid" to Iraqi opposition groups, including the "Shi'ite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq" (SCIRI), to bring down Saddam.[50] But in 2006 Tatchell noted that SCIRI had become markedly more fundamentalist and was endorsing violent attacks on anyone who did not conform to its increasingly harsh interpretation of Islam. He claimed that SCIRI, the leading force in Baghdad's ruling coalition, wanted to establish an Iranian-style religious dictatorship, with a goal of clerical fascism, and had engaged in "terrorisation of gay Iraqis", as well as terrorising Sunni Muslims, left-wingers, unveiled women and people who listen to western pop music or wear jeans or shorts.[53]

Tatchell opposed the fighter planes, heavy artillery and anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles".[50] While opposing western intervention, he advocated regime change from within in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria."[51] Tatchell has written that on 12 March 2003 he ambushed Tony Blair's motorcade in an anti-Iraq war protest. He forced Blair's limousine to stop, and then unfolded a banner that read "Arm the Kurds! Topple Saddam". He added that in terms of the political struggle within Britain (as opposed to struggles against absolute tyrants like Hitler and Saddam, where violent resistance can be the lesser of two evils): "I remain committed to the Gandhian principle of non-violence".[52] After the war he signed the 'Unite Against Terror' declaration, arguing that "the pseudo-left reveals its shameless hypocrisy and its wholesale abandonment of humanitarian values" by supporting resistance and insurgent groups in Iraq that resort to indiscriminate terrorism, killing innocent civilians.

Iraq War

For many years, he supported a green-red alliance. More recently, he helped launch the Green Left grouping within the Green Party. He urged links between trade unions and the Greens. On 27 April 2010, he urged Green Party supporters to vote for Liberal Democrats in constituencies where they had an incumbent MP or a strong chance of winning.[48]

Tatchell opposes nuclear power; instead he advocates concentrated solar power.[47] In Tribune, he pointed out the adverse effects of climate change: "By 2050, if climate change proceeds unchecked, England will no longer be a green and pleasant land. In between periods of prolonged scorching drought, we are likely to suffer widespread flooding."

On 16 December 2009, he withdrew as a candidate claiming brain damage from an assault while protesting in Brussels in 2001, while protesting in Moscow in 2007 and in a bus accident in July 2009.

In February 2000 Tatchell resigned from Labour, citing the treatment of Ken Livingstone during the nomination of a candidate for Mayor of London, and of similar cases in the Scottish and Welsh elections, as evidence that the party "no longer has any mechanism for democratic involvement and transformation".[45] He fought unsuccessfully for a seat on the London Assembly as an Independent candidate within the Green Left grouping, in support of Livingstone.[46] On 7 April 2004 he announced that he had joined the Green Party of England and Wales but did not envisage standing for election. However, in 2007, he became the party's parliamentary candidate for Oxford East.[5]

Green issues

[44]'s argument that the threat from the Soviet Union to the UK was exaggerated.Enoch Powell He quoted with approval [43] He wrote, "It is quite evident that the Soviet system today represents the complete opposite of everything that the left in the West is striving for..."[42] He condemned the Soviet Union's invasions of Czechoslovakia and of Afghanistan, as well as condemning its internal repression.[41] Regarding the United States, he felt that Europe had become too dependent on their military protection and that this was inappropriate given the differing interests of many European countries.[40]

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