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Gay rights hero Peter Tatchell named Campaigner of the Year

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  1. Well done Peter; he’s taken on Mugabee, the Russians, the mad man of iran and the Arch Homophobe of Rome!

  2. No stopping peter . . . brave is not the word.

    An all rounder when it comes to human rights activism

  3. Lefty Sunday rag votes Lefty activist. This carries about as much weight as the British Soap Awards.

  4. Simon Murphy 4 Jun 2009, 1:07pm

    Are you voting BNP today RobN?

  5. Nice one Mr Tatchell. A brilliant example of an active citizen.

  6. Simon, RobN has declared he votes UKIP, I agree might as well vote for the BNP

    So RobN – In what way is UKIP not homophobic and a supporter of human rights for all people.

  7. Jean-Paul 4 Jun 2009, 1:42pm

    Excuse my ignorance, but I’ve never heard of the Observer Ethical Awards. Is it just a co-incidence that the ‘Campaigner of the Year Award’ occurred on the eve of the elections? Cynical? Maybe.

    I willingly give the Peter Tatchell his due as a gay activist and I am happy that his years of dedication are being recognized publicly. Yea!

    Human rights would take an activist into the international scene. Native populations are being exploited by globalization. Native villages are being bulldozed to build hydro-electric damns in Bolivia or Columbia.

    Poverty-striken native men, women and children in Africa are being forced to pay, pay, pay every day, day, day for their own clean drinking water or forced to drink polluted, desease-bearing stagnant water after filtering it through a dirty T-shirt.

    The Vatican pays lip service to the Third World victims of multi-national exploitation of natural resources and secretly sleeps with the powers that be by condemning liberation theology.

    We are gay ‘and’ (not ‘but’) we are part of the human race.

  8. Proud of you, Peter. You deserve it. A big round of applause from all of us readers here at the Pink News website – the online magazine of all those who support gay rights activism. (Ignore any comments from reactionary outsiders, Peter.)

    Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration.

  9. Christina 4 Jun 2009, 1:57pm

    Peter Tatchell is an inspirational hero – a brave and tireless human rights campaigner. Well done to the Observer for giving him recognition in the form of this award.

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  11. Peter & Michael 4 Jun 2009, 2:00pm

    Ye! Yes! and rightly so, The Queen must bestow an honour to him as he has courageously fought for our rights.

  12. Congratulations, Peter. You deserve this award, and thanks for your tireless efforts on our behalf.

  13. Simon Murphy 4 Jun 2009, 2:34pm

    #11: Peter and Michael:

    Peter Tatchell is a republican – he would refuse an honour from the queen as he does not think she has any right to grant honours being unelected.

    I think he is an amazingly inspirational person.

  14. Well done Tatch!

  15. JohnK: Simon, “RobN has declared he votes UKIP, I agree might as well vote for the BNP”

    Judging from that naive and vacuous statement, you obviously have fuck all understanding of any party politics whatsoever. Actually, I have no idea what UKIP’s stance is on gay rights is, because frankly, they don’t even come on the bottom of my list of priorities. Now why don’t you go and piss off and vote for some gay-friendly party like Labour who will continue to utterly fuck this country up?

  16. Well done Peter, the harder the piggies squeal like RobN, the better I know you are working.

  17. Peter Piper` 4 Jun 2009, 4:07pm

    Great he well desrves it- wish we all had his courage

  18. Well done, Peter.

    Your work is an inspiration to us all.

  19. Jean-Paul 4 Jun 2009, 5:04pm

    Boys ‘o boys, it’s difficult lately to comment on the issue on PinkNews, Europe’s largest gay news organisation.

    Those of us who want to send Peter Tatchell a message could do it better by sending it to him at his e-mail address.

    Those of us who want to talk about who voted for who are on the wrong thread.

    4 out of 17 posts have spoken to the issue. 13 out of 17 posts have spoken outside the issue. Which posts are more relevant?

    But I’m not bitter.

  20. Well done Peter, you are an amazing inspiration!! Thankyou so much for everything you’ve done!!!

  21. Peter has been awarded a two-bit award nobody has ever herd of? He should be
    Knighted for services to the community for the lifetime of service he has given
    to our country! How many times has he put his life on the line for the good of
    the community.

    to nominate Peter for a Honouree (because he’s not British) Knighthood

  22. Craig – exactly . . . who would be couragous enough to make a citizens arrest on Mr Mugabe.

    How the British forgot about the loony left he had beome associated with. . . but then loved after that stunt.

    What a redemption!

  23. Poor RobN. He says he doesn’t like the gay scene (which just means he is not up to meeting other gay guys and gals in pubs and clubs for drinks and a laugh) and so he comes here to a website detailing progress and obstacles in the on-going battle against homophobia and towards full gay rights . . . and he can’t stand it here either. RobN, seriously, consider seeing a therapist or a counsellor, to help you with your social problems. You don’t have to live like this. It can’t be much fun.

  24. Sally:

    Sounds to me like you have a crush on RobN.

  25. I mean, this thread is about the Campaigner of the Year Award….

  26. Thank you Peter Tatchell! What a great man, truely inspirational.

  27. BrazilGayScene 4 Jun 2009, 11:22pm

    Yes, Thanks Peter.. You do what we ALL should.

    Well deserved!

  28. Sally: Drinks and a laugh? You mean hanging around in dark bars loitering in toilets? You mean anyone over 30 that dares venture in is viewed like something that just crawled out from under a rock?
    The gay scene is about as welcoming as sticking your genitals in a sandwich toaster.

    I for one can seriously do without your kind of laughs.

  29. I voted BNP today, so all you fags inc petter will be silenced!!

  30. Oh Mike, or is that mikke, What do you think the BNP is going to do to stop 2 to 3 million gay and bisexual people. Lock us up? Hang us? Honey this queen would march , protest etc etc etc, and I would not be alone. So piss off back to your pit bull and daytime TV. Your ignorance is insulting, not just to me , but to the human race at large.

  31. I’d just like to point out that I am Mike in comment 1, not Mike in comment 29 and I did NOT vote BNP(!)

  32. Jean-Paul 5 Jun 2009, 2:32pm

    Mike who voted BNP:

    The important thing is that you voted.
    How do you feel about Peter Tatchell receiving the Campaigner of the Year Award?

  33. Brian Burton 5 Jun 2009, 7:32pm

    I have followed Peter Tatchell’s fortunes since the days of Mary Whitehouse and the infamous ‘Blastphemy’ case which Peter lost in the High Court. Peter also lost his publication ‘Gay News’ and his shirt. But, what did he do? He picked himself up, dusted himself off and started all over again. So, nothing’s immpossible!

  34. Brian Burton 5 Jun 2009, 7:35pm

    My photo on the wall will be someone looking huggable!

  35. RobN, you do have a social problem, don’t you. Admit it. You can’t walk into a gay bar and strike up a healthy conversation with other guys (or the odd gal) and make friends. That’s what we’re all doing you know. You do us all an awful diservice using the description you used, saying it’s all about “loitering” and having sex in toilets! Anyway, sex goes on in toilets in straight pubs too you know. Don’t you even watch straight films? As a lesbian I have as many gay male friends as lesbian friends and I visit all sorts of pubs. Of course I don’t use the guys’ toilets but I’m pretty sure I would know if my gay male friends and everybody else in the whole pub was just there to go and have sex in the toilets. It really sounds to me like you need to get yourself some people skills. Life’s short. You need to enjoy yourself, make real friends OUT THERE in the real world, not just lurking on this website and attacking every piece of pink news. I say it kindly when I say to you, Get yourself a life, RobN.

  36. Brian Burton 5 Jun 2009, 10:30pm

    I don’t think RobN is gay at all, I think he is some kind of social outcast who cannot relate to anyone in the flesh, just writing to faceless people on here gives him a buzz of sorts.

  37. Well done Peter. I think he will be amused about a petition to make him a knight since he is staunchly republican.

  38. Brian Burton, hmmm, you could well be right. He’s been firing from a whole range of different positions for quite some time, has he not. On the other hand, he seems to feel comfortable amongst the gays, otherwise he wouldn’t have chosen this particular website – although I suppose he may be venting his spleen on umpteen other different websites as well for all we know.

  39. Note for our poor confused American readers:

    When people say Peter Tatchell wouldn’t accept a Queen’s Honour, such as a Knighthood, because he’s a republican, they mean that he is not a royalty-lover, that he like many wishes to see that outdated and feudal system swept aside and England become a republic.

    So, when we say he’s “republican” we mean he’s a true left-winger, a true democrat, who wants Britain to become a republic.

    Nothing to do with the American meaning of being “a Republican”.

  40. Jean-Paul 6 Jun 2009, 5:02pm


    You could just as well have said ‘…poor confused Canadian readers.’

    It never would have occured to me to interpret Tatchell’s Republicanism this way. In the States, a Republican is usually a right-winger, something like a Conservative here in Canada.

    That also explains AdrianT’s comment (37).

    Clever of you to realize how America could be confused by the use of the word ‘Republican’ to describe Peter Tatchell’s political penchant.

    In the same way, we over here don’t realize how many years Peter has been at it, and how much social distinction he deserves. It’s only been about a year and a half since I stumbled onto his website and I did recommend it to some friends because he writes so well, and also about relevant subjects. Someone told me he is actually a lawyer.

    So when I heard he was Republican, I put him in the same political theatre as Andrew Sullivan, an American who is admitedly leaning to the right, who is gay, and who writes about LGBT issues, often in Time Magazine.

    Andrew also has his own website. My partner and I remember clearly his comments about same-sex marriage. He wrote that with legislation in place, for the first time in history, a young gay man would be able to dream of meeting the the man of his dreams in terms of settling down in a monogomous relationship, an idea that does not necessarily go down well with all gays in the States.

    But to push the idea a bit further, on the off-chance that the British Monarchy decided to call it a day, and GB did become a Republic, then I imagine Peter’s politics would resemble those of the American Democrats or the Canadian Liberals or NDP’s (probably the latter).

    Interesting insight.

  41. Jean-Paul, no Peter is not a lawyer. I believe that he does not even have an undergraduate degree. He is entirely self-taught. He is a real self-starter. Extremely strongly motivated. He arrived in this country as a young man from Australia, with no more than a normal Aussie high school education. He got involved in ordinary (non-gay) local politics in North London (Hornsey if I remember correctly) and then became a Labour candidate in South London, in the area called Bermondsey, an area adjacent to the south side of the Thames. He wasn’t standing as a gay candidate but the main opposition in that area, the Libs, got wind that Peter was gay and there began the most horrendous smear campaign against him. All of this Peter recounted in his book “The Battle for Bermondsey”. It is an excellent read. Get hold of a copy. It really reveals what filthy dirty tricks some very bright and ambitious political candidates will get up to in order to just win a local by-election, or any election. The extraordinary thing is that the man behind the smear campaign, all the homophobia, Simon Hughes, is still around, a leading light of the current Liberal Democrats, our “third” political party in the UK, and that a few years ago he was outed in the press as having had gay relationships himself! His response was to admit that this was true and that he was “a bisexual”. He is generally now acknowledged as being “a bisexual”. A couple of years ago I reminded Simon Hughes of his vicious campaign against Peter way back in the battle for Bermondsey and asked why I should therefore accept that he truly stood for gay rights. He swept my question aside with something like, “Oh, come on, that’s all irrelevant now. Happened a long time ago!” Peter has apparently forgiven him publicly, but the fact is that Peter lived in fear for his life at that time as a result of the hatred stirred up by those who were standing against him. Simon Hughes and his team stirred up the very worst amongst the white working-class inhabitants of Bermondsey. It is currently quite a strong BNP area, very white, and still working-class apart from the fringe of professionals who have moved into the converted warehouses and new-builds clutching much of the south bank of the river.

  42. Brian Burton 7 Jun 2009, 4:41pm


    Thank you for all that enlightenment into the past and the total hypocracy of Hughs too. I do not think Peter would want MP status now, they are too tainted. Instead Peter is doing what he likes best, fighting the Gay-Rights corner and winning too.normandy 57c

  43. Jean-Paul 7 Jun 2009, 9:42pm


    Thanks for answering…and thanks for such a tremendous insight in so few words.

    I have the utmost respect for self-taught individuals. Very often, we study at universities without ever making a proper synthesis of our studies. A self-taught person studies with passion, his conscience is his guide. Peter writes so clearly that I took him for a lawyer.

    Briefly, I was just now commenting on the thread concerning Obama, and I was saying to Robert, ex-pat, Brit, that I believe we could be setting up educational or clinical programs to cure homophobia, programs that would go hand in hand with the fight for our rights.

    The reason for my conviction is that here in Canada we have our gay rights, and they are secured, but I notice that homophobia is on the rise, perhaps more subtle, but on the rise.

    For example, yesterday this story broke in Yahoo News Canada: ‘Book Examines Human Tragedy of RCMP Gay Purging’. It refers to a book entitled ‘Canada’s Voice: The Public Life of John Wendell Holmes’ (UBC Press) by Adam Chapnick.

    Google both these names to get a quick idea of the caliber of the scholarship we are talking about here.

    Chapnick describes the gay purge carried out by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police starting roughly about 10 years after Kinsey had published his famous ‘Report’ in 1948. Thousands of Canadian homosexuals were officially observed, arrested and questioned. Their jobs, their families were in the balance, etc.

    Few of these homosexuals have names on the records, but Chapnick found the entire file on Holmes and exposed the fact that a ‘fruit machine’ was used to force him to confess to a same-sex relationship he had had in Russia as a top diplomate. (‘Fruit machine = measuring the sexual reaction to porn’)

    This was 2 years before Dearden directed the movie ‘Victim’ in which Sir Dirk Bogarde played the role of an homosexual being balckmailed, and 3 years before Otto Preminger directed ‘Advise and Consent’ in which Don Murray played Brig Anderson, a senator with a secret. Who says movies do not reflect reality?

    At the end of the story on Yahoo News, readers are invited to leave a short comment, and of course I couldn’t resist, having had my formal education at the PinkNews Academy of Speaking Your Mind.

    At the same time, we can see comments left by others. One of the comments floored me, struck me right on the forehead. Someone called Muad’Did had left two words: ‘F@gs everyware’. I reported him instantly and his post was shortly removed because I insisted it was a crime in this country to incite hatred and/or violence against a legitimate minority group whose rights were protected…

    Similarly, in England Simon Hughes is still around. That alone is a major threat to gay liberation.

    Homophobia is a mental illness that can be cured, as is well explained in Bruce Hilton’s ‘Can Homophobia Be Cured?’. Hilton, an American, is director of the National Center for Bioethics and a syndicated weekly columnist.

    When all is said and done, having a homophobic comment removed from the Internet is easy compared to helping someone suffering from this subtle and sanctimonious mental illness.

    Call me crazy, but my hope for gay rights in America are with Obama for the moment.

    Also, I wonder if Peter Tatchell has ever written on a cure for homophobia.

  44. Brian Burton 8 Jun 2009, 7:30am

    Peter Tatchell is no different from anyone else as far as ‘Awards’ go-He’ll accept. Strikes me, the people who think Peter Tatchell would’nt accept a ‘Gong’ from the Queen is talking out of their hat!

  45. RobN: “The gay scene is about as welcoming as sticking your genitals in a sandwich toaster.”

    And you wonder why with your lack of social graces and racist crap. The gays don’t love me, so I’ll bad mouth the lot of them on a gay site to make me feel better… Boo-f–king-hoo.

  46. Good point, Will. No wonder RobN has clearly had lack of success in striking up conversation with nice blokes in gay pubs. RobN, you need to go in with a positive attitude. If you walk in the door with “I loathe these filthy queers” in your head, it’s going to show, BIG TIME, and you’re not going to make pals. You need to go in with something more like, “I love these guys, they are me, and I am like them, we are family” in your head, and then you’ll make friends and your voice will add to the hub-bub of chat that fills the air. It’s so fantastic that when you go into gay pubs these days there are so many circles of guys, and girls, chatting chatting chatting. It’s so healthy.

  47. Jean-Paul,

    The idea of clinics which specialise in the treatment of homophobia. Brilliant. Homophobia is a mental illness. It needs treatment programmes.

    Interesting to hear that you perceive that homophobia is on the rise in Canada.

    Good for you for taking immediate, and relatively simple and easy action, to report that guy who left the hatred-inciting comment. If only all of we gays and lesbians took immediate spontaneous action like that. Unfortunately the self-image of so many gay people is still poor (not their fault usually) so that when homophobic abuse hits them they just take it. I’ve done it myself. We all seek the comfort zone. It’s so much easier to be passive.

    I should add that Simon Hughes is not a threat to gay liberation today. He now has this unspoken reputation as being “a bisexual” and he is one of the leading lights of the LibDems and he now enjoys (as “a bisexual”) the freedom that the real gaylibbers, like Peter Tatchell and others, fought for so hard. After having been outed by the press, he is now only able to proclaim LibDem policy in regular TV interviews and the like because there is a degree of acceptance of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in parliament. I don’t believe we’ve had a transgender MP yet though, as New Zealand has done for example, and I think that shows the true state of gaylib progress in the UK.

    Any ideas on how people would arrive at the point where they received treatment at the new Homophobia Clinics? I can’t imagine someone going along to their doctor and saying, “Oh, doctor, doctor, I’m in such pain, I have this awful problem, it’s really making a total mess of my life. I hate homos and it’s killing me everytime I see one. Is there anything you can do?” (Funny, isn’t it! And why? Because we can’t imagine it happening!) So, maybe the first step, but only after the Clinics have been built are ready to receive the suffering, is to launch a Canada-wide campaign, along the lines of

    “Are YOU suffering from homophobia?
    Does the sight of a homosexual give you the heebie-jeebies?
    Well, hey, no need to suffer!
    Not any more!
    Ring your local Homophobia Clinic NOW!
    Phone 84948 48948 and book your appointment NOW!
    Soon, you’ll be passing homosexuals on the street, in the workplace, or even at home,
    and be totally stress-free!
    Now, think about!
    Aren’t you worth it?
    Dial NOW: 84948 48948”

  48. Jean-Paul 8 Jun 2009, 2:49pm


    Thanks. Actually I did surprise myself when I instantly reported the hate message left on Yahoo Canada News. It’s not the kind of thing I would have done before exercising my right to freech speach on PinKNews, believe me. Like you say, we naturally seek the comfort zone. But what a sense of satisfaction I felt when I saw the hateful remark removed from the site.

    A Transgender MP in New Zealand? Are you talking about Georgina? I saw her story on TV and I wish I had recorded it. When I talk about it around here, nobody wants to believe me, but she sure impressed me. I believe she’s a Labour MP with deep roots in New Zealand’s native population.

    Ideas of how to implement clinics to cure homophobia? The idea is to have clinical support for homophobes, the rest is education, isn’t it? I’m not sure if you’re agreeing with me or not.

    Maybe it’s not a good idea. It would have to start with school consellors, I suppose, when schoolyard bullying occurs. I didn’t launch the idea because I had all the answers, but since homophobia in inherent in the Abrahamic religions…. it would need some brainstorming, because I don’t think that censorship, which is essentially what I did, leaves a dent in a homophobe’s attitude. If anything, he’s probably more homophobic than he was before I exposed him. My knowledge of human nature is no better than anyone else’s.

    And what’s worse is that I, like so many others, am inclined to hate other members of the the LGBT population. I was dismayed by the name-calling on certain threads. Seems to be getting better since Ben Cohen intervened.

    Can you tell me why we are inclined to tell other gays what they are instead of asking them to tell us what they are. The RCC does that. It tells me what a gay person is. I answer, I’m gay and I will tell YOU what it means to be gay, not the other way round. Then I swear a little bit.

    Why do we pick on each other, Eddy? I do it, others do it. Are we the ones who need clinical help or what? Why do we expect other gays to behave the way we do? It’s ‘Boys in the Band’ all over again, isn’t it?

    We punch, we can’t take a punch, and we punch back, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We’re in a rut, and we’re depriving ourselves from getting to know each other as ordinary guys who have made ordinary choices for ordinary reasons.

    Am I babbling?

    Homophobia on the rise in Canada. Holy f*ck! Jean Guy and I went to a musical concert a few weeks ago. Like everyone else I shouted ‘Bravo’ every now and then. During the intermission, a women who was sitting two rows ahead of us and whose husband had gone to university with Jean Guy, took him aside and told him: ‘Will you please tell your ‘chum’ to shut up during the performance. There are civilized people here.’ F*****ck!

    At the end of the performance, I waited till she was in the aisle, and I confronted her with a smile and a mischievous look in my eyes and I made g*ddamn sure she saw me giving her the finger. I swear I saw a look of glee on her husband’s face. Jean Guy was shocked and left me standing there alone. He took a cab home, and we didn’t talk for 2 days, first time in 19 years. Do I feel any remorse? Not one iota, I would do it again anytime I pay $40 for a ticket. Your ‘chum’ indeed!

    It’s subtle, but I see it. We notice it instinctively. My kid sister calls me ‘Madame’, then says ”cuse me, I meant Monsieur.’ I’dlke to punch her lights out, but then she would go around telling everyone how abusive I was. It’s like trying to get away from an octopus! PRIMAL SCREAM ! ! !

    I do carry on.

  49. Jean-Paul, I said I think your idea of Homophobia Clinics is brilliant. It’s when you think deeper about how they would operate, that one sees that the thought is so original and before its time that it just doesn’t fit with how things are at the moment. In a future much-improved world I can see them existing. We’ve got a long way to go before then, though. The only way I can see them operating today is if a government turned rather authoritarian and used powers to FORCE individuals to attend them. Judges might send those convicted of incitement to hatred, for example, to a Homophobia Clinic as part of their rehabilitation.

    As for your questions about strong use of language and confrontation, I think it is no less an example of taking “direct action”, “confrontational action”, against others than your giving that woman at the theatre your finger. Sometimes when people exhibit symptoms of pig-headedness and stubbornness, or outright stupidity, they have to be kicked in the teeth and really shaken so that they experience such emotional disturbance that they forced to justify themselves and may possibly, as a result, question the beliefs they have held.

    I am forever grateful to those who in my past did not always treat me sweetly but rounded on me and call a spade a fucking spade!

    By the way, this kind of direct speech is very much part of modern British life. I know it’s still frowned upon to a large extent in the USA and in Canada. Less so in Australia and New Zealand, interestingly enough.

    The direct style of Pink News is nothing in comparison with the way people thrash things out in The Guardian’s Talk threads. Thinking of that, I must try to return there more often. Though there are nutters on Pink News, one is generally amongst family, while on The Guardian’s Talk threads one is among very articulate people of a much broader spectrum, with gays in the minority.

  50. Jean-Paul 9 Jun 2009, 6:06am


    Touché ! So you were sincere when you said it was a brilliant idea. Yea, I know what you mean about implementing it. It is probably propelled by an unconcious wish to blow the Vatican off the face of the earth. How could I say such a thing?

    It felt so good giving her the finger. When they were all at univesity together, they all went to the same parties. JG spoke to me often about her, because her husband, who was then JG’s room-mate on campus, woud spend the evening literally under her on a sofa during the party. She couldn’t keep her hands off him, and wouldn’t let anyone anywhere near him. How civilized was that?
    And she was just putting JG down when she called me his ‘chum’. That word when used in French has the same connotation as ‘faggot’. She got off lightly with a finger, and her husband, who knows me and my family, was glad to see someone doing to her what he had failed to do so often. Life is so complicated, eh.
    Or do we get more touchy as we get older. Who knows.

    One of the first things I noticed about PinkNews threads was the direct way people spoke (wrote) to each other. I can now understand what you’re saying about it being part of British life, but at first I didn’t know what to make of it. It seemed to be ‘honest talk’, yet it wan’t quite what I had expected. Naïté.

    This is the kind of insight you don’t find in tourist brochures!

    Peter Tatchell must be devastated with the results of the elections. And what about international affairs. Obama is slightly black!

  51. Jean-Paul 9 Jun 2009, 6:10am


  52. “Life is so complicated, eh.”

    Yup, absolutely.

    I’ve decided it is wise to jettison all thought of attaining a state of happiness or bliss. I’ve decided I’m likely to get more contentment out of life by enjoying overcoming the constant parade of little (or large!) miseries that life presents! They never stop coming, do they! The devil cannot be conquered! The bugger keeps rearing his fucking ugly head! :-)

  53. Amen to that, brother.


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