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Peter Tatchell: Don’t criminalise homophobic Christians

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  1. Agree with you 100%, Peter.

  2. More on the subject from someone else agreeing with Peter T.

    http://hurryupharry.org/2011/01/12/christian-homophobes-should-not-be-criminalised/

    And quite right too.

  3. Whoops. Just realised that is exactly the same article.

    That Peter T, he gets around!

  4. “I defend freedom of expression but not when it results in discrimination.”

    Think this is the key line in the article. I agree freedom of speech is a valuable entity in a democracy, but not if it overrides the “harm principle” (Defined as: A basic principle of libertarian politics that no one should be forcibly prevented from acting in any way he chooses provided his acts are not invasive of the free acts of others)

    1. So the harm principle is okay despite it being “invasive of the free acts” of the speaker? You can’t have it both ways. Either Speech is free or it isn’t.

  5. While I could never claim to have been threatened as such, I have had a lifetime of unnecessary comments and remarks that are very upsetting and can ruin your day.
    I think that anything you cannot help like race, colour, sex, sexual orientation or disability, then I believe bobody should have the right to pick fault with it!!!

  6. de Villiers 12 Jan 2011, 2:34pm

    I agree entirely with Peter.

  7. Jock S. Trap 12 Jan 2011, 2:36pm

    I have no problem with freedom of speech in whatever non violent way it takes. However if a anyone Christian or whatever had made even slight racist comments they wouldn’t be packed of with compensation and an apology. They would have been fined and probably rightly have a criminal record. People of religion is a choice. I don’t choose to be gay, this is the way I was born. So if religious people Choose to be homophobic then they should be treated just like any other criminal. No excuses, no exceptions.

    I agree people should express what they wish but is it still right that while racism and racist speech is rightly considered hate speech to incitement. This is deemed unacceptable behaviour to most people will stand and make a point of it when hearing it in public, regardless of race.

    So if it treated like that for racism then way not homophobia? We’ve had to fight for the rights we have today, with more still to go for. So since when must we fall back into be ‘legally’ abused when we know full well this wouldn’t be right for any other groups in society. If we expect to be treated the same then shouldn’t we demand the same?

    It has come from years of society realising that to treat people as separate is wrong. I’m not saying racism is not about because I know it is but as a rule society has progressed and that has come from years of learning what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour and speech. In most it has created a better country. So why not that be the same example for the LGBT community.

    If we say that ‘Oh well people should be able to speak homophobia’ without making a similar stand and instead of saying ‘ sorry but that’s wrong, we deserve better’ where does that leave us.

    Divided?

    How is hearing a preacher in the street condemning us to hell etc any different to those who hear it in the work place or on the estate where they live. Should we really be saying that is right. I’m sorry but I don’t think so.

    People have the right ot freedom of speech but we should have the right to make a stand and use the law (with it’s full support) to make sure people know abuse cannot be toleranted.

    Freedom of speech is rightly a precious thing but with that comes responsibility.

  8. Red Gosans 12 Jan 2011, 2:42pm

    There’s a difference between standing on the street corner and saying “I believe that “x” is sinful and those who do “x” will spend eternity in hell.” and saying “”x” is a sin and all those who believe this should kill/beat up/bully etc the people who practice “x”.” One is free speech, one is hate crime.

    As humans, we need to truly understand where the line is drawn and realise that with freedom comes responsibility to not take these freedoms for granted and to not misuse them. :)

  9. Jock S Trap, I totally agree with you and I think others here haven’t thought carefully enough about the effect of what Tatchell is saying.

    If a street-preacher was stood there bleating on about how blacks are a lower form of life, he’d be quickly locked away.

    Well, we gays are no different from blacks. Blacks can’t help being blacks and gays can’t help being gays.

    So Peter is just plain wrong on this one. He’s trying to be a little too clever for his own good IMO and he ought to retract what he’s said.

  10. Hear, hear, Peter! I have been arguing for some time on these boards that freedom of speech is the hallmark of a civilized society, but the militant shills who appear to inhabit these forums always react like a braying pack of attack dogs. They just don’t appear to get it, and fail to see how the hatred and vitriol they spew at those with opposing viewpoints makes them no different to those they label as bigoted and intolerant. In short they become indistinguishable from those they accuse of homophobic “thought crimes”, for want of a better term, content as they are to see society imprisoned in an authroitarian come totalitarian police state the likes of which would make even George Orwell shudder. “Freedom of speech includes accepting the right of other people to say things that we may find disagreeable and even offensive. It also involves keeping a sense of perspective.” Peter, you took the words right out of my mouth. With wise and learned thinkers like you around, there is still hope for our community yet – if only it would stop playing the damn victim all the time!

  11. I generally agree with Peter Tatchell and I admire him hugely. However, in this case I tend to agree with what Jock and Will have said. I think there is a limit to free speech and I don’t think hate speech should use free speech as a cover.

    Jock’s right about racism – and the Bible was used to defend that too (in ways so nasty I won’t expand on that here) and I dislike the fact that such ‘biblical’ racism wouldn’t be tolerated now yet ‘biblical homophobia’ is.

  12. Dear Peter T

    I really enjoyed your article – superbly articulated. I actually found myself agreeing with everything your said, well almost everything – I still have some sympathy with the Bulls but recognise your point.

    I hope you won’t think of me as being homophobic if we were ever to meet – but just maybe you will. I realise some of my Christian friends look on you with suspicion – you are a pretty bad man if I believe all that has been written about you and, moreover, quite adept at sabotaging meetings … but I would love to enage in conversation with you (and my friends) and while there will no doubt be areas where will have to agree to disagree, I would like to think the outcome would be overall positive.

    Kind regards etc.

  13. “Peter, you took the words right out of my mouth.”

    So, William, you now agree with the principle of what Peter Tatchell means by saying “I defend freedom of expression but not when it results in discrimination”? This is the “harm principle” permitting free speech, but not at the expense of the rights or persecution of another. There is no such thing as unlimited “free speech”, for obvious reasons, even Mr. Tatchell agrees with that.

  14. Segue to the recent incident where the BBC appartently deliberately but unnecessarily promoted the abhorrent opinions of known anti-gay extremist Stephen Green, giving him a platform to comment on the birth of Elton and David’s baby by surrogacy.

    The issue with this is not that Stephen Green should be deprived of his right to freedom of speech but that the BBC need not have actively sought to publicise his extremist anti-gay views… this could not have been done to create balanced reporting as the BBC subsequently claimed but to create needless controversy.

    As a self-appointed representative of the anti-gay industry Stephen Green has no expertise in family matters or of the raising of children, his anti-gay comments added nothing of interest nor value to the issue of surrogacy though his appearance may have increased the celbrity and influence of this unworthy person and given added legitimacy to his abhorrent views about gays and about women.

  15. Jock S. Trap

    Here we go again, ‘it’s alright for all those black people, they get justice, but us poor gays always get the rough end of the stick’.

    Yawn.

    A street preacher is someone who is not in an place of employment and not in a confined area where the person offended has to remain to earn a living. That’s the difference between him saying it and a colleague saying it. Thin air witnessing homphobic words on the street doesn’t have a duty of care to protect passing shoppers. Employers do.

    I just get the impression that you are one of those selfish types that wants all laws to be amended so that no-one can criticise you. I suspect you take the same kind of stance with any criticism of your behaviour. You need to understand something important because if you had any kind of influence on the judicial system, you would probably do a lot of damage. If there is legislation against Christian groups expressing their views, then we will get a backlash against us. I’d rather have a few nasty, but non-violent, words here and there from the odd crackpot on the corner than too much legislation pushing the country into the hands of the extreme right. Because that is exactly what could happen. Then, we would be the ones who would end up being silenced by them legislating to suit their own wish not to be criticised.

    If we keep the status quo, then we have the same opportunities to criticise our opponents. And, if that means the street preacher is allowed to call blacks a sub-human form of life to make things equal between minorities, then so be it.

  16. The thing is, what if someone utters similar bigoted and disgusting comments about gay people and as a result, we see an increase in gay bashing and murder. Do we construe that its not related to the commitment of those heinous crimes or doesn’t influence homophobes to go out and do just that? Where does responsibility begin or end? What if the perpetrators of violent crimes admit under oath that they did it as a result of hearing anti-gay remarks? Who should the blame be ascribed to? The victims?

  17. Robert

    Interesting questions. Why don’t you answer them from your own perspective and see what people on here think? We could get somewhere on this debate.

  18. This is the guy who a few years ago walked into a synod and demanded that they execute him because that’s what it says in the bible.

    Wasn’t he upset at the church’s ‘freedom of speech’ then? Now he is fine with it. Make your mind up Peter.

  19. A I sais on Peters faceboo:

    They can say what they want in the church or in a private conversation, but when they get up in a public space and use hate language then they must take responsibility for the words they utter. I get fed up of people using free speech as a get out clause. You are most certainly free to say anything you want, but you must take responsibility for those words too.

    I cant walk into a crowded space and yell fire without expecting to face the consequences of my action.

  20. I’m increasingly reaching the view that there is only one real benchmark to be applied to all kinds of homophobic expression: “Would comments/displays/actions of this kind be acceptable on a racial or ethnic theme?” And if the answer is that such behaviour would breach race equality rights, then its homophobic equivalent would surely breach equality rights around sexual orientation.

    There’s no logical way to argue that the standards of proof, and the thresholds for formal action by appropriate authorities should be different between the two equalities strands.

  21. Noel Dolan 12 Jan 2011, 4:08pm

    Is there a reason why my previous comments have been censored?

  22. @Paul – In that case, it isn’t that he was upset with the church’s freedom of speech (i.e. what the Bible claims), but challenging it. And that’s the point that he and others are trying to make.

    Censorship isn’t what’s going to make hateful, bigoted speech and thoughts go away. People will still think them, and in some cases that will grow as they’ll then be able to mutter that it’s the “damn gays” who are censoring his freedom of speech, just as many in America will mutter that, because of Affirmative Action, it’s the “damn blacks” who are stealing his jobs.

    The intention of limiting censorship on slurs and bigoted statements is not to embrace those or say that they are in any way acceptable, but to challenge them when they arise. As many frequently forget, freedom of speech does not mean that anything anyone ever says has to be accepted, it means “[you] have the right to say what you want, but [I] have the right to argue against it.”

  23. Litmus test: substitute ‘woman, black, jew, muslim etc’ for ‘gay’…..is it Offensive? Damaging? Criminal?…..YES! Simples!

  24. This parliament will be the last big counter-push of religion and the Tories are behind it. Belief in religion is collapsing while atheist and agnostic memberships are increasing. Stat’s say by 2050 nobody will be going to church.

    They still just don’t get it! I say give them all the free speach they want.

  25. Can i stand outside a church and rant that all Christians are sinful, hypocrites and should go to hell? Or would i get arrested?

  26. downeastcajun 12 Jan 2011, 5:29pm

    sorry, homophobes are homophobes, no matter which flavor religious delusion they participate in. prosecute, prosecute, prosecute!

  27. Exactly Helen, free speech comes with free consequences, if you can’t or won’t deal with the free consequences that follow on from your free speech and worse, you expect to be protected from criticism for speaking freely, then you should simply keep it shut.

  28. Dan Filson 12 Jan 2011, 5:51pm

    As ever, Peter Tatchell can provoke thought and discussion (and gives good value to those who help his Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund). He should not retract his remarks but it is open to everyone, who so wants, to disagree with him. I don’t think it makes any difference whether the homophobes are Christian or otherwise. I have my doubts that it should be lawful for someone to abuse a passer-by, without redress. What is more I don’t think the onus should be on the passer-by to press charges or seek a prosecution. Whether it is racism or sexist or homophobic, abuse that intimidates and makes someone feel awful, and may incite others to acts of violence, is unacceptable in a civilised society and should be stopped, First Amendment or not. But if a Christian or other faith believes – and states – homosexuality to be a sin, let them do so and be argued out of their folly rather than prosecuted. It is how they express their views that is key, not (just) what those views are.,

  29. @Will

    // “I defend freedom of expression but not when it results in discrimination.”

    Think this is the key line in the article. I agree freedom of speech is a valuable entity in a democracy, but not if it overrides the “harm principle” (Defined as: A basic principle of libertarian politics that no one should be forcibly prevented from acting in any way he chooses provided his acts are not invasive of the free acts of others) //

    mmm…this is such a subtle issue.

    Ofc, I agree with Peter and with you, Will, but my gut instinct is to lash out at hate-mongers and homophobic fundamentalists.

    Here in Canada, for example, I have yet to wrap my mind around the Ezra Levant case…and it upsets me to no end.

  30. Not so sure about Peter these days, not since he caved in on the pope’s arrest. Would have loved to have seen him have a go! What a lark.

    However, it is best to let the courts decide these matters in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. Freedom of expression can be restricted in specified circumstances, for example, protecting the basic rights of others.

  31. Deeside Will 12 Jan 2011, 6:21pm

    I’m no fan of Peter Tatchell, but I agree with him 100% on this one. Freedom of speech is essential in a civilised, democratic society. There is no right not to be offended. As long as people aren’t threatening or inciting violence against others, they should be free to talk trash, even offensive trash, to their hearts’ content. We don’t need to stop their mouths; we have right on our side.

  32. JackAlison 12 Jan 2011, 6:25pm

    The U.N. declaration of human rights uses the term INALIENABLE rights. That means these rights are NOT up for debate or majority vote but rather are innate to the entire genus of the human species. Gay ppl are also part of this human species. When we allow certain groups to debate, to debase and somehow dehumanize certain minority groups that include gay ppl. then we begin a slow but concerted effort toward de-sensitizing our empathy, our humanity to this group. Christians, in particular have had a long 2000 year history of using cherry picked texts from the Bible for the subjugation of others for political ends that hurt, maim, kill, incite hatred, start wars and a myriad of other decidedly unchristian practices that subvert others. To use the argument of freedom of speech for all is a difficult issue. However, someone standing on a street corner telling passersby that Gays are going to hell is NOT freedom of speech. It is an insult to civilized free speech and subverts this INALIENABLE right to LIVE as a free human being without harassment and therefore such bile should be kept in the house of God!? Where it belongs.

  33. When christians stop criminalising homosexuals, I will stop criminalising christians.

    As long as christians think I’m scum for being gay, I will think christians are scum.

    There is no such thing as freedom of speech. For example, I cannot go into the city centre and preach that jews are christ killers and they should be exterminated in gas chambers for killing jesus. And quite rightly so.

    Peter has got it wrong on this one.

  34. One word, karma. Christianity has been killing, imprisoning and condemning homosexuals for centuries.

  35. Jonnyboybrum 12 Jan 2011, 7:02pm

    @ JackAlison – not sure where you have got 2000 years from – the romans tried to exterminate them but that didn’t do much damage to them. So I don’t think arresting and prosecuting a street preacher is going to have much effect.

    I think we either have freedom of speech or we don’t have freedom of speech. Freedom of speech with conditions attached is not freedom of speech. And someone saying gays are going to hell is preaching the Almighty will be doing that, not some bloke in the street.

    Homophobia exists but I can’t see some lager swilling skinhead football fan going on a queer-bashing spree having heard a street preacher. And I would like to give more credit to may fellow citizens that they are not going to either.

  36. I find the issue a fuzzy one. There’s a lot of shades of grey about what constitutes “criminal”, “incitement” or “harm”.
    In certain situations people are racist and homophobic. Most can agree that they are offensive (at least to some people) but does it always follow that casual racism and homophobia is a criminal offence? There’s a sliding scale of offence and incitement between a bigoted relative going “off on one” over Xmas dinner about various minorities and Hitler addressing the Nuremberg rally and I’ve never been able to decide precicely where that line in the sand should be drawn.
    At one end of the scale people say “I disagree with what you say [and think you’re a blowhard bigot] but defend to your death the right to say it” and at the other end we start discussing war crimes.
    John Stuart Mill’s “harm principle” is a little ambiguous on this point. At what stage is harm instigated? When someone says “I hate minorities”, when someone says “I hate minorities and so should my loyal audience of unquestioning drones” or when someone says “I hate minorities and I think everyone who agrees with me should get a baseball bat and put their money where their mouth is”?

  37. Jock Strao and Rob C – totally agree wit you 2 here – Peter Thatchel is totally wrong and I really don’t know where he is going with this one – it simply an encouragement, a go ahead for more fundamentalists…the Christian Care org want to remove the word “insulting” from the public order law , have quote PT as supportive of this and I just think this is simply wrong…leave the law as it is, give better guidance to police on how to use it but we need some kind of deterrents…Where do we stop with freedom of speech…..

  38. “I defend freedom of expression but not when it results in discrimination.”

    Sure. Great concept but how does one put it into practice? Who defines precisely what is, and is not acceptable?

    The words ‘goose’ and ‘gander’ spring to mind. Either we all say what we want, or we all shut up. Free speech is the apex of any democratic society, and I would much rather put up with religious rants than be told I am not allowed to say what I want.

  39. The Heretic Philosopher 12 Jan 2011, 8:32pm

    I agree with Peter as well. We do of course have the right to disagree with, to question and criticise the views of these street preachers so next time I see one I’ll be ready with deep and penetrating theological and philosophical questions, & biblical scholarship to rip them to shreds. That’ll be my contribution to freedom of speech and if the police try to arrest ME I shall highlight the apsects of UK Law which give me the right to question and criticise that pesky street preacher by showing them printed copies of them.

  40. I agree with the protection of free speech and with the sentiments of the article, but I have one point to make: when gay people criticise Christianity there are no real consequences apart from some disgruntled Christians. When Christians call homosexuals disgusting and diseased, they are giving liscence to “christian” children to go out and bully gay kids, which can have horrible consequences as we have recently seen in the US.

  41. I’m with Jock and Will on this one. If it is a criminal offense to publicly spew racist comments (and I think it should be, BTW), then homophobic comments should be prosecuted as well. Why should I have to put up with homohating speech just because someone THINKS it should be fine to spew this garbage?

  42. Free speech is certainly the hallmark of a democratic society, but with democracy emerges an ethical duty; and therefore with freedom of opportunity to express ideas also comes responsibility.

    I keep hearing the argument that freedom of expression should be upheld at all cost. Responsibility and freedom of expression cannot be mutually exclusive in a democratic society. Freedom of expression therefore necessitates an ethical responsibility in a democracy.

    Moreover, is it really ethical to allow Christians to propagate beliefs which can be used to excuse violence? More specifically, if Christians are allowed to promote the idea that Homosexuality is an abomination before God, in what way does legitimizing stigma in the name of religious freedom; also allow a culture of tolerance to flourish towards LGBT people.

  43. Peter is right. At the same time, Christian placard waving nutbags must accept ridicule and contempt, when they demonstrate, as their enemy-loving lord and master warned them, in Matthew 10:22.

    It is always a joy to tell these Jesus fanatics what I think of them – by silencing the placard wavers, you are also taking away my right to make fun of them. So, for my sake, I support Peter as well. :-)

  44. Why not roll back time completely and become total victims again, what’s the point of not allowing a christian B&B owner to discriminate against us while still allowing him to plaster his walls with posters of homophobiic rants that gays are sinful….It’s a such a fne line…get rid of the public order act (whch is a much lesser offence that a hate crime anyway and by the way we live in the UK in 2011 and not in Uganda or in times long past) and then what deterrent do we have…better something than nothing at all to stop the onslaught of anti gay sentiments…why do you think there are such few ranting buffons …we’re not all atheists, we’re not all militant…a quite relgious gay person being told that he will go to hell and that is gayness is sinful is insulting. harassing and very disturbing…It doesn’t lead to a harmonious society…I’m not on the side of anti gay christians, I don’t want the law changed…

  45. I CAN NOT agree. Bet you the same wouldn’t rub had he been condemning being black. He’d have got dragged away for inciting hatred and shoved behind bars without hesitation.

    Being gay is no more a choice than being black, but people think it is because whilst being black is physical being gay is behavioural.

    Fair is fair. If they can criticise the gays, they can criticise the blacks, women, left-handedness and so on and so on. How does that gel with people here?

  46. Dan Filson 13 Jan 2011, 1:48am

    What is interesting about this debate is we are having it in a civilised way – those who strongly support Peter, on the unfettered (unalienable, even) right to free speech, and those who believe that this right carries certain responsibilities. As I said earlier, Peter sure can put the cat among the pigeons and create debate. Which is good. Democracy thrives on intelligent debate.
    I still do not know for certain where I stand.

  47. Dan – Care have already sumitted their “debate” to remove the word “insulting” from section 5 of the public order act when the freedom bill is debated , the Christian inst have been banging on about it for awhile and quote PT as one of the people who want to remove it

    http://www.christian.org.uk/wp-content/downloads/thoughtcrimes_oct10.pdf

    My argument is that there may have been some abuse of the word insulting but nevertheless it greatly concerns the chrisitan inst and others and it is a deterrent to them for more verbal atacks towards gay people… I say keep the law as it is as an additional deterrent , let people think seriously before blurting out anti gay propaganda….the threat that something isn’t quite legal is good and not bad , it makes you think before you actually say something….we aren’t all interested in human rights issues like PT and possibly the human rights issue is clouding a gay protection/rights issue here, although saying something abusive to gay people such as it is a sin and that we will go to hell isn’t my idea of freedom of speech….we’re pretty carefull what we say about black, asian , jews etc in the UK and all of us should be trained to be careful what we say about gay people…this law surely helps that….

    Can PT guarantee that removing this word from the act or removing the act completely won’t lead to an increase in anti gay propoganda amoung christian and other institions etc?

  48. JackAlison 13 Jan 2011, 9:31am

    @Jonnyboybrum Ok, let’s get real practical here…. substitute the gay word for Jew or the ‘N’ word for black. You know full well that this sort of discrimination is not only unacceptable but the person concerned would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Why is gay the new poster boy for the wrath of God? I do not need to remind you that the church only recently has given a half baked apology for its bile against the long history of Jewish persecution. The church continues to use Old Testament biblical text and male patriarchal tradition to somehow decrease the value of Women in the C of E so there are few women Bishops. Christianity also used Bible texts to support slavery before the abolitionists. More importantly I don’t see why my taxes give tax exemption to organizations that continue to fuel hate. The real kicker about all this is that the aggressors are now the ‘victims?!’ Not a day goes by when some nut bag Christian gets all teary eyed about their loss of freedom of speech rights being taken away. Plu-ease !!!! After 2000 years of this most benighted callous ruthless philosophy? I’m sorry, time’s up. You either show respect to all the human family or you lose your tax exempt, not –for –profit status and well and truly cut ties with the state. Enough is enough!
    and PS…just for the record
    2011AD
    Anno Domine =after Christ

  49. Jack Alison wrote:
    “Enough is enough!
    and PS…just for the record
    2011AD
    Anno Domine =after Christ”

    Instead I much prefer the non-Christian
    BCE (Before Common Era) and
    CE (Common Era)
    Why not give it a try.

  50. Peter Tatchell has done a lot of good things but at the end of the day, just like politicians, he’s an attention-seeker.

    And with all the progress there’s been in gay lib he’s running out of attention-seeking gambits!

    This latest statement from him is just another example of him trying to stir things up by thinking of something controversial.

    But unfortunately this time Peter Tatchell has s gone too far . . . and he’s said something ridiculous and he’s sabotaged his whole previous position. As I say, it’s all part of Tatchell wanting to be in the spotlight.

    Sorry, Peter, but as Paul22 says, you would be the first to agree that it should be illegal for anyone to mouth off hatefully in public against blacks. But now you’re suggesting that our gayness isn’t as fully a part of us as black skin is part of black people.

    BIG MISTAKE.

    A VERY VERY BIG BAD, PETER!

  51. JackN

    Jews and blacks get better protection because the law has always favoured culture and ethnicity over biology. The same applies to women – mocking females is considered to be relatively ok, just like it is with gay people. They are protected in institutions, but out on the street, they are very much in the same boat as us. You can’t incite racial or ethnic hatred when you are abusing a biological phenomenon.

    It’s clearly not fair, but I don’t think you taking such an anti-religious stance is going to help matters either. I’m on your side here, I hate them as much as you do. But they will only be more defensive the more we throw barbs at them. We will win with common sense and by showing common decency – for all it’s faults, there are a lot of good things in the Bible. Those values that we share with religous people should be emphasised, not the divisive bits. We have done that for years already and it hasn’t done much to change their minds (regardless of legal changes). In doing so, they see us as not so different, we are perceived to be more decent than we were before and that overlap of common interest can work as a force for good. Of course, where we are insulted, we should react and highlight the injustice, but through a tasteful, dignified way. Not by swearing, ranting or any other behaviour that could be seen as anti-social rhetoric.

    We have to be the bigger men and show that we are more moral, caring, loving, honest and dignified. As I have said in another post, we will win more support if we stamp out the obvious behaviour that needlessly impacts on other people’s lives. And that includes gay people too. Take away the sleaze of gay pride and the religious have far fewer arguments to throw at us.

    It’s all very simple, but gay people will have to compromise and change if we want our religious counterparts to do the same.

  52. Dan Filson wrote

    “What is interesting about this debate is we are having it in a civilised way – those who strongly support Peter, on the unfettered (unalienable, even) right to free speech,”

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Dan, I agree so far the debate appears to be civilised

    For the record i am arguing that free speech is not just about responsibilites, but “Ethical responsibilities”

    If the other side (so to speak) is arguing for “An unfettered unalienable right to free speech,” . . . in what way can this operate within a democracy which is also concerned with laws, and moral justice?

  53. Christine Beckett 13 Jan 2011, 11:26am

    Sorry, Peter…

    I agree with you on a lot of stuff, but in this case you are simply making a rod for our backs.

    “Just as gay people should have the right to criticise religion, people of faith should also have the right to criticise homosexuality.”

    Your argument lacks logic.

    Those who follow a religion CHOOSE to do so. They CHOOSE to hold those views.

    But being LGBT is NOT a lifestyle choice. It is how we are born, and so it is a different thing entirely.

    One can legitimately criticise another’s religious or political views, but can one legitimately criticise another’s skin colour, or physical defect?

    Of course not.

    So why should one be able to legitimately criticise another’s sexual orientation?

    Your argument is self-defeating, Peter, and it does us no favours.

    chrissie
    xxxx

  54. While I personally believe that religion is the root cause of most ills in society and serves only to divide and separate human beings into warring factions, what many people here are overlooking is the fact that Christians, Muslims, etc, are “born that way” also, just like black people are born black and “gay” people “gay”. That is the insanity of religion: that people do not get to choose whether they can opt out at birth but instead are effectively brainwashed and indoctrinated into the beliefs and customs of their parents. And the more fundamentalist or fanatical a parent’s approach to religion is usually dictates how religiously programmed their kids will turn out to be. But the fact is that those religious beliefs are instilled into them and become an innate part of their expression; it is who they are, no matter how objectionable some of those beliefs are.
    What the more fanatical contributors to these boards are constantly lobbying for – and they always appear to be the same, small select group of people who crop up time and again – is no different than what the religious nutters they object to are campaigning for. Each side wants to criminalize and silence the other, while the even more extreme faction in each camp go a lot further in expressing their hatred and, yes, bigoted intolerance towards the other. Yet the vast majority of “gay” and religious people I know accept that such opposing viewpoints, no matter how extreme, come with the territory of living in an open and free society, and that for either side to call for the criminalization of freedom of expression is the very thin end of the wedge. That’s why the BNP is allowed to function and air its extreme views: because once you start criminalizing people’s right to express their beliefs you no longer have an open and free society. The end result would be to live in a society with one, rigid belief system imposed on the populace, ie: a centrally-controlled totalitarian police state.
    Yes, with freedom does come responsibility; a responsibility to recognise that hate speech is vile, to address its root causes, and NOT slap a muzzle on the symptoms. Because, to lobby for its criminalization is also to demand the arrest of the producers of a TV series sympathetic to gays simply for the fact that one of the characters uttered the word “tranny”, or for the sacking of a cabinet minister for making a reference to pantomime dames in a cross party debate. Because that is where such demands will inevitably lead, effectively criminalizing most people for merely thinking something that someone else may perceive or misinterpret as being offensive or hurts their sensibilities, because such laws never come with clearly defined parameters and always creep way beyond their original stated intention (terror laws being used to snoop on ordinary citizens, anyone?).
    The extremist gays who are vigorously lobbying to criminalize free speech I would liken to representing the minority element of a protest demonstration that plots to override peaceful protest with aggression and violence. Yet aggression and violence only begets more of the same. Just as peaceful protest makes a bolder statement, so, too does engaging with “the other side” and sensibly and intelligent debating our differences. When was the last time that such a hand was extended to the Christian lobby in an effort to demonstrate by example that “gay” people are not to be feared at all and that most live normal lives and don’t scream, shout and demand attention, often by setting out to shock and rubbing the other side’s noses in it? Yes, we may feel threatened by marches by Christian fundamentalists reciting ancient scriptures over a fog horn, but is that really any less threatening than some of the often explicit and occasionally downright crude and degrading displays of sexuality on show to the mainstream public at gay pride marches?
    It seems that with a lot of the commentators on these boards, they want to have their cake and they want to eat it too, and PN does itself no favours by stoking up the fires of fermented hatred on here when it could be using its platform to building bridges and making peace with those it constantly harps on are victimizing us. In doing so, and in reacting with our own hatred and venom, we are choosing to play the eternal victims instead of taking the upper hand and being the architects of our destiny, and nobody likes a victim…

  55. Did anyone read Williams thesis above? Thought not.

    Tatchell is an idiot for saying this. A thousand years of being treated worse than a dog by christians, and now we have to be nice to them. What a joke.

  56. Flapjack:
    > I find the issue a fuzzy one. There’s a lot of shades of grey
    > about what constitutes “criminal”, “incitement” or “harm”.

    > At one end of the scale people say “I disagree with what you say
    > [and think you’re a blowhard bigot] but defend to your death the
    > right to say it” and at the other end we start discussing war
    > crimes.
    >
    > John Stuart Mill’s “harm principle” is a little ambiguous on
    > this point. At what stage is harm instigated? When someone says
    > “I hate minorities”, when someone says “I hate minorities and so
    > should my loyal audience of unquestioning drones” or when
    > someone says “I hate minorities and I think everyone who agrees
    > with me should get a baseball bat and put their money where
    > their mouth is”?

    This already got laid down in international law to which the UK is a ratified adherent:

    | Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
    | Genocide
    |
    | Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General
    | Assembly on 9 December 1948.
    |
    |
    | In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following
    | acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a
    | national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
    |
    | * (a) Killing members of the group;
    |
    | * (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the
    | group;
    |
    | * (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
    | calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or
    | in part;
    |
    | * (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the
    | group;
    |
    | * (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another
    | group.
    |
    |
    | Article 3-The following acts shall be punishable:

    | * (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

    | Article 4-Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts
    | enumerated in Article 3 shall be punished, whether they are
    | constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private
    | individuals.
    |
    | http://www.hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html

    Obviously some cults would argue that we are not human (perhaps demons) and so not protected. But, in framing the convention, when the USSR had social and political groups removed, it was clear that groups distinguished by inborn characteristics are protected. This is where homosexuality and transsexuality being inborn is important, and why cults try to insist they are a choice.

    We also need to be mindful that the monotheistic cults utilize a primal instinct to obey our parents, and shame instilled by them at an early age. So accusations of “sin” (or tailored versions of the language) are calculated to reduce us to fearful and subservient wrecks without knowing why, and to outrage our “brothers and sisters” if we defy that.

    This is long-considered and serious stuff that has subjugated whole nations, repeatedly. It is not some random raving. We therefore need serious legal protection.

  57. JackAlison:

    > The U.N. declaration of human rights uses the term
    > INALIENABLE rights. That means these rights are NOT up for
    > debate or majority vote but rather are innate to the entire
    > genus of the human species. Gay ppl are also part of this human
    > species. When we allow certain groups to debate, to debase and
    > somehow dehumanize certain minority groups that include gay ppl.
    > then we begin a slow but concerted effort toward de-sensitizing
    > our empathy, our humanity to this group.

    Correction: certain groups have been dehumanising us for two thousand years, making out, for example, that we are not entitled to the protections you cite. We are fighting back against that, not facing them starting to do it.

    You may be confused by the way xtians habitually use victimhood to in their fight to maintain their control. But they have been in control in the west since the Roman Emperors converted to their cult, and they are still. Peter seems confused on this point too.

  58. weetzie:
    > Paul:

    >> This is the guy who a few years ago walked into a synod and
    >> demanded that they execute him because that’s what it says in the
    >> bible.
    >>
    >> Wasn’t he upset at the church’s ‘freedom of speech’ then? Now he
    >> is fine with it. Make your mind up Peter.
    >
    > @Paul – In that case, it isn’t that he was upset with the
    > church’s freedom of speech (i.e. what the Bible claims), but
    > challenging it. And that’s the point that he and others are
    > trying to make.

    These cults have inured themselves from being challenged by claiming their books are holy. Trying to persuade a member to give up their belief is held to be a denial of their rights.

    The only solution is to say they must keep beliefs that harm others private amongst believers. But then they say their god commands them to spread the word…

    Eventually their boundless ambition has to meet an enforceable limitation.

  59. mmmmmmmm:
    > Here we go again, ‘it’s alright for all those black people,
    > they get justice, but us poor gays always get the rough end of
    > the stick’.
    >
    > Yawn.
    >
    > A street preacher is someone who is not in an place of
    > employment and not in a confined area where the person offended
    > has to remain to earn a living. That’s the difference between
    > him saying it and a colleague saying it. Thin air witnessing
    > homphobic words on the street doesn’t have a duty of care to
    > protect passing shoppers. Employers do.

    Utterly irrelevant, and apologist. When in a public place we should have a right to not feel threatened. Such preaching aims to recruit followers who add mass to to the demonisation his victims are intended to feel upon hearing his words. It is intended ti be threatening, and is.

    > If there is legislation against Christian groups expressing
    > their views, then we will get a backlash against us. I’d rather
    > have a few nasty, but non-violent, words here and there from the
    > odd crackpot on the corner than too much legislation pushing the
    > country into the hands of the extreme right. Because that is
    > exactly what could happen. Then, we would be the ones who would
    > end up being silenced by them legislating to suit their own wish
    > not to be criticised.

    Goodness, so you are too frightened of them already to say anything.

  60. Jock S. Trap 13 Jan 2011, 12:44pm

    Firstly people are Not born religious. It is taught after birth so that arguement cannot be used on the same par as being gay, straight, black, white etc.

    Secondly, it’s not a case wantng to criminalise nor silence Christians or any person using religion as an excuse. This is about expecting them to follow the law. If the law say discrimination is illegal then I expect Them to follow that.

    What I hear is that some in religion clearly feel they are above the law. Probably because they’ve been allowed to get their own way for far too long.

    After all, how can we say that as Gay people we want to be treated the same and as equal as the next person… However when it comes to discriminating against Gay/Lesbians well thats just fine.

    It doesn’t matter how much you want to define the levels of discrimination it end up being exactly the same…Unacceptable!

    Otherise that suggests we want to be separate. It’s that that suggests we prefer to be victim ‘Coz we should tand up and take it.’

    No we shouldn’t!

    Being treated equally means being respectful of one another and if not excepting then letting people get on with it.

    There is nothing equal in expecting us to make a stand for other groups in society but letting us just be walked over and be abused.

    How can we lessen what a preacher says on the street yet when exactly the same thing is said in work or home then it should be dealt with.

    Peter Tatchell’s article in theory in the real world may sounded great but it is flawed. It surely only goes some way in dismissing the seriousness of those harmful elements in society and feed their hatred and contempt of us and suggesting what they’re doing is not only acceptable but trival.

    What message does that send out?

    Just as we have fought for the equal rights we have, we should fight for the right to be treated with the same respect as any other human being.

    Religion is not an excuse, the law is their for Everyone.

  61. > Peter Tatchell: Don’t criminalise homophobic Christians

    > …
    > The Public Order Act is intended to protect people from harm. Mr
    > Mcalpine’s views – although they are misguided and offensive –
    > caused no injury or damage to anyone. His intolerant views
    > should be challenged but he should not have been arrested.

    Not knowing exactly what the preacher was recorded as saying, it is difficult to comment. I presume Peter has more information that causes him to say that shouting that homosexuals are sinners is not harmful. Perhaps he sees the term in the context of those cults that maintain that all humans are born sinners. Or even those who see eating a sweet as a sin. But in a context where “sin” is linked to real punishment, with being marked out as inferior, or evil, even possessed by a devil that needs physically eliminating, as members of sexual minorities are often believed to be, even in “churches” dotted across this country, it has a more serious, and harmful meaning.

    > Just as gay people should have the right to criticise religion,
    > people of faith should also have the right to criticise
    > homosexuality. When it comes to expressions of opinion, only
    > threats and incitements to violence – and damaging libels –
    > should be prosecuted. The police should concentrate on tackling
    > serious crimes, instead of wasting public money on petty,
    > distasteful religious ranters.
    >
    > This is why I urge Home Secretary, Theresa May, to issue new
    > guidelines, making it clear that the police should not arrest
    > people like Dale Mcalpine and Shawn Holes. Causing offence to
    > others is not a legitimate basis for putting a person on trial.
    > After all, nearly everyone holds opinions that someone else
    > might find offensive. If offending others is accepted as a basis
    > for prosecution, most of the population of the UK would end up
    > in court.

    Hmmm. Perhaps Peter, with all his history of massive wrongs and being violently assaulted, has had his outrage a little too blunted. Does he not see any distinction between criticizing someone and condemning a large group with a probably inborn distinction that harms o one, who have long been oppressed and denied human rights, as “outside the church”, or outside decent society, or evil?

    Although, come to think on it, I’m not able to think what criticism a preacher might make of homosexuality that wasn’t intended to condemn a whole group, and have the further ulterior motive of intending to grow his following and income through promoting hatred.

    > Free speech is precious. Only damaging libellous comments and
    > incitements to violence should be crimes.

    Hmm, Peter must be confused, speech intended to cause serious mental harm to a physical minority is a crime and must remain so. As must other incitements to genocidal crimes, such as denial of children, even when the father is a pop superstar.

  62. Oh peter was always a supporter, but now your just taking bollocks. And that my friend is my freedom of speach.

  63. Sorry Peter, I’ve always admired you and completely understand where you’re coming from but I can’t agree with it.

    The law is there to protect us from harm in some cases whether that be verbal threats or physical danger.

    I agree and fully support Jock on this one (and imo opinion he always talks a great degree of sense anyhow).

    Protection for the LGBT commuinty has come a long way (largely thanks to the efforts of people like you) but there is some fair way to go. We, as LGBT do not enjoy the same presence or security within the many facets of society as perhaps other minorites have and so we’re an easier target. The responses of some of the people on this thread proves that with assumptions that race and sexuality can’t be compared.

    Racial hatred and homophobia aren’t so dissimilar in my opinion – except one is arguably in a much stronger position and thus more protected by society and the law.

    I personally think that whilst we are entitled to enjoy the luxury of free speech, anything which causes offense or harm to another human should be punished as such once it is taken into a public arena.

  64. And for the record – I’ve seen many of you who support Peter’s argument retaliate to the many homophobic trolls that can frequent these boards.
    If you followed Peter’s argument to its conclusion you would be perfectly at ease with the nasty stuff that these trolls often say.

  65. It is unbelievable how bigoted and ignorant some gay people are, after all the discrimination and indignities we have suffered through the ages. Every sector of society has its “lunatic fringe”, so I guess it’s kinda reassuring to see that the same reactionaries who give the impression of representing our community are out in force once again and trolling this discussion. But kudos to you, Peter – and others on this thread also – for putting your case forward so brilliantly and effectively. We need to engage in discussion with our oppressors and treat the core of the problem ourselves with coherent arguments and informed compassion; not react like hysterical cowards and overwrought pansies who involve PC Plod every time our feelings are hurt if we are ever to properly address this issue. Instituting laws to blot out language some of us may find offensive would spread like a cancer throughout society, and this rich and wonderful English language would soon be reduced to several hundred words. Let the debate begin.

  66. TheBrutalKremlin 13 Jan 2011, 2:48pm

    Peter Tatchell: Activist without a cause. You can’t be an advocate for stop murder music’ then turn and publish this contradiction. I guess he gave up trying to carpet-bag Moscow.

    Beware the activists in pink clothing.

  67. Ok then guys..

    go and have a look at another news story on this website.

    “Arizona prevents anti-gay church picketing killed 9-year-old’s funeral”

    Tell me that people are entitled to their views now?

  68. Samuel B wrote

    “We need to engage in discussion with our oppressors and treat the core of the problem ourselves with coherent arguments and informed compassion; not react like hysterical cowards and overwrought pansies who involve PC Plod every time our feelings are hurt if we are ever to properly address this issue.”

    . . . . . .

    Samuel where exaclty are your coherent arguments and compassion in all of this ?

    Samuel many of us have already argued eloquently, and I have argued so far on the tenor of “Ethical Responsibility”

    Samuel . . . when exactly are you going to join the debate?

  69. @ Samuel B – we’ve been debating and
    arguing for the last thousand years. You’re deluded if you think the catholic church or the CofE is up for a discussion on this issue. Anyway, don’t spend too long reading these comments, you might be late for your flower arranging class. Your pansies are wilting.

  70. I stand totally behind Peter on this one. Those who seem to think that a Christian who made similar racist comments would rightly be prosecuted are making unwarranted presumtions about the law.

  71. Peter Tatchell 13 Jan 2011, 8:21pm

    If gay people want the legal right to robustly criticise and ridicule homophobic religion and thereby cause offence to some believers. then people of faith should, morally and logically, have the same right to be spared criminalisation when they do similar to us.

    It is best if we take the moral high ground, even if that causes us some discomfort.

    Not wanting Christian prosecuted for mere homophobic opinions is not the same as accepting their intolerant views.

    Criminalisation should depend on what they say and how they say it.

    None of the Christian preachers who I opposed being prosecuted incited violence or made any threats. They did not use abusive or coarse language. They did not maliciously seek to insult LGBT people. They did not even argue that the law should discriminate against LGBT people.

    Their views were bigoted, as I made clear. But they were not extreme homophobia and they were expressed in a fairly moderate, non-inflammatory style. They were expressing their misguided but conscientious belief.

    If these preachers should be prosecuted, then so should the 36% of the British population who hold similar views. This would be totalitarian madness. Better to challenge, protest, educate and persuade, I think.

    As I have previously said:

    If we seriously believe in free speech, we have a duty to not pick and choose. But to defend fre speech, even when we disagree with the opinions expressed.

    The only exceptions are incitements to violence, damaging defamations (untrue libels, such as X is child molester, when X is not) and the exercise of free speech in ways that amount to sustained harassment.

    I accept that not everyone will agree with my stance but that is our right in a free society – to publicly disagree and have a debate.

    Best wishes, Peter

  72. john abbott 13 Jan 2011, 8:39pm

    It seems to me that anyone can have homophobic ideals, but when they speak them outloud, it becomes an issue of promoting bigotry, much like racism. We do not tolerate racism, so why should we tolerate homophobia? No one has the ‘right’ to incite others with those opinions. That is called hate speech and there is no place for such in a civilized society. They should keep such outrageous ideas to themselves. Do not inflict them upon others.

  73. oatc

    You presume too much, but don’t let the facts get in the way of your barbs, eh.

    I frequently tell church goers what I think of their religion. The difference is, I do it in a dignified way, with reason, rational thought and without losing my temper. You play right into their hands. Also, you are naive to think that we will gain greater equality through simply stamping our feet and spitting at the religious. It is very simple to invalidate their arguments about us having fewer morals by simply sitting down with the Bible and showing actually how much it has in common with the values of gay men. There are literally a few handfuls of differences between our two schools of though – they just happen to be very, very significant.

    If you had seen me versus the Christian Union in the debating society at university, you wouldn’t have made that muppet comment you did. I imagine my efforts have gone way beyond any of your efforts to counter religious though.

  74. It seems to me that there are two issues here.

    1. If Tatchell’s extraordinary statement were to be generally accepted, then every gay-hating and lesbian-hating individual in this country could state aloud in any public place and for as long as they like (as street preachers tend to do in shopping centres etc.) that homosexuality is wrong, that being homosexual is totally unacceptable, that being in a homosexual relationship is evil, that homosexuality is an immoral activity or pursuit, that homosexuals should not be allowed to care for or be close to children in any capacity, and so forth.

    And IF anybody (including any gay or lesbian person) got upset by this hate-inspiring speech (no matter how calmly and sincerely or seemingly non-insultingly it was made), THEN, according to Tatchell’s statement, all they would have to do is simply turn round and calmly say, “But I am a devout Christian/Muslim and these are my sincere beliefs”. And no one could touch them. And they could continue to spread and engender negativity, loathing, or hatred towards gays and lesbians on a broad scale.

    So, if Tatchell’s ridiculous position on this matter were to be accepted in our society, then it would literally provide any and every homo-hating bigot in this land with an escape route. “Officer, I was simply stating my sincerely-held religious beliefs”.

    2. The other issue is similar, I think, to the “ethical responsibility” that JohnK refers to. Tatchell has achieved a considerable reputation in this country over the years. In the 80s many considered him too extreme. But in the 2000s he’s been taking a much more moderate stance, moving more towards the centre. This latest statement, however, has placed him right of centre. Right-wing bigots will have LOVED reading this latest statement of his.

    Over the years Tatchell has achieved a position of considerable respect. But now, unfortunately, he has gone and abused that position. His statement is ethically irresponsible.

    I believe we all need to really let him know how ANGRY we are with him for this nonsense, how IRRESPONSIBLE his statement is, and how he has done us all damage.

    Personally, I think we should now disown him until such time as he publicly apologises. And we should accept no wheedling excuses from him either, as he has given above. Tatchell most certainly no longer speaks for me or for my partner. (My partner and I have been directly and deeply hurt on several occasions recently by the homophobia of Christians.)

  75. Andrew

    Care to make any more demands or show a little less gratitude? He dedicates his life to furthering YOUR rights and now he makes ONE opinion that you don’t agree with and you hiss, spit and crap all over him with this pathetic, reactionary ‘we should disown him, snap snap girlfirend’ attitude. Have some dignity for Pete’s sake! I’d like to see you do a better job than him. How about starting with those homophobic Christians you were whining about. Go on, man up and knock on their door and give them what for, just like he would. Maybe try a citizens arrest, Tatchell-Mugabe style? Stand as an MP, like he did? Fly off to Moscow and get rocks chucked at your head, like him? Nah, didn’t think you would, but it’s not uncommon to hear vitriol from those who shout but never act. You make no effort to do it yourself and then you seek only to blame those who actually do. Pathetic.

    Now, I am the first to disagree with him on many points, but there is no denying that he has helped our cause immensely over the years. And I have great respect for that.

    When you have dedicated your life to a cause that has put your life in danger on numerous occasions, perhaps you will have a bit more respect for the work of those that essentially give their lives to allow us a better deal. If you feel that he doesn’t represent you or your partner, then get off your backsides and represent yourselves!

    Seriously, you people!

  76. Peter writes

    “None of the Christian preachers who I opposed being prosecuted incited violence or made any threats. They did not use abusive or coarse language. They did not maliciously seek to insult LGBT people. They did not even argue that the law should discriminate against LGBT people. Their views were bigoted, as I made clear. But they were not extreme homophobia and they were expressed in a fairly moderate, non-inflammatory style. They were expressing their misguided but conscientious belief.”

    . . . . . . . . . .

    According to Peter’s logic, one would assume that once he is given the opportunity to challenge extreme homophobia, Peter would then practice what he preaches i.e as Peter suggests . . .

    “. . . robustly criticise and ridicule homophobic religion and thereby cause offence to some believers.”

    . . . . . . . . . .

    Matthew Adams commenting in the Guardian on Peters visit to the Christian Festival Green Belt last year, said . . .

    “I wish Peter Tatchell had condemned Christianity’s homophobia. I had high hopes of the gay activist’s appearance at Greenbelt Christian festival, but he failed to challenge”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/aug/30/peter-tatchell-greenbelt-gay-activist

    . . . . . . . . . .

    Matthew went onto comment that when Peter had the opportunity to challenge the extreme homophobia inherent in the bible, at the Green Belt festival last August; Peter simple rejected the opportunity.

    Matthew Adams records the conversation he had with Peter after the Green belt event.

    “I asked him about the previous evening’s event and about why he had not spoken about the mandates for the abuse of human rights with which the Bible is replete. His response was that Jesus never recommended the persecution of homosexuals; that Christianity is really about the philosophy of love and compassion taught by Jesus; and that he didn’t want to alienate a room full of people who were sympathetic to establishing equality of human rights.”

    . . . . . . . . . .

    Why did Peter not . . . “robustly criticise and ridicule homophobic religion and thereby cause offence to some believers”

    Matthew Adams concludes. . .

    “Perhaps I am over-sensitive, but it seems rather insulting to assume that your audience is so tenuously attached to the struggle for equality that an attack on their religion will send them skidding back into a state of barbarism; and anyway, such an attack might get people to think about the morality of their own systems of belief, about where morality comes from and what warrants (if any) it requires.”

    . . . . . . . . . .

    Free speech also carries as I have said before, an “Ethical Responsibility”; simply arguing that you do not want to upset people is not ethically sound.

  77. @ Peter Tatchell –

    When homosexuals ridicule christians, it is in an attempt to STOP the judgement and persecution homosexuals have endured for the last thousand + years at the hands of those christians.

    When christians ridicule homosexuals it is to CONTINUE their judgement and persecution of homosexuals. There’s a big difference.

    homophobic christians want to stop me from loving my fella, from getting married, from bringing a kid up, from sleeping in the same bed as another man, from having equality, etc. etc. etc.

    ‘christianphobic’ homosexuals don’t want to stop christians from doing anything other than judging and persecuting us.

    and btw, I don’t remember EVER seeing a homosexual standing in the city centre preaching anti christian sentiments. I am however faced with a christian preacher wittering on about the evils of homosexuality everytime I go into the city centre.

  78. btw Peter, my comment above isn’t an anti tachell comment. I have the deepest respect for you. Call me a soft arse, but last year at pride, I started crying when I saw you at the front, probs cause it was my first pride and I’d heard and read so much about you and your fight for our freedom. I know, getting emotional when you see Peter Tatchell is pathetic, but that’s how powerful you are in the gay community. I think.

  79. Peter Tatchell 14 Jan 2011, 12:48am

    Contrary to what JohnK says, I did challenge and criticise Christian homophobia at the Greenbelt Festival.

    What I did not do, ad will not do, is damn all Christians as homophobes. They are not – eg. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bishop Richard Holloway etc.

    For four decades, I have done at least as much as anyone in this country to challenge and protest religious homophobia – and I will continue to do so. But from some of these posts above you would think I was defending and protecting religious bigots.

  80. JackAlison 14 Jan 2011, 1:04am

    @PeterTatchell
    Hey Peter, Firstly, thank you for all your work! I disagree with your view as it allows gay ppl. to be debated. The extreme of this ‘free speech?!’ we see in the appalling poll taken by the BBC under the heading “should gays be executed” when referring to a recent Govt. bill in Uganda. This along with other opinions are no longer acceptable when discussing the rights of Blacks, Jews or other persecuted minority groups. I don’t understand how you could imagine that debating the breathing, living right of a gay person to live without harassment is appropriate under the guise of free speech. There is absolutely NO mention of Jesus Christ referring in any offensive way toward gays in the New Testament. And yet Christians persistently trawl through the Old Testament to find anything they can that will turn their argument to an already maligned group. The way Christians say it or do it is irrelevant. It is breaking the law to do the same to other groups and I don’t see why gays should tolerate an exception to standard civil law that applies to other minority groups? Most gays don’t hava beef with religion, except when they try to influence civil law. OK, stay in your church with all the superstition, your imaginary friend and all the bile and bigotry that goes with it. But don’t take tax exemptions, not-for-profit status and provide services that directly run counter to secular civil society laws and regulations. I gotta say it’s a little rich coming from religious organizations that are notorious for child sexual abuse to be expecting free speech when many lives have been ruined not only in the UK and Ireland but throughout the world. Really, enough is enough!!

  81. I don’t understand why PT is coming up with this argument now. The freedom bill is due to be discussed and the anti gay CARE org have already submitted their arguments to amend the public order act in their favour quoting they desire to protect these street preachers… CARE do not work for gay rights , PT does, so I don’t understand his current point of view….Amend this and then what do we have, it’s there to protect people , leave it alone, let the court judge whether comments are hurtful…ok the police and courts may say we are over zealous sometime but it is an addition thing in our armoury against harassment…saying gays are sinful, abnormal etc isn’t freedom of speech

  82. Jock S. Trap 14 Jan 2011, 8:38am

    “None of the Christian preachers who I opposed being prosecuted incited violence or made any threats. They did not use abusive or coarse language. They did not maliciously seek to insult LGBT people. They did not even argue that the law should discriminate against LGBT people.”

    I’m sorry Peter I can’t agree with that.

    It doesn’t take a preacher on a corner to used direct language to make a point. It only takes him to say that homosexuality is wrong and that we should all burn in hell. In other words we are born wrong and should be punished for it. How is that not an insult nor discrimination.

    Are we kidding ourselves by what people hear by these comments? If it would not be acceptable in the work place or around our home then why in the street. The language is no different.

    How can publically tell all that’ll hear, that all Gay/Lesbians are wrong and therefore should burn not be inciting hatred and violence?

    How does that sound to many Gay/Lesbians who get violently attack and abused, oh hang on you’ve been through that and many times in the name of religious bigotry. Lets not forget that Sadly many aren’t with us today because of those kinds of words a preacher spews.

    So have I and like hopefully like you I find that unacceptable and wouldn’t wish it on anybody else.

    We surely cannot expect to change society’s perception on the community if we don’t teach others what is right and wrong behaviour if we end up bowing down to those more than happy to abuse us.

    @ mmmm

    I have to say through your comments accusing others of hissy fits that it always seems to be you to has a hissy fit just because others have a different of opinion. We all have the right to our own opinion and some may differ from others. Like most even Mr. Tatchell accepts that to be the case and it’s what can make for an interesting debate.

    The only person who seems to be hissing, spitting and crapping all over” anyone is you whenever someone has a different view to your own. Why the need to get so personal?

    I very much doubt even Mr. Tatchell writes articles expecting all to agree but actually knowing it will provoke interest, thoughts and allowing us to express our own views to that.

    For that i thank him but how do you get through one article that anyone disagreeing disrepects Mr. Tatchells entire work? No offence but I think thats a bit of an immature attitude.

    May I suggest that whilst you have indeed valid and interesting points to make, you relax a little and without getting clearly so angry join in and enjoy the debate.

    Other than that I hope you have a great day.

    Thank you.

    :)

  83. Jock

    Seriously, go back and read your own posts, it’s pure hysteria. I admit I do get anrgy, but then when faced with endless, irrational self-victimising and cat-calling posts attacking those who actual want to help you….how else do you expect us more progressive types to react? It’s people like you that keep the stereotypes of gay men alive (take a look at your sexual inuendo of name to start with!). Your posts show nothing that indicates you believe in democracy – you are so focused on YOU and getting everything your way, which contradicts any democratic ideas about sharing or learning from one another. That’s it, you fail to see how we are going to have to compromise on free speech to a certain extent otherwise we will put ourselves in a position where we could risk criminalisation. Banning Christian views would lead to a backlash and who know what else for us. I actually feel quite sorry for some groups because we have allowed incitement of hatred laws to go so far that those criticising a group who are not from that group are condemned. That is why I use my voice to criticise faults in the gay community, simply because a straight man saying the same thing would be harrassed by the likes of you. You are innately selfish and your views wouldn’t last a minute outside of this online aquarium.

    Your attitude stinks and you appear to have no understanding of other social groups. But then that is why there are people like Peter Tatchell and Michael Cashman out there doing this and succeeding. Activists with your self-centred, scaremongering, panic-inducing rants are always dismissed from real political discussion at the start. No-one with any sense would take that kind of behaviour seriously.

    Take this as a rant if you wish, but it is a reaction to your extreme and unhelpful scribblings. Stop making life worse for us all!

  84. “But they were not extreme homophobia and they were expressed in a fairly moderate, non-inflammatory style.2

    But it is still homophobia nonetheless and as Jock pointed out this langauge contributes to verbal and physical abuse.

    Also being told that you’re going to hell for something (which isn’t a choice incidently) IS offensive to a lot of people.

    People are entitled to their opinions – I agree. But ocne again, as soon as you bring anything which is offensive to people into the public arena then you must simply deal with the consequences.

  85. Jock S. Trap 14 Jan 2011, 11:01am

    It’s not hysteria, no-ones making themselves victims it just an opinion. And the only person ‘attacking’ anyone is you just because they have a difference of opinion. Everyone else here like myself is joining in the debate of which Peter Tatchell has set the subject. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Mores to the point, why are you taking it so personally and why keep bring us what certain people have done for gay rights in the past?

    Furthermore, who on Earth is asking for Christian views to be banned when all most say is that they should follow the law as it is.

    You making way too much out of nothing. I certainly ain’t gonna apologise for just having an opinion and I certainly ain’t gonna stop it either.

    For your sake, and I do mean this politely, learn the ideals of debating. Stop calling all selfish just because they have another opinion. It makes you selfish because you clearly don’t want to hear it. Point is all comments here are as important and valid as each other. There is no reason to take opinions so personally. Chill out!

  86. Danny

    But if you don’t believe in heaven or hell, how can you find it offensive? It’s not like they are actually able to send you there, is it? It’s an unfulfillable threat. Be offended by something that can actually hurt you instead. The only way that saying such a thing should be brought to police attention is if said preacher harrasses you by following you down the street shouting this stuff. A christian just saying this kind of thing in earshot in a public space is no different to a gay man standing on the opposite street corner condemning religion. I feel the freedom to express such things is important for all communities. If you can’t hold your own against a muttering but otherwise non-intervening religious crackpot, that’s your weakness. Most of straight society is on our side and we can’t eliminate the actual nutters roaming our streets. It’s the best we can do in any society. Criminalising free speech of certain groups will not stop vigilante attacks,it never does.

    I think you WANT to feel offended by everything, like a lot of people on here. And that is very weird.

  87. “For your sake, and I do mean this politely, learn the ideals of debating. Stop calling all selfish just because they have another opinion. It makes you selfish because you clearly don’t want to hear it. Point is all comments here are as important and valid as each other. There is no reason to take opinions so personally. Chill out!”

    I call you selfish because the opinions expressed by you and others on here do our cause more harm than good – you are putting your own personal interests ahead of the community as a whole. Like many others here, you seem to have little interest in wider society and how the different groups within it get along. Sorry to burst your bubble, but society isn’t just about gay people and, despite what you personally want, we do have to take religious groups into consideration if we are to be respected by them and be able to work with them on common politcal goals in the future. This is where I am different to you, I am thinking of the bigger picture, not the gay microcosm.

    Regrettably, the gay world has always operated in its political endeavours in this way, with a minority, over-sensitive faction trying to dictate what our political goals should be and what gay people apparently want. This web site is indicative of that, it attracts overwhelmingly ONE type of gay man and leaves the rest of us under-represented. That’s why I’m here, to give some representation to the rest of the gay world who have little time for ‘hysteria politics’ ad just want to get on with their lives and each other. I would remind you to remember that the gay world is a diverse place beyond what Pink News would have everyone believe.

    By all means have your opinion, it is your right to do that. But equally, if your opinion is little more than the peddling of unneccesary fear and panic and serves only to damage inter-community relations further, then expect your irresponsibility to be vociferously condemned.

  88. Jock S. Trap 14 Jan 2011, 11:22am

    Question:

    Do you believe racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia etc basically boil down the same hateful discrimination and as such ALL should be treated equally in law?

  89. “But if you don’t believe in heaven or hell, how can you find it offensive?” Mmmmm

    I don’t. I’m not religious and couldn’t care less. Incidently I said some people.

    “Criminalising free speech of certain groups will not stop vigilante attacks,it never does.”

    But since society has somewhat progressed we’ve begun to establish that cases of racism, homophobia and mysogeny are wrong. Protection under the law has been implemented and equal rights are slowly getting there.

    Whereas there is real evidence to argue that cultures which are intrinsically homophobic act as a breeding ground for over homophobia. Look at Jamaica, at Uganda, at Iran.

    I’m not suggesting that we take such a heavy handed approach as to stamp out personal views, but I am suggesting that beliefs are passed on and if left unchecked do a lot of damage.

    When this preacher suggests that “gay men and women” are going to hell I’d say at least a few people would agree with him. Out of those few a couple may even be fired up. When they then go home and relay that message to their friends and family then we have a problem. It might just be a nutjob standing on a corner chatting rubbish but then there are always further implications than we realise.

    “I think you WANT to feel offended by everything, like a lot of people on here. And that is very weird.2

    Yet again, I remember you from another thread where you were advocating that gay men shouldn’t feel proud of who they are. Indeed you intinated strongly that at pride we tended to dress up like “sluts from a Pussycat Dolls video” and it was disgusting that packets of lube were given out pride events which you also advocated that we shouldn’t bring into the public arena as the ‘vulnerable’ would be exposed to sex and sexuality.

    I fail to understand how on one hand you argue for free speech and yet on the other dismiss it as slutty and perverse.

    As for taking offense, you don’t know me. I’m actually quite thick skinned and I’ll fully reiterate what I thought of you the other day if you prefer – because I’m merely enjoying my right to free speech.

  90. “I call you selfish because the opinions expressed by you and others on here do our cause more harm than good – you are putting your own personal interests ahead of the community as a whole.”

    By god you chat some b*llocks. go and re-read your thread from the other day where we had our spat.

    You were calling gay men disgusting the other day.

    At least be consistent if you’re going to be so opinionated.

  91. Danny

    “Yet again, I remember you from another thread where you were advocating that gay men shouldn’t feel proud of who they are.”

    I didn’t say that at all, go and read it again. My point was that gay men have no entitlement to feel any more proud about their biology than anyone else and that pride is a feeling reserved for achievement. You can’t be self-congratulatory just for the fact you were born. You haven’t achieved being gay, it’s not of your own efforts, so you can’t take credit for it. Just like being straight. You have deliberately twisted my words as a petty slur on my character. That is unacceptable. More to the point, harping on about ‘being proud to be gay’ is just painting a picture that you are insecure. If you were actually happy with yourself, you wouldn’t feel the need to tell everyone else, would you?

    “Indeed you intinated strongly that at pride we tended to dress up like “sluts from a Pussycat Dolls video” and it was disgusting that packets of lube were given out pride events which you also advocated that we shouldn’t bring into the public arena as the ‘vulnerable’ would be exposed to sex and sexuality.”

    I presume you have been to a pride in yoru life time. It is a vulgar display of sex-related performances, near-naked men gyrating and sporting sex aids. Are you trying to tell me that is not sexualised? Sex shouldn’t be brought into the public arena, it’s private and between consenting adults. Children go to pride events because there is no age limit on them. It is not healthy for them to see such a sexualised parade. Handing out jonnies and lube just reinforces the view of many of our opponents that gay identity is based solely on sex and promiscuity. Not to mention the endless stream of S&M gear implying that we are all kinky and perverted. S&M is fine, but in your own home. Why are you so intent on making it your right to bring your sexual behaviour into the public arena? Straight and gay people alike find overt displays of sex/simulated sex distasteful, it is hardly just the view of the religious. I make no apologies for wanting to shatter these myths, we’d all benefit from it. There is a huge difference between a parade that says it’s ok to fancy your own gender and actually simulating sex on a publc platform. I would condemn it in the straight world as well, but as you should already know, there isn’t heterosexual parade of simulated sex every year.

    “I fail to understand how on one hand you argue for free speech and yet on the other dismiss it as slutty and perverse.”

    From that sentence you are implying that I think freedom of speech is slutty and perverse. That makes no sense. Re-write it and post it agan.

  92. @ mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm –

    WTF are you wittering on about?

  93. Jock S. Trap 14 Jan 2011, 12:08pm

    The more I hear that we shouldn’t make a big deal out of homophobic comments from religions, the more I think we need to make the message of Gay Pride events Bigger and much Stronger!

  94. “Question:

    Do you believe racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia etc basically boil down the same hateful discrimination and as such ALL should be treated equally in law?”

    I belive they are all discrimination based on unchosen biology and should be treated preferentially to discrimination based on chosen religious beliefs. Whether the discrimination is hateful or just plain ignorance through a lack of education is where the grey area is. To you, it would appear that anything said against any of the aforementioned groups is hate speech. I disagree with that entirely. Prejudiced, yes, but not necessarily hateful. Hate is a strong word, but it is being thrown around as if it is somehow weaker than it is.

    What I don’t believe is that freedom of speech for ANY group should be blanketly criminalised where a group is offended, regardless of whether it is biological or choice. Where freedom of speech has been shown to incite hatred, violence or harrassment, then a criminal conviction is possible and maybe preferable. At present, the law is unequal because it does not treat minorities of the sae calibre equally and one would be more likely to be arrested for insulting a black man or a Muslim than a gay man. This is not right. What I think is the right thing to do is to take away some of that extra protection currently afforded to black people and the religious, so that we all have a greated freedom to voice our opinions.

    Can I go and have lunch now? Thanks!

  95. “The more I hear that we shouldn’t make a big deal out of homophobic comments from religions, the more I think we need to make the message of Gay Pride events Bigger and much Stronger!”

    Totally the wrong thing to do, you will just reinforce the same stereotypes and keep our opponents fed with more ammunition to use against us.We have to tackle homophobia by being respectable, dignified citiznes who can win over our enemies with logic, reason and decency. All the things I hate about pride are exactly what make us seem irresponsible and unrespectable. If the only people that were affected by the negative backlash against things like pride were the people who attended it, I’d be more ok with that. But it’s all of us that have to put up with it. That is why I feel you are very selfish, you have no regard for the impact of the behaviour of a certain portion of gay men on the rest of us.

    You do us a great disservice.

  96. James J

    “@ mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm –

    WTF are you wittering on about?”

    Don’t comment on what you don’t understand. Know your place.

  97. Jock S. Trap 14 Jan 2011, 12:47pm

    “Whether the discrimination is hateful or just plain ignorance through a lack of education is where the grey area is. To you, it would appear that anything said against any of the aforementioned groups is hate speech.”

    Yeah, you see that’s you clearly don’t know me, obviously.

    I know a lot of peoples comments are from ignorance but this topic is about religion. It’s suggesting we shouldn’t criminalise homophobic Christians.

    The point is, yes there are some where is it clearly because of ignorance but we do have those street preachers and some in religious who will simply not be taught any different to what they are told in there religious texts. They have no interest in seeing people differently. They have no interest in know. That goes beyond ignorance.

    There is one particular person that comes here spewing his religious bile without a care in the world. Trouble is there are plenty of others in religion who do accept gay people and of course plenty of religious opinions who have put up with being branded with that same discriminatory opinion and feel they have to defend themselves against it.

    Now, being that these certain preachers types are unwilling to see others from a different prospective or fail to accept other human beings as equal, the fact they will relentlessly go out to pass on their message of hate to anyone who’ll listen shows that they have an irrational fear of homosexuals. You know the breakdown of society and the blaming for everything that happens, you do realise some even reason the Haiti Earthquake was because of us ol bad homos!!??

    That is classed as homophobic. That is against the law. It’s not a special law just against christians it’s there fore everyone. It’s supposed to be their to create and fairer, equal society and one I know I’d prefer to live in.

    So, this isn’t about criminalising anyone. It’s about expecting ALL to follow the law against discrimination and the law upholding it too.

    Therefore if we deem that unacceptable behaviour towards sex or race then Why should that be different for those who only wish to love the people they were meant to?

    Lets not forget religion and society used these arguments against woman and against black people, justifying slavery.

    Education over the century has taught us to think dfferently and more positively about those we live with in society. Whilst I accept it isn’t perfect, it is a darn sight better than it was.

    Is it not fair then that we should expect the same respect? How can that progress if we make exceptions?

    Truth? We all deserve the same amount of respect and I do believe you treat people how you are treated yourself.

    Thats not being selfish, thats not me thinking about myself. That about how we can All improve our quality of live in becoming the acceptable norm, just like everyone else and free to love who we wish.

  98. It looks like Peter Tatchell is simply “losing his marbles”. He didn’t stand in the last election because, he said, his doctors had advised that mentally he was not up to it, due, apparently, to assaults he suffered during protests. Added to this, Peter is no spring chicken any more. He’s simply going loopy.

    And another thing is that a friend of my partner was in Peter’s Outrage group for a while and left apparently when he saw that the Outrage protests were largely all about Peter and Peter getting a buzz, an adrenalin rush at protests. The guy likes confrontation. He thrives on it. And it seems that all of a sudden he’s decided to turn on his own tribe for a thrill.

    Sad. But many people do go odd when they get old. It happened to my uncle, as wonderful as he was when he was younger.

  99. Jock S. Trap 14 Jan 2011, 1:00pm

    “Totally the wrong thing to do, you will just reinforce the same stereotypes and keep our opponents fed with more ammunition to use against us.”

    Actually with the amount of religious protests to the Pride events this year We do need to make a stand. You say it’s wrong but hang on being Gay or Lebian in this country IS NOT illegal. That is what these groups need to accept. Therefore we have every right to make our stand stronger.

    It is one thing I for one will be promoting this year only ever been to Pride once before many years ago.

    After these ‘incidents’ it is more important to make our presents felt. The message needs to be out there and stronger than ever.

    You way is scutter away into some quiet corner and hope we’re not heard. This is 2011. Homosexuality was made legal 44 years ago. Time is not for hiding with our tail between our lets. We have every right to be proud of who we are just like every one else.

    Here’s to Gay Pride 2011!!

  100. Jock

    I agree with most of what you say – though it is almost as if a completely different person wrote that particular paragraph comared to what I have seen before. I will take the ‘you don’t know me’ remark with a pinch of salt. Not only do I obviously not know you, but it’s a bit Oprah.

    Still, that aside, I am fully aware of the religious nutjobs (should I be criminalised for saying that?) that crop up on here from time to time. Not forgetting those who picket funerals and blame natural disasters on society’s tolerance of gay people. Those are the people that we can do nothing for and shouldn’t pay attention to, they are clearly a few psychological sandwiches short of a picnic. They will do it regardless. I also doubt they are much influence on the generally rational, but sometimes a bit ignorant, people we find in British society. Nutters tend to attract other nutters.

    I still don’t think we should criminalise homophobic Christians or even Christophobic homosexuals. On that basis, you’d have to criminalise the Bible, the Koran and whatever else for hate speech too. Do you really want to open that can of worms? It may technically mean better treatment for certain groups like us, but that kind of ‘equality’ is actually very dangerous for social stability when you have just alienated a huge chunk of the world.

    Be careful what you wish for.

  101. At 12.48am Peter Tatchell wrote “What I did not do, and will not do, is damn all Christians as homophobes.”

    This is such an obvious diversionary tactic. Tatchell is not generally being criticised in this thread for “damning all Christians as homophobes”, nor is he being generally urged to do so. Those who are criticising his latest stance are criticising it because deluded people who believe in pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, and gods must keep their delusions to themselves. They do not have the right to inflict them on the general public, particularly when they calumniate certain minority groups.

    Secondly, to the person signing as “mmmmmmmm”: you seriously underestimate the damage that Tatchell’s statement has wrought and will wreak – if we allow it to pass unchecked. Yes, Tatchell has done some fine things in the past. But that does not mean that we must not stand firm against him when he issues something which is both transparently stupid and dangerous. There have been many fine MPs who have suddenly put a foot wrong and had to pay the price for it. This is the penalty of being a public figure. And for your information I have done more than my share in combating homophobia. Don’t assume you know the biodata of everyone posting in these threads.

  102. Jock S. Trap 14 Jan 2011, 2:28pm

    @ mmmmm…

    I have to point out one obvious contradition:-

    Do you realise what your saying via your threads is that whilst it is fine for a Homophobic preacher to be on the streets to promote we should be punished when discrimination is illegal.

    However… We as Gay/Lesbians must not go onto the streets to celebrate who we are, which is both perfectly legal (both being Homosexuality & Demonstrating), in case it offends someone who illegally discriminates.

    mmmmm indeed, Very questionable.

    Oh and the only reason that comment may have sounded like a different person is being we’re not talking about ignorant people here, we’re talking about religious homophobes.

  103. I can see another possible by-product of Tatchell’s latest crackpot idea.

    The next time a gay couple have a baby via surrogate mother and the BBC sticks a microphone into the face of some Christian or Muslim who is a homophobe, Tatchell will have encouraged the BBC to justify putting out the homophobic interview by encouraging them to claim that they were “only” putting the Christian view.

    Religious views are completely irrelevant in a secular society. All the different religions can have their different religious views by all means, if they want them, but they are irrelevant in the day to day running of the state and in issues of law and order.

  104. Jock

    “I have to point out one obvious contradition:-

    Do you realise what your saying via your threads is that whilst it is fine for a Homophobic preacher to be on the streets to promote we should be punished when discrimination is illegal.

    However… We as Gay/Lesbians must not go onto the streets to celebrate who we are, which is both perfectly legal (both being Homosexuality & Demonstrating), in case it offends someone who illegally discriminates.

    mmmmm indeed, Very questionable.

    Oh and the only reason that comment may have sounded like a different person is being we’re not talking about ignorant people here, we’re talking about religious homophobes.”

    There’s nothing questionable or contradictory about it at all, you have obviously mis-read everything I have written.

    All I have said is that all minorities, whether biological or of chosen faith should have the same freedom of speech rights. One should not trump any of the others. Which is equality in its purest form.

    Then…..

    As regards ‘celebrating ourselves’, I have merely slated the idea of a social group celebrating itself full stop, especially when it is based on biology. Pride and celebration are for achievement, not accident of birth. It’s cringeworthy and screams insecurity – it’s basically rather tasteless, over-sentimental and wet. If you feel the need to celebrate yourself, then you have major self-esteem issues.

    On the other hand, a march for equality is something very different. It’s a way of being a visible community and exercising a democratic right that we haven’t always had. It could also be celebratory, but as a way of recognising the legal achievements our community has made – we can legitimately take credit for that. But it is not the same as standing up in front of everyone and saying that you are special and should be celebrated and revered just because you are gay. It’s as bad as religious nutters saying they are the chosen ones or that whites are the superior race. I am not proud or celebrating of my sexuality and nor am I ashamed of it. It is simply a fact that I have never had any control over, like my eye or hair colour. It is not the only part of me, it shouldn’t be for anyone else either. Do straight people talk about being proud to be straight? Of course they don’t. Why? Because for them it’s a non issue, it is just a detail of their biology. And that’s exactly how I feel. If you don’t like it that I am comfortable with who I am and do not feel inferior to anyone else, then that is your problem. Just because I am gay does not mean I have to take on the rabid insecurity of most gay men and approve of those embarrassing pride events. Especially when they open us up to yet more criticism.

    Plus….

    Whether you like it or not, ignorant people and Christian homophobes get lumped together in this kind of discourse on PN. To me homophobes are homophobes, religious or otherwise.

  105. Jock

    “Actually with the amount of religious protests to the Pride events this year We do need to make a stand. You say it’s wrong but hang on being Gay or Lebian in this country IS NOT illegal. That is what these groups need to accept. Therefore we have every right to make our stand stronger.”

    I didn’t say making a stand was wrong, I’m all for political protests. But I did say that a tacky gay pride would hinder our cause. The sleazier pride has become, the more religious protests we are seeing. This is no coincidence.

    Why not play them at their own game. Find out what churches they come from and protest outside them. Shift the focus away from a dodgy annual event to a daily, peaceful political rally at the heart of the hate speech. Sneak into their churches, find out what’s being preached and then let the Guardian jump all over it. If you want to change something, you have to be on the inside. Turning out at pride in large numbers is a defensive move. Going to the outposts of Christian homophobia is being on the attack. If they complain? You simply point them to the fact that we let them protest at our events as well. Freedom of speech retained, gay and Christian viewpoints heard.

    It’s not rocket science.

    PS You say you’ve only been to one pride march – even I have been to more than that!

  106. Chris T

    “I can see another possible by-product of Tatchell’s latest crackpot idea.

    The next time a gay couple have a baby via surrogate mother and the BBC sticks a microphone into the face of some Christian or Muslim who is a homophobe, Tatchell will have encouraged the BBC to justify putting out the homophobic interview by encouraging them to claim that they were “only” putting the Christian view.

    Religious views are completely irrelevant in a secular society. All the different religions can have their different religious views by all means, if they want them, but they are irrelevant in the day to day running of the state and in issues of law and order.”

    Whether we like it or not, religion IS relevant. It’s an establishment with enough money to fund political campaigns, legal fights and to buy its way into the House of Lords.

    As for the BBC, how does the station determine which Christians they invite for interview on a gay-related subject are homophobic or not? Do you not imagine that the opinions of Christians are so narrow? That’s the problem, religion is inconsistent.

    A lot of the tackling of homophobic Christianity can be done by condemning it in public and reporting it to broadcasters. Groups don’t want to be humiliated, so they toe the line. There is only a need for criminalisation when there is a clear incitement of hatred, violence and harrassment to an individual or group of individuals. Not some religious bod making a very generic homophobic statement to an anonymous audience via the BBC.

    Moreover, it is important for people to see the pro-gay and anti-gay views if they are to see the logic and rational thought that has allowed us to progress FOR THEMSELVES. This will always work better than dictating what they should think.

  107. “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”, you do appear to understand, though you have not stated it directly, that what is at issue here is the dominance in our state of religions or the dominance in our state of secularism. You appear to be aware that religions are greedy and want as much ground as they can get their hands on. Like it or not, it’s a battle. Give religions as much ground as they would like and they would have all gays, lesbians, and transgenders back where we used to be, where they used to have us.

    So we all have to get our heads sorted, get off the fence, always be vigilant for dangerous statements (such as the one that Tatchell has unfortunately made), and make a stand. It’s an on-going battle. Religionists are like a sea of serpents: they keep coming back, and they always will! :-)

  108. Chris T

    I have no time for religion, it defies all logic, rational thought and common sense. However, society is not all about me and my minority. We are constantly being linked with this paranoid notion of ‘aggressive secularisation’ and by pushing religions even further away, we risk cutting ourselves out of the debate altogether. We can criminalise them, but it will drag the debate underground and we will no longer know what they are thinking. Not only that, but I suspect a huge proportion of the ‘I was baptised Christian but I haven’t been to church since 1973′ people will jump on the side of Christians because they will see it as an affront to British traditons and our history. At that point, we kiss goodbye to the Daily Mail readers we have won over and we’ll be facing a backlash. We’re already in one, let’s face it, so we shouldn’t make it worse by antagonising and criminalising when there is very little need to do so.

    I am more than happy to put up with the odd mishap by the BBC or street preacher if it means we keep on our trajectory to equality.

  109. @Peter, mmmmmmm and the evolving debate

    I have just read through the evolving and heated debate to date. I think where there is confluence, is on the issue of homophobia. . . curiously. We appear to agree it exists, and we also agree that it has an effect on the lives of LGBT people. I think where the debate fractures into different opinions, seems to relate to the question of the relationship between severity of homophobic intent; and violent expressions of homophobic hatred.

    If we agree that there is a continuum of homophobic violence, as Peter implies; are we also saying that intensity is directly proportional to effect?. Some people seem to be arguing this is this case.

    If it is true, that low grade homophobic expression are in no way inculcated in extreme expressions of homophobic violence; then of course it would seem futile to tackle low grade expression of homophobia.

    If we take the argument that homophobia is homophobia, this is a very different matter. For example, if a tree is a tree and it has been blighted by a disease; would you chop off the offending branches or go straight to the roots as a way of treating the tree?. Probably both I suspect.

    If we just condemn extreme expressions of homophobia, but fail to tackle low grade expressions as well; are we really tackling homophobia or just sweeping the issue under the carpet? Moreover, If we take the continuum approach to homophobia, some of us seem to be arguing that low grade expression of homophobia may only lead to low grade expressions of violence. In contrast others are arguing that left unchecked, low grade expressions of homophobia also have the propensity to inflame into escalating violence; given the right conditions.

    Inflammatory language is well understood, and the UK is very mindful of this. My question is this. If the street preachers were instead racists carrying placards condemning non-white people, but in a peaceful manner. Would this be regarded as inflammatory behaviour? . . . I think it would. Would the preachers be allowed to continue promoting their racist ideas in a peaceful manner? . . . I think not. Why not?

    Most people I think would regard this as unacceptable, because most people would regard inflammatory behaviour as containing the potential to ignite into escalating violence towards non-white people.

    To summarise, are we arguing that low grade homophobic behaviours of the street preacher, would under no circumstance ignite or contribute in any way to escalating violence against LGBT people?

    If we this is the case, then Peter and mmmmmmm are of course right!

  110. Johnk

    It is wrong that a anti-black peaceful protester with a placard would be criminalised and an anti-gay religious crackpot would not. But, as I keep saying, the answer isn’t to then criminalise that religious crackpot as well, but instead take away the protection of black people from peaceful placards. Despite how it looks, it is not a step back because you are actually affording all groups MORE freedom of speech, including gay people.

    If the street preacher could be proven to be inciting hatred, then there could be grounds for investigaton and possible criminalisation. However, as things presently stand, there is little to suggest a street preacher with views that very little of the UK public share is bringing any direct or indirect harm to the way gay people live. The other argument for not piling resources into tackling low-grade homophobia is that is probably not homophobia – it is probably ignorance, which is not an irrational fear, but a lack of education. That can be remedied without criminalisation.

    I’d rather we channelled our resources into the bigger fights – like lobbying for legal changes – than focusing the odd Abraham Man in the twon centre.

  111. fedupwithallofthis 14 Jan 2011, 5:42pm

    Re: use of the word ‘insulting’. I think you’ll find that is a Christian objection to not being allowed to say anything bad about Islam. This is being incorporated by the UN under pressure from Islamic states, if I understand it correctly.
    So perhaps this means that if a Christian says it is wrong for a Muslim to say that gay people should be killed, the Muslim may then claim that his religion has been insulted.
    I suggest the words insulted should not be used in any hate crime law at all for this reason.
    By the way, why does freedom come with responsibility? Surely the point of freedom is that it’s freedom.
    What about a ‘responsibility’ that says you must dress adequately on a Pride parade in order not to offend people who may be watching the parade?
    Most extremes of behaviour are already offences for everybody, as it should be under Rule of Law (i.e. nobody is above the law).

  112. fedupwithallofthis

    I would be glad of a rule that forbade wearing crotchless pants and jock straps at pride. But even then, it’s not the skimpy garment itself, it’s the behaviour that goes with it and/or associated with it.

    Freedom should come with responsibility because while you have the freedom to carry out an activity, others must have the freedom from it. You want to listen to your music on the bus? Great, but you put your headphones, i.e. taking the responsibility that no-one else has their freedom encroached upon. It is the listening to music that is the freedom, not how that music reaches your ears.

  113. mmmmmmm wrote

    “It is wrong that a anti-black peaceful protester with a placard would be criminalised and an anti-gay religious crackpot would not.”

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    In this sentence I think you are now contradicting yourself with regards free speech, because the corollary is that either low grade peaceful homophobic protest is allowed; or it is regarded as inflammatory.

    I think you have now moved away from the continuum idea of homophobic intent, and I think it would be now helpful if you were to define what you mean by homophobia? . . . especailly for the sake of clarity and continuing a fruitful debate.

  114. I don’t get this, if someone is spouting criminal stuff then why give them immunity, when I wasn’t out all I ever saw was that that the homophobes got away with their homophobia

  115. Tatchell’s silly words have of course been published with pleasure on the website of Ekklesia, a so-called Christian “think-tank” run by a group of Christians.

    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/13929

  116. mmmmmmmmmmmmm, you say “We can criminalise them (homophobic religious people), but it will drag the debate underground and we will no longer know what they are thinking.”

    mmmmmmmmmmmmm, I don’t WANT to know what they are thinking. I don’t CARE what homophobic religious people are thinking. They are entitled to their deluzions . . . . just so long as they keep them entirely themselves and do not cause a public nuisance.

    What’s wrong with that?

  117. Les discuss the following article written by Peter on the Ekklesia website!

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    By Peter Tatchell
    11 Jan 2011

    “Christian street preacher Dale Mcalpine last month won £7,000 in damages, following his arrest and detention by the police in April 2010 for saying homosexuality is a sin. He had expressed his beliefs to passers-by in Workington, Cumbria. As a result, he was charged with making “threatening, abusive or insulting” remarks, contrary to the Public Order Act. A court case was pending, but was dropped. Instead, he was offered an apology by the Chief Constable, and compensation.

    As a campaigner for gay rights, I disagree with Mr Mcalpine’s intolerant views. But as a defender of free speech, I endorse his right to express them. Indeed, I had offered to testify in his defence, had his case gone to court.

    Freedom of speech is one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. Mr Mcalpine’s views were homophobic, but the fact that he was treated as a criminal for expressing them, shocked me. The officer who arrested him, although doubtless well-intentioned, interpreted the law in a harsh, authoritarian manner. Mr Mcalpine was not aggressive, threatening or intimidating. He did not incite violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people; unlike some extremist Christians in Uganda and Nigeria.

    The Public Order Act is intended to protect people from harm. Mr Mcalpine’s views – although they are misguided and offensive – caused no injury or damage to anyone. His intolerant views should be challenged but he should not have been arrested.”

    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/13929

  118. JohnK

    ““It is wrong that a anti-black peaceful protester with a placard would be criminalised and an anti-gay religious crackpot would not.”

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    In this sentence I think you are now contradicting yourself with regards free speech, because the corollary is that either low grade peaceful homophobic protest is allowed; or it is regarded as inflammatory.

    I think you have now moved away from the continuum idea of homophobic intent, and I think it would be now helpful if you were to define what you mean by homophobia? . . . especailly for the sake of clarity and continuing a fruitful debate.”

    I haven’t contradicted myself at all. To clarify, I said the anti-black guy and the anti-gay bloke should not be criminalised at all. At present, the law would only criminalise the anti-black gay. To me that is unequal and unfair, but re-levelling the playing field should not be done through criminalising both parties. That is, no criminalisation at all. Low-grade homophobia (your words, not mine) is a sacrifice worth paying for greater free speech. Ditto for low-grade anti-black, anti-Muslim and anti-Christian sentiment. In the long run, it will protect us all and means that those who are unintentionally ignorant but not hateful do not get the book thrown at them when it’s not necessary. A slap on the wrists will do for most people. Like the nurse who offered to pray for her patients. Not appropriate, but not done through hate. She was demoted when a word from the boss would have done. We don’t always need a sledgehammer to crack a peanut.

    Homophobia is not actually anti-gay, it is the irrational fear of homosexuals and homosexuality. You don’t have to be scared of gay people to not like them, you could be against them from a biological/reproductive perspective or because it physically repulses you. Neither of those are through fear. The word homophobic is often used where prejudiced or ignorant would suffice. Offense has been caused, but the manner in which it has been made is different. It’s like the difference between murder and manslaughter – you’ve still killed someone, but one was intended and pre-meditated, the other was the heat of the moment or possibly accidental. A huge difference. And people on here ought to remember that. But then many people use the word racist when it’s actually not. If you criticise Muslims for their views, most left-wing people will call you a racist. Race is skin colour and ethnicity, it’s nothing to do with their treatment of women or gays. All these -isms and -phobias have become blurred and confused, but the original power of the label is still very much there.

  119. Lisa

    “mmmmmmmmmmmmm, you say “We can criminalise them (homophobic religious people), but it will drag the debate underground and we will no longer know what they are thinking.”

    mmmmmmmmmmmmm, I don’t WANT to know what they are thinking. I don’t CARE what homophobic religious people are thinking. They are entitled to their deluzions . . . . just so long as they keep them entirely themselves and do not cause a public nuisance.

    What’s wrong with that?”

    There’s everything wrong with that because, if we are to adhere to your principles in an equal manner, it means we shouldn’t be allowed to question religious doctrine and should keep ourselves and our views behind closed doors. How the hell is that meant to enable us to achieve full equality? You haven’t thought that response through at all.

    It is vital we know what they are thinking, otherwise we cannot counter their influence in society. The BNP were more dangerous when they were underground, but now we can see them and access their manifestos and policies, we can attack them more effectively. You clearly didn’t think of that either.

    If your pretty little ears are too oversensitive to be able to deal with even a few words that you don’t want to hear, you will cope with precious little else in life. Had those who have won our rights thusfar had your attitude, we’d all have been stuffed!

  120. mmmmmmm wrote

    ” Low-grade homophobia (your words, not mine) is a sacrifice worth paying for greater free speech.”

    . . . . . . . .

    Greater free speech for Christians?

    or

    Greater free speech for Christians to make inflammatory remarks, which may ignite; and justify esculating violence against LGBT people!!!

  121. “Greater free speech for Christians?

    or

    Greater free speech for Christians to make inflammatory remarks, which may ignite; and justify esculating violence against LGBT people!!!”

    Greater free speech for everyone because, as I keep saying and you keep ignoring, free speech has to be equal to all. And that means, yes Christians could make inflammatory comments, but then so could we about them.

    The alternative, that you propose, would be to just establish equality by criminalising everyone. That is wrong and would give them the upper hand. Most of the anti-Christian vitriol on here would be seen as possible hate speeech. But if we remove the unequal barriers to free speech, then we can’t get prosecuted for airing our views on religion. They couldn’t be prosecuted either, but at least neither can we. At the minute, the playing field is unequal, as I have tirelessly explained. Remove protected free speech from those groups who have it and we are all back on the same terms. Very bloody simple.

    Now do you understand?

  122. mmmmmmm . . . . On the issue of free speech “what I understand” is that you continue to be inconsistent and contradictory.

    For example:

    On the thread below in which Paul thinks it is ok to call people Faggots you say . . .

    . . . . . . . . . .

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/01/14/canada-bans-anti-gay-dire-straits-song/

    “If it can empower you, it can empower others – our enemies. Also, you are setting a bad example – young people copy adults. If they hear you using that word about yourself and your other gay friends, they will pick it up and think it’s fine to use – but probably not in a nice context. And potentially insulting a lot of people. You are helping no-one by continuing to use it”

    . . . . . . . . . .

    mmmmmmm . . . So in what way does allowing street preachers to call homosexuals sinful, or an abomination before God; not empower young people to copy these adults.

    Also, in what way does it prevent them from going on to engage in inflammatory behaviour, which could also ignite escalating violence against LGBT people?

  123. “Remove protected free speech from those groups who have it and we are all back on the same terms. Very bloody simple.
    Now do you understand?”

    . . . . . . .

    No . . . people will not suddenly become equal, becasue it does not remove the stigmas and prejudices on which hate is built!

    All your are allowing is for the street corner to become a legitmate space from which fantatics can legally harrass LGBT people.

  124. Idealism!!! . . . does not protect the lives of LGBT people.

  125. JohnK

    “mmmmmmm . . . . On the issue of free speech “what I understand” is that you continue to be inconsistent and contradictory.

    For example:

    On the thread below in which Paul thinks it is ok to call people Faggots you say . . .

    . . . . . . . . . .

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/01/14/canada-bans-anti-gay-dire-straits-song/

    “If it can empower you, it can empower others – our enemies. Also, you are setting a bad example – young people copy adults. If they hear you using that word about yourself and your other gay friends, they will pick it up and think it’s fine to use – but probably not in a nice context. And potentially insulting a lot of people. You are helping no-one by continuing to use it”

    . . . . . . . . . .

    mmmmmmm . . . So in what way does allowing street preachers to call homosexuals sinful, or an abomination before God; not empower young people to copy these adults.

    Also, in what way does it prevent them from going on to engage in inflammatory behaviour, which could also ignite escalating violence against LGBT people?”

    You raise an interesting point, but again there is no contradiction, it’s just your lack of understanding about the complexities of human thought.

    Being labelled sinful or an abomination is purely religious language, coming straight out of a book whose every passage can be questioned. Faggot is not religious, it’s universal and much more dangerous. Moreover, faggot doesn’t need to be explained, everyone knows exactly what it means. 13 year old kids wouldn’t have a clue what abomination meant unless they were religious, it’s a seldom used word and covers everything from abortion to divorce. If religious people were using the word faggot, then that could easily be seen as incitement of hatred. Many things can be sinful or an abomination, a faggot can only be a gay person. That is the difference.

    Likewise, we should be able to call religious folk prejudiced, homophobic and anti-democratic. Those terms equate to the non-religious way of saying that their views go against our state laws (like sinful implies it goes against Biblical law). But the term Bible basher or God-botherer could be seen as inflammatory as faggot since it only applies to Christians and no other social group. Yid, n***er, Paki and Chink fall into the same category.

    As regards young people copying street preachers, I’d say they are the least likely to listen out of all social groups. Teenagers hate being lectured and so the only ones who would listen are those who are on the path to radicalisation anyway, for which prevention is nigh on impossible. If kids do pick up words like abomination and sinful, it’ll be from their religious parents or the church they attend. And that, I’m afraid, you cannot overcome unless the state intervenes to outlaw the teaching of the Bible in the home or in the church. As great asthat would be, it’s not going to happen.

    So, to reiterate AGAIN, low-grade barbs from either side are fine, so long as they don’t call for the harrasment, physical attack or death of anyone. Free speech is very grey, but if we all want to enjoy a minimum level of it, then we will have to compromise on being able to dish out the odd insult.

    Essential, I get the impression that what you want to be able to do is insult religious people as much as you want, but without having to face being insulted in return. Sorry, but the laws of equal treatment and true democracy don’t allow for that. You’ll just have to live with it.

  126. “No . . . people will not suddenly become equal, becasue it does not remove the stigmas and prejudices on which hate is built!”

    Unless you ban all religion, burn down the mosques, temples and synagogues and create a secular state you will NOT remove the origins of those stigmas or prejudices. As that is not an option when there are billions of religous people in the world, there is no point even considering that. Be rational!

    By doing what I said and putting everyone on equal terms in what they can say freely, it means that the peddling of those stigmas and prejudices can only go so far. Countering the stigmatisation is achieved by us using OUR free speech by way of promoting rational thought, education, common sense and a better understanding of biology. If we tar all Christians with the same brush, we will lose the increasing number of them who have shown us support.

    “All your are allowing is for the street corner to become a legitmate space from which fantatics can legally harrass LGBT people.”

    No, no and bloody no. As I said harrassment isn’t part of free speech. Harrassment is an action, not a statement and you would do well not to confuse the two. I can call you a prat and that is a statement. Physically intimidating you or following you down the street calling you a prat is harrassment. Do you see the difference? You should.

    By the way, you do know that you are allowed to also stand on the street corner and counter that religious fanatics views, don’t you? Well get on your soap box and do it. One has to fight fire with fire on occasion and as you are so anti-everything that is not you, then I think you are the man for the job. Don’t you?!

  127. Unfortunately
    Idealism!!! . . . does not protect the lives of LGBT people.

    When you say . . .

    “Essential, I get the impression that what you want to be able to do is insult religious people as much as you want, but without having to face being insulted in return. Sorry, but the laws of equal treatment and true democracy don’t allow for that. You’ll just have to live with it.”

    If Christianity has so much to lose from not being able to say that LGBT are sinful!

    Why is that so terrible!, for a relgion which claims to be built on love?

  128. And who said anything about idealism protecting anyone. Idealism is about setting IDEALS (the clue’s in the name!) for what we want to achieve. Most of the time, we can get pretty close, but what you are proposing – i.e. a ban on any religious person essentially opening his/her mouth – is not a workable ideal, simply because it smacks of inequality. I would not support you at all in implementing such a policy.

  129. “No, no and bloody no. As I said harrassment isn’t part of free speech. Harrassment is an action, not a statement and you would do well not to confuse the two.”

    . . . . . . . . . . .

    That sounds like mental illness to me, not sanity

    Good night

    Get help!!! . . . fast

  130. JohnK

    “Unfortunately
    Idealism!!! . . . does not protect the lives of LGBT people.

    When you say . . .

    “Essential, I get the impression that what you want to be able to do is insult religious people as much as you want, but without having to face being insulted in return. Sorry, but the laws of equal treatment and true democracy don’t allow for that. You’ll just have to live with it.”

    If Christianity has so much to lose from not being able to say that LGBT are sinful!

    Why is that so terrible!, for a relgion which claims to be built on love?”

    Right this is the last one then I am going to bed, my brain is fried!

    Religions are not built on love, they are built on exclusivity. If there is any love involved, it is conditional to the fact that you have to join that religion to benefit from it.

    For Christians, there is obviously a feeling that there is a lot to lose – otherwise why would they be making such a racket about being silenced? Or that their traditions are being attacked and outlawed? Their book is not just a book, it is a guide on how to live your life. And part of that ones duty as a Christian is going out and spreading what is in that bloody book. It’s therefore hardly surprising that they take umbarge at being told they cannot fulfil what they see as their moral duty. I’m not saying it’s rational or desirable, but that’s what they believe. And you aren’t going to change their minds or be deterred from fighting the onslaught of what they perceiev as immoral. So, all we can do is chip away bit by bit by winning over the law-makers of the UK, winning them over with common sense and rational thought until we achieve the best possible equality we can. But be prepared that this may mean lay preachers can condemn homosexuality on the street in a passive way if we are to be able to do the same.

    I know you hate religion and would love to see it abolished. So would I, but making religions our enemy more than we have to will only cause a more serious backlash against us. Even then, it isn’t Christianity you should be worrying about, Islam is far more dangerous – with a higher birth rate in their communities and increasing numbers attending independent faith schools that can teach the vilest of homophobic views, we are in for a rocky ride.

    Think that’ll do for today. Pleasure debating with you sir.

  131. JohnK

    “That sounds like mental illness to me, not sanity

    Good night

    Get help!!! . . . fast”

    I clearly shouldn’t have been so nice in my last post. Screw you then. And your psychiatrist.

  132. mmmmmmmmmmmmm, I do not have “pretty little ears”, thank you very much! My ears are rugged and strong! And they’re picking up all the contradictions in what you say, as JohnK has pointed out so well.

    you say “We can criminalise them (homophobic religious people), but it will drag the debate underground and we will no longer know what they are thinking.”

    mmmmmmmmmmmmm, I don’t WANT to know what they are thinking. I don’t CARE what homophobic religious people are thinking. They are entitled to their deluzions . . . . just so long as they keep them entirely themselves and do not cause a public nuisance.

    What’s wrong with that?”

    There’s everything wrong with that because, if we are to adhere to your principles in an equal manner, it means we shouldn’t be allowed to question religious doctrine and should keep ourselves and our views behind closed doors. How the hell is that meant to enable us to achieve full equality? You haven’t thought that response through at all.

    You have made the error of wrongly assuming that I think we should have a society where people of all the world’s religions and people who are not mentally ill, i.e. who do not believe in the non-existent, should be considered equal! That’s not the case.

    You have also made the error of thinking that you can control what people think. You can’t. And you never will. But the state CAN lay down reasonable guidelines as to what people may DO. That’s a different story.

    If you insist on doing so you can have as many sick and deranged fantasies as you like provided they remain inside your head. You can even meet with others in private gatherings and convince yourselves that your fantasies are true. But the state must NOT allow you to indulge in any behaviour in public which translates your fantasies into reality, into action.

    Peter T is suggesting religious people should be allowed to make homophobic statements in public provided they make them in a sincere and calm manner. But he’s now kicking up stink because some Muslims are going to meet in private to share their sick beliefs. He’s gone potty and he’s got things the wrong way round.

    Peter T should be supporting the belief that no person may speak disparagingly of or act disparagingly towards minority groups in any public place. And he should accept that one can never control what goes on inside people’s heads or when people meet in private.

  133. Lisa . . . on the thread below

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/01/14/hotel-chain-asked-to-cancel-conference-with-anti-gay-hate-preachers/

    mmmmmmmm . . . is calling for the right to incite murder

  134. Hopefully he’s beginning to get this issue sorted in head now, JohnK. I hope.

    People have got to accept that human thought cannot be legislated. Private behaviour cannot be legislated. But public behaviour CAN and MUST!

  135. JohnK

    “Lisa . . . on the thread below

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/01/14/hotel-chain-asked-to-cancel-conference-with-anti-gay-hate-preachers/

    mmmmmmmm . . . is calling for the right to incite murder”

    Oh, look, yet another one of your overreactionary slurs. But, yes, you are right. If they can incite murder of gay people, we should be able to incite murder of Muslims. That seems pretty equal to me. Of course, if you had any nouse about you, you’d realise that I have advocated free speech only when it does NOT incite hatred, violence or harrassment in all my posts. Violence does include murder, did you know that? And, clearly, that would mean criminalising those nice Muslims at the conference who want us all dead. You are beyond even being a prat.

    Instead of taking a point, twisting it and drizzling in some insanity, why don’t you learn about the value of real free speech. All you seem to do is try to create mass hysteria and drama where there isn’t any and spread lies about people on here. Not to mention calling people mentally ill, which is actually quite cheap and cringeworthy. I’d love to see you throw that one in at a professional debating event. There is nothing constructive in the comment above that you have made. If you can’t be grown up, go back to playgroup.

    Lisa

    “People have got to accept that human thought cannot be legislated. Private behaviour cannot be legislated. But public behaviour CAN and MUST!”

    Of course it should, but not to the extent that you want it. In your last, longer post you make it very clear that you want religious groups to be treated unequally in terms of their freedom of expression, i.e. they should have less say than us. I disagree wholeheartedly and you are an enemy of free speech if you advocate that kind of legislation.

  136. No, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, they can have all the say they want but they must restrict their say to their own heads or private gatherings.

    Their say is predicated upon total nonsense – as Dawkins correctly says, an illness, a delusion.

    Or don’t you believe that. Maybe you believe in imps and elves and holy ghosts?

    See, I have got quite a lot going between my “pretty little ears”, haven’t I, Mr. mmmmmmmm. (You couldn’t possibly be a Ms. mmmmmmmmm, could you?)

  137. mmmmmmmmmmmm, why do you waste time on these people? They are incapable of reasoning because they only know how to process your reasonable and rational words through PC filters. You could be on here ad infinitum trying to rationalize why the criminalization of free speech is the worst possible outcome for every single human being alive today – yes, gays included – and they STILL wouldn’t get it.
    And the attacks on Peter Tatchell are just truly despicable, worthy of a lynch mob. He has more courage and bravery in his little finger nail and has done more to advance gay rights than this ungrateful rabble will collectively achieve in a lifetime of moaning and whinging on these boards. Do they seriously think, for one minute, that he would risk turning back the clock on all his hard-fought, heroic achievements if he thought that what he is debating here is counter-productive to the gay community’s greater good? Of course not!
    The biggest tragedy of this debate is that it is indicative that the upfront and vocal element of the gay community is largely comprised of bitter, resentful, down-trodden reactionaries who only know how to play the victim card, and who refuse to step back, remove their blinkers and see the picture from a bigger perspective
    I live what I consider to be a normal, unobtrusive life. That is, I don’t frequent the scene and I certainly do not go to gay “pride” events. I am out with my family and friends but I am certainly not loud about it. Oh, and I have never been verbally abused either. Strange, that. But then, I would wager it is for the very reason that people who know me constantly tell me “I would never have you down for someone who is gay, not in a million years”, and that it is in fact the minority of “loud and proud” people in the marches, some displaying the worst excesses of gay culture and rubbing the public’s noses’ in it, who are attracting most homophobic ire. But then, what do you expect?
    If a minority of gay men will flaunt their sexuality in ways that are often degrading and offensive even to gay-identified people who just want to live normal lives side by side with neighbours of all sexual persuasions, then how on earth can they complain when Christians decide to march in protest at what they perceive to be THE generic gay lifestyle, which they understandably interpret as a pervasive attack on family life, even though the worst excesses and caricatures being paraded and flaunted have no resonance or relevance to most gay-identified people?
    Join the dots and maybe we can understand why the likes of Gareth Roberts came out so late while many other sportsmen feel they are unable to – or are just too downright scared – to be identified by what society witnesses at pride marches and perceives to be representative of all of gay life.
    But give me Gareth Roberts as a role model over the guy marching in a chorus girl’s outfit replete with pom pom and whistle’s, or a near-naked slave being dragged on a chain by his daddy leather master, any day. And until we do get more “normal” representations of gay people like Gareth Roberts, who show the mainstream public that the gay lifestyle is not to be feared or to feel threatened or repulsed by, then maybe, just maybe homophobia will begin to become a thing of the past…

  138. William . . . When are people like you going to sort out your internalised homophobia and selfloathing, and develop some self-respect. . . and then perhaps homophobia might be come a thing of the past?

  139. In a nutshell, we need to gradually eliminate homophobia NOT by making criminals of everyone who utters a word perceived to be hurtful or offensive to a person or group of people, but by setting an example as gay-identified people such that we do not incite the feelings or emotions that give rise to homophobic actions or behaviour in the first place. Beyond the pomp, loudness and sexual excesses of pride marches and the “scene”, most of us are just normal people getting on with our lives without making an overt fuss or song and dance about who we are. Because, at the end of the day, apart from what goes on between the sheets, we are really no different to “them”. Yet a minority seem hellbent on forever pulling around that giant chip on their collective shoulder and making the loudest noise and, in doing so, rubbing everyone’s elses’ faces in our sexuality. And yes, at times they DO have a right to feel peeved about it.
    Homophobia is a reaction born of fear, and most of that fear comes from the latent homosexuality of the homophobe him/herself, whether it comprises 10% or 70% of his/her sexual make-up (sexuality is a completely fluid thing, and as I have said on these boards before “gay” and “straight” are just labels; people are first and foremost sexual beings). If you give the homophobe/person with latent homosexual feelings nothing to feel threatened by, you give him/her nothing to react against. It may even encourage them to be more open and free with their own innate sexuality if they realize that you don’t have to adopt a high-pitched, catty voice or wear Dolce and Gabanna and Channel No. 5 to be attracted to other men…
    (Cue James J: “WTF is he wittering on about)
    Oh, one more thing while I’m here; nobody has explained that if insanity were to prevail and homophobia was criminalized, how would one then define what words constitute an offensive as different people react in different ways. What would the yardstick be? There wouldn’t be one, and hence why that path would enable the creep criminalization of all manner of words perceived by some to be offensive, however vague.

  140. William . . . when are you going to stop throwing tantrums and actually construct a paragraph !!!

  141. Can I suggest that there be a limit on the number of comments anyone person can post on one article?

    And why is Pink news allowing P Tatchell’s self-publicising waffle to be put up as a headline news story.

    Of course Peter wants to encourage street preachers and confrontation – that’s the business he is in. Personally I think the present law is correct – it should not be legal for one person to harass or insult others in the street to such a degree that it causes them distress etc and is likely to provoke a breach of the peace on the basis of some characteristic that they cannot help, have no control over and causes no harm.

  142. benji wrote

    “Of course Peter wants to encourage street preachers and confrontation – that’s the business he is in.”

    benji . . . exactly!!!

    . . . . . . . . . .

    If homophobic street preachers are not allowed to harass LGBT people on the street corner, of course; sadly . . . Peter loses his job.

    The harassment of Christians has been part of Peter’s business for the last 20 years.

    No wants think that they are indispensable.

  143. William, you come across as a rather closed, insular, and isolated kind of gay man, the sort that might even nip round to the local village church on Sunday mornings. I also sense that you actually have not worked with activists and don’t actually know the dynamics of activism and how activists tick. I also perceive that you and mmmmmm are of one and the same mind. ;-) You don’t like your comfort zone being rattled and you like to have total faith in your idols.

  144. those long comments are screen dumps left to derail discussions by trolls ignore them

  145. JohnK

    “William . . . When are people like you going to sort out your internalised homophobia and selfloathing, and develop some self-respect. . . and then perhaps homophobia might be come a thing of the past?”

    When are YOU going to stop using such clichéd ideas of ‘internalised homophobia’ as legitimate arguments in a debate? They hold no weight in a respectable debate. It does seem to be a pattern with you (and a few others on here). Essentially, you don’t understand logic and rational thought and, therefore, you throw petty barbs under the illusion that this is somehow going to make people listen to what you are saying. If anyone on here is lacking self-respect, it is you.

    Sam

    “William, you come across as a rather closed, insular, and isolated kind of gay man, the sort that might even nip round to the local village church on Sunday mornings. I also sense that you actually have not worked with activists and don’t actually know the dynamics of activism and how activists tick. I also perceive that you and mmmmmm are of one and the same mind. You don’t like your comfort zone being rattled and you like to have total faith in your idols.”

    Did no one ever tell you that a point can only be respected when it is not based on speculation? You have just made a fair few assumptions about William based on a few comments. You have implied he is religious and that he has never been involved with activism. Could you please substantiate that with evidence, please? And as for idols, do you mean religious ones or celebrity ones? Again, you need to be precise in what you say, or else it just invalidates your point. If it’s religious ones, then you’ve picked on the wrong agnostic here. Better luck next time.

    And as for my fear of the unknown, if I didn’t like being out of my comfort zone, I certainly wouldn’t be on here dealing with some irrational anti-free speech nutters. I have great disdain for such people, but it is my civic duty to respond with some common sense to limit the damage done by people like you.

    Gerald

    ” those long comments are screen dumps left to derail discussions by trolls ignore them”

    Or rather we have a lot to say on a matter of great importance, the bulk of which you aren’t able to understand. Public debates on key issues don’t consist of two-line statements of nothingness and speculation (derailing?), akin to what you have just graced us with. If you can’t keep up with the big boys, keep out and let us get on with it.

  146. Apols, I meant Graham, not Gerald. I’d obviously substituted one boring name for another.

  147. Benji

    “Can I suggest that there be a limit on the number of comments anyone person can post on one article?”

    Erm, isn’t that yet another attack on free speech? Presumably based on you trying to silence those who disagree with you. Or perhaps it’s because you have nothing of substance to contribute. Man up, eh.

    “And why is Pink news allowing P Tatchell’s self-publicising waffle to be put up as a headline news story.”

    Probably because he is a key player in the furthering of gay rights. Just because you don’t like him, doesn’t mean those of us who appreciate his work have to be denied updates on his views and work. Again, stop trying to stifle progress.

    “Of course Peter wants to encourage street preachers and confrontation – that’s the business he is in.”

    Like most of us, he wants to know what they’re thinking and how it can impact on gay people. And, yes, it is the business he’s in, it’s politcial. Politics being based on…..free speech and discourse??? I think you’re possibly in the wrong business, don’t you?

    “Personally I think the present law is correct – it should not be legal for one person to harass or insult others in the street to such a degree that it causes them distress etc and is likely to provoke a breach of the peace on the basis of some characteristic that they cannot help, have no control over and causes no harm.”

    Who’s disagreeing with that? No-one has said anyone should be able to incite violence, harrassment or abuse of any sort. Tatchell is advocating that simply making negative remarks about homosexuality should not be criminalised. It means that we are free to condemn religion in the same way. If we did as you want, i.e. criminalise them for ANY anti-gay remarks, then, on the basis of equality, we would be criminalised for making anti-religious marks. That would hugely weaken our ability to further our rights. Of course, like a few others on here, you haven’t thought the consequences through as you’ve been too busy being a wet blanket who can’t take criticism of ANY Level. After all, isn’t that why you want to limit how much people can post?

    If you can’t take the heat…..get out of the debating chamber!

  148. “Of course, like a few others on here, [blah, blah, blah]”

    Mmmmmm, there’s only one person who has constantly been puffing with obvious anger and indulging in grumpy put-downs and, as above, it has been you.

  149. I believe he should be allowed to express his opinions freely, as should everyone, this constant alignment with racism is unnessesary, didnt your mother ever tell you that just ‘cos the other kids do it doesent make it ok? And this suggestion that this could cause violence is moot, if someone where to for example, try to replicate a manouver they saw in a car chase in the cinema the film company would not be responsible. I know that sounds different, but the man was preaching about what his holy text claims are sins, he was not instructing people on what actions they must take against sinners (other no doubt repent ect.) Finaly, lets face it people, if this man had been left to his own devices, he would only have have been heard by confused/annoyed passersby on some streetcorner, by giving him his day in court (even if you were to convict the bloke) you simply lend credence to his statements.

    end.

  150. Ignore it Rhys it might go away

  151. William said: “If a minority of gay men will flaunt their sexuality in ways that are often degrading and offensive even to gay-identified people who just want to live normal lives side by side with neighbours of all sexual persuasions…”

    Well observed, and I would wager that this minority representation of gay life which tars all homosexual people with the same brush is the same minority on here who are desperate to cling to their pom poms and chains come what may, even if that means campaigning for authoritarian legislation that will send us all hurtling into a police state and making potential criminals of us all. Driving this hysteria for legislation is the fact that the word “gay” itself is under threat as people wake up and realise that all “gay” and “straight” really stand for is dividing and separating people into opposing camps, with the extremists on both sides (e.g. the Christian and gay radical fringes who proliferate on these threads) refusing to accept or tolerate the other. Behind this illusion of separation, of course, “Gay” is just a word a minority of vocal, militant homosexuals “stole” a few years ago to give their radical brand of homosexuality an identity, but who then demanded that everyone who has ever been attracted to some of the same sex come out as gay. In their narrow-minded view of the world, you must be either “gay” (e.g. with them), “straight” or “in denial”. They refuse to accept any other way such is their extreme intolerance. Why they hate this article by Peter so much is that as a pioneer for the very rights which they set out to demand several decades ago, they now perceive him a threat to maintaining the illusion of separation that divides them from the rest of society. For example, it is now well established that across college campuses on both sides of the Atlantic, “gay” and “straight” are labels that are being/have been consigned to the dustbins of history as people wake up to their infinite sexual potential and who refuse to limit themselves or define themselves by who they choose to sleep with. In other words the word “gay” as a movement is finished, kaput, even if the dying embers are always out on these discussion boards in full force whenever sensing a threat. Like the thrashing of the defeated dragon’s tail in its final gasp, they throw around wild and unsubstantiated accusations and gross insults to maintain their delusion, such as accusing Peter of being too old and of “losing his marbles” while suggesting that others – who have previously made clear their abhorence of religion – attended church this morning or are in internal conflict with their (fabricated) gay self. Oh that we had more thinkers on here like Peter, mmmmmmmmmm and William who simply say it as it is.

  152. Wayne . . . if you could construct a paragraph we might be able to decipher what your argument is.

    Wayne . . . The fact that you cannot construct a sentance, let alone a paragraph; suggests that you have no arguments to add apart from this mastubatory rant.

    Wayne . . . Do not insult our intelligence . . .

  153. mmmmmmmmm

    “….Who’s disagreeing with that? No-one has said anyone should be able to incite violence, harrassment or abuse of any sort. Tatchell is advocating that simply making negative remarks about homosexuality should not be criminalised. ”

    With the danger of causing more literal diarrhoea ,PT, as far as I can see ,has simply cut and pasted the arguments put forward by CARE and other christian organisations for amending section 5 of the public order act when the freedom bill is discussed…he doesn’t add anything new to these people who quite frankly are there to promote anti gay feelings, harassment and abuse… Why should we support PT and such people when the harm will utlimately be to us if this law is changed..The current law still allows a large degree of freedom of speech, you still have to prove that the behaviour is threatening, abusive or insulting AND is likley to cause harassmnet, alarm and distress…what’s wrong with that, it makes perfect sense to me, it makes perfect sense to a harmonious society…..Who the hell wants to confront aggressive, abusive, harassing and insulting people and get into a public fraca and slanging match…It’s not nice for anyone!!

  154. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8261705/The-therapist-who-claims-she-can-help-gay-men-go-straight.html

    I wonder what PT think what rights these people should have, should we let them get away with it or should we engage them with debate?

    I wonder if he thinks that their christian beliefs should be tolerated by the LGBT commuity in the same way he thinks we should tolerate those of the street preachers!!!

    The therapist is accused of having an “agenda that homosexuality is wrong and that gay people can change” and that she “allegedly attempted to inflict these views on ” the gay reporter

    Doesn’t sound much different to these street preachers , where do you draw the line, both this therapist and street preachers have the same agenda, both extremely harmful……

  155. Jock S. Trap 17 Jan 2011, 8:38am

    “If a minority of gay men will flaunt their sexuality in ways that are often degrading and offensive even to gay-identified people who just want to live normal lives side by side with neighbours of all sexual persuasions…”

    You seem to completely miss the point. It has Never been illegal for a man and a woman to have a relationship, to love one another, to have sex. They don’t get tortured, murdered, bullied, jailed etc for being so.

    In this country that’s how Gay/Lesbian/ Bisexuals have been treated (or do you have short memories?) and still are being bullied, murdered, discriminated against. Even though in 1967 homosexuality was made legal.

    I think if people want to go shouting it out on the streets for one day of partying we are All perfectly entitled to do so. It doesn’t matter how it looks, how it comes across the fact remains Every LGBT person in this country has the right to feel proud of themselves and celebrate.

    Your forgetting the masses that turn up to these events.

    The fact now we have certain areas that wish to discriminate against us like for example Tower Hamletts with there ‘Gay-Free Zone’ posters then yes these marches are too important to ignore.

    In any case so what if people are expressing themselves however they want, we are legally entitled to in this and many other countries.

    If showing the world we have something worth celebrating, even if it goes someway to helping those living in repressive societies realise they are not alone and that people are fighting for them too then it is worth every minute of it. The louder the better.

  156. Jock S. Trap 17 Jan 2011, 8:41am

    “Apols, I meant Graham, not Gerald. I’d obviously substituted one boring name for another.”

    Yeah well I think we can take from that the kind of person you really are!

  157. “I think if people want to go shouting it out on the streets for one day of partying we are All perfectly entitled to do so. It doesn’t matter how it looks, how it comes across the fact remains Every LGBT person in this country has the right to feel proud of themselves and celebrate.”

    Have you actually attended a pride march Jock? And I don’t mean the parties afterwards when most people are inebriated on drugs ore beer? Amid the freak show elements these marches themselves are often quite sullen affairs. Next time you attend one look around and see how many happy, smiling, proud faces you can actually spot. They are few and far between. Most people are there simply to make an unequivocal statement, and a political one at that: “We’re here, we’re queer, and if you don’t approve how we choose to express it then F— you!” seems to be the message they are evoking, and which feeds the very homophobia that people on these threads are always screeching and moaning about. The dog is clearly chasing its tail here, but it is the louder, “prouder” gays who are throwing fuel to the fire and fermenting the seeds of homophobia. On the flip side, a lot more of us are now breaking down the stereotypes and boundaries and are escaping the narrow confines of the ghettoes, opting instead to socialise in mixed environments and set up house in the suburbs. It is these gays, with an open heart, attitude and keenness to mix with all sexualities, who are the pioneers for the next step in our evolution.

    (JohnK, if you find it too difficult following these threads and are incapable of keeping up, may I recommend the teenies web site Puttta.com where words of three or more syllables are few and far between?)

  158. Jock S. Trap 17 Jan 2011, 2:37pm

    Yes, I have, only one march though, but after all these religious crack-pots I am making a point of going to them to make a point and to be counted.

    If I’m truthful I always felt there was no need for me to do so but that has changed and seeing some of the goings on at other Pride events last year, I feel it is important that I join in and be counted in making our community’s voice heard. I have to add that I have always felt proud of those who do the march, Never ashamed like some on here clearly are.

    This is about our Freedom after all. More seem to want to threaten that so our voice needs to be louder.

    So what if thats how people want to celebrate. It’s for one day, who cares. If Some religious people want to take exception to that then thats their problem.

    Being Gay/Lesbian is not illegal. It hasn’t been for 44years now. However people still get murdered, abused and discriminated in this country just for who they are. We’re not going to get accepted if we hide away and hope no-one finds out. That attitude is sure, yours to make but unacceptable in the 21st century when it is clear that sadly we need to make this statement.

    People are entitled to celebrate who they are in which ever why they want. It doesn’t harm anyone You may not want to be around those particular people but not everyone there is the same so you move to somewhere else in the crowd.

    As for your most people on drugs and beer comment, maybe if you stopped stereotyping everyone as the same you’ll see the wood from the trees.

    Just remember London Pride alone attracts approx 1m people, for One day. Considering the Popes masses last year attracted 70,000 – 90,000 people in one day. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Pride isn’t doing the damage you clearly wish it to succeed in.

    Pride event need to get bigger with bigger support and I reckon it will gather in strength as most people will see it as giving the right message to these hateful religious discriminaters. The message that out voice is growing stronger and they are the ones in decline. We are human beings to be looked up to just like everyone else and I for one find that very much worth celebrating.

  159. Jock S. Trap 17 Jan 2011, 2:39pm

    Maybe you also think things like the Notting Hill Carnival is bad too?! I mean it does celebrate black culture after all. So why not LGBT culture?

  160. All those who are currently critising the opinion of this article – I would really, really like to see you practice what you preach (if you’ll pardon the pun).
    And excuse me, but when did we become a secular society? Good grief.

  161. ““Apols, I meant Graham, not Gerald. I’d obviously substituted one boring name for another.”

    Yeah well I think we can take from that the kind of person you really are!”

    Coming from a poster with your moniker – I guess we can take that to be reflective of the kind of person you are too. It cuts both ways Jock.

  162. Wayne

    I am totally with you on this. London or Brighton have never appealed to me to live in, largely beacaus ethe majority of gay people living there are exactly the kind who I see as tarring us all with the stereotypical brush. From the irrepsonsible behaviour and promiscuity, to the queeny attitude issues and insecurities. Mash it all together and mix with drink and drugs for an annual display and you’ve done the community a lot of damage. 1/7 gay men in London have HIV, it’s more like 1/6 in Brighton. Out here in the suburbs? I don’t know anyone with it. Funny that. Those of us who live in rural areas actually face the greatest threats from homophobia, but people like me are the people to take it on. Plus, if you live in a city gay ghetto, how on Earth would you know how accepting people can be if you never give them the chance? I’ve never had a problem out here. But then that is also because my behaviour is much more dignified than you would see at a Pride event and thus people see me as being much more like them. They see me being gay as different to them, but not unequal. And they certainly aren’t fearful of it.

    Jock

    Again, Notting Hill Carnival is not comparable. Gay pride is purely about loving the same gender, we don’t have a specific gay culture because we are only a biological minority, not a cultural one. NH is about food, music, clothing, dancing, singing and traditions from across across the Afro-Carribbean community and more. The diversity is MUCH greater. And, it isn’t a huge display of sexually charged behaviour – the very thing that makes Pride embarrassingly hideous. Everyone can join in NH, but not everyone is comfortable having people so overtly sexualised in their face. And if that’s all they see, why would they think that it wasn’t something that defines us?

    At least you’ve got me and Wayne out here in the burbs to counter the city-dwelling extremists.

  163. Wayne, you are so completely wrong about the countless 1000s of people who have walked on gay pride marches in this country and all over the world. The vast majority of people on these marches are average pleasant people who are not as you have described.

    The fact that you have criticised everybody who has gone on gay pride marches all over the globe and successfully pushed back the barriers to the furtherance of gay and lesbian pride, so totally proves that you are either a homophobe yourself or at least a misanthrope.

    And by the way, at all the gatherings, carnivals, festivals, and parties I have attended after gay pride marches from Sydney, to Amsterdam, to Athens, Manchester, and London I have not found everybody inebriated with either alcohol or drugs as you have suggested.

    Anyway, to get things back on track: I hope that Peter Tatchell has now seen that he can’t use all of us as his foot-soldiers to go screaming against a meeting of Muslims if at the same time he tell us that we must let Christians vent bile in the marketplace.

  164. Lisa

    “The fact that you have criticised everybody who has gone on gay pride marches all over the globe and successfully pushed back the barriers to the furtherance of gay and lesbian pride, so totally proves that you are either a homophobe yourself or at least a misanthrope.”

    Again Lisa, you paint yourself to be petty-minded and ultra-fragile by labelling constructive gay people as homophobes. Do you understand the word homophobe? I mean, actually understand it? It is an irrational fear of homosexuals. Yeah, did you know this? It is very stupid of you to label people who are clearly not homophobic as being so as. It belittles the term and denudes it of its true meaning. It is undermining its impact and comparing us to anti-gay religious types is just alienating those of us who want a better image for our community. And who said Wayne (or I) had criticised EVERYBODY who went to Pride? Oh, wait, you did, because it was another of those huge assumptions you make in order to try and convince yourself that your arguments hold any weight.

    “And by the way, at all the gatherings, carnivals, festivals, and parties I have attended after gay pride marches from Sydney, to Amsterdam, to Athens, Manchester, and London I have not found everybody inebriated with either alcohol or drugs as you have suggested.”

    Then you haven’t been to a gay pride event. Or you were too drunk/drugged to notice. Even the most supportive, open-minded and PC straight friends of mine frequently ask me why gay people feel the need to behave in such a debauched way. Out of genuine interest, because they just don’t understand why gay people insist on parading their sexual fetishes and practices for all to see. I’ve been asked if it’s part of our culture, a manifestation of our sexual insecurities and countless other questions. Simply because they have never seen another social group behave that way that, quite frankly, hasn’t been jailed! I have only ever seen police guarding toilets at gay pride events, to stop people having sex in toilets. Does that not tell you something about the behaviour that goes on?

    So, now do you think it is furthering our advances in the credibility stakes, when this is what our most empathetic supporters think? Those events make us look shallow, vacuous, superficial and sex-obsessed. Or do you think those are dignified attributes?

    When I was a teenager, I naively went to Pride events thinking that I would meet kindred spirits and find some way to fit into gay society. That there would be others there like me who weren’t really into the scene, but knew the importance of democratic participation as a means to further our rights. What I discovered was that the type of people who seemed to frequent these things were on a par with the sleaziest people I had ever encountered. Most were there for the wrong reasons. My straight male and female friends have never at any stage behaved so disgustingly. But I felt as if I had as little in common with the marchers as they did. It took a while to click, but I realised it was because I just had principles that were universal to the dignified human being. I had self-respect. I didn’t feel so insecure that I had to get my pecs out for slathering onlookers to feel validated or attractive. Sadly, that is essential what Pride is. It should be renamed ‘Insecurity Fest’.

    Lisa, you go to all the ones you want. But you tell me in 20 years time that you think it was sending out the right message to our enemies and I’ll pay for the rest of your sex change!

  165. Lisa

    “Anyway, to get things back on track: I hope that Peter Tatchell has now seen that he can’t use all of us as his foot-soldiers to go screaming against a meeting of Muslims if at the same time he tell us that we must let Christians vent bile in the marketplace.”

    Erm, I’m not sure if you realise the contradiction you have just made there on free speech. From your scrawlings, you have implied that it should be ok for us to go and shout at religious folk, but not for religious folk to shout back at us. Now, can you tell me where the equality of freedom of speech is in that sentence? No, wait, that’s exactly what you meant isn’t it? That YOU should be allowed to bellow at whomever you choose, but no one can criticise YOU because you are….special? Different? Superior? Stupid is probably the answer I am really looking for.

    To clear up Lisa, you obviously don’t understand what EQUALITY is. It means having the SAME RIGHTS. That must apply to freedom of speech, like all things. It is saddening that I have to keep repeating this to you over and over again. Freedom of speech means that we cannot always hear what we want, but it means we have the right for others to suffer the same. It doesn’t mean giving carte-blanche to inciting hatred, violence or harrassment.

    Grade awarded: F

  166. Mmmmmmmmm, as others have suggested to you already in this long thread, you’re suffering from some degree of delusion. (Only a qualified professional who sees you face to face over a number of sessions will be able to ascertain how much.)

    It appears that you fell in with some bad sorts once upon a time and now, retired from city-life, you actually believe you can tar all gay and lesbian people according to your own personal involvements as a youngster.

    Well, you can’t. So sit behind your monitor in your garden suburb or wherever it is you are and keep spewing deluded nonsense, or go see a local mental healthcare worker. No need for any shame. As many human beings suffer from mental illnesses of varying degrees, as suffer from physical illnesses.

  167. Lisa

    Erm, I’m all of 29 – hardly old and retired. Secondly, if you actually believed mental illnesses weren’t something to be ashamed of, presumably you wouldn’t be mocking them. But then I expect nothing less – someone who uses the cheap barbs you seem to enjoy obviously has a very bitchy streak. The best debators in the world can do so without having to resort to obscenities and personal insults. Watch this space, you might learn something.

    As most people actually agree with me on this thread, I doubt it’s me who is having delusions. I just see free speech for how it should be – free. For everyone. The same rules, the same freedom. You know, free. Still not getting it?

    If you are defending the debauchery of gay pride events, then I can only assume you are someone who partakes in it. If anyone is getting us tarred with negative brushes, then it’s you.

    Thanks for your (unhelpful) input.

  168. mmmmmm and William’s comments on free speech are spot on. And , once again, well done to Peter Tatchell for this excellent article. Some people want to live in their little protective bubble. Some real self-pitying nonsense on here.

    (However mmmmm, you shouldn’t rush to conclusions about pride marchers and events. I dislike them because they are commercialised, with awful boyband ‘acts’, and side-line community initiatives and charities. in large crowds, you will always get some crackpots, or crackheads. Pride Amsterdam which lasts 5 days, is much better, much more inclusive, incidentally, and very focused on politics.)

  169. AdrianT

    I haven’t rushed to any conclusions thank you very much. I have been to them in several countries (including Amsterdam, I was living there) and it was the same sleaze. Not the odd crackpot, but a big chunk of the crowds. It happened every time – they weren’t just exceptions, it’s just what happens at pride. Especially as they were mainly on the floats – presumably that is the bit of pride that organisers DO have control over. Estonia was the only place that was half decent, but that’s only because they had to tone it down to stave off the mass of Russian protestors who were being held back by the police. Once Tallin becomes more liberalised, we’ll see the same there.

    The real shame is that these gyrating, S&M bunnies that apparently represent us are so numerous that they distract people from the stalls, where the real benefits of pride actually are. Gun, aim, fire, hole in foot.

  170. Well, that’s a massively different Amsterdam Pride than the one I know – sorry you didn’t get to see anything like its full scope. I couldn’t disagree with you more about the crowds, at e.g the boatparade, which are mainly straight. Still, so long as others are able to enjoy their pleasures which don’t cause harm to others, fine by me.

  171. We’ll just have to disagree on that one, there’s little point in comparing our personal experiences on it. Not forgetting that we may have different standards of what we perceive as public decency. Given the religious infiltration of the B&B story, there are bigger fish to fry at this moment in time.

  172. To make it clear, mainstream Islam does not preach random violence against homosexual people, nor hate of any other human being, but does regard the homosexual act itself as being against God’s natural laws, and therefore against the interests of human beings and human society. Islam is a merciful, and extremely tolerant religion, but Muslims believe (like believing Jews and Christians and many others) that the homosexual tendency is not a good, normal or natural feeling, and needs treatment as a psychological, and emotional illness, or a biological abnormality, as it would be seen amongst animals, for the true long term happiness of all affected. The consequence, in this world, of not finding solutions to cure homosexuality in this way, is the spread of confusion about sexuality, and the break down of the normal family structure, as well as in the normal upbringing of children, e.g. to have normal relationships. This would lead to other psychological and emotional problems, contributing to a breakdown in society, and possible rises in crime, all of which will cause far greater misery and suffering in the long term. Of course Muslims also strongly believe that consequences for the soul after death are a reality, which can be far worse, and therefore believe in guiding and helping people to avoid all of this.

    Only in an Islamic state, where people are fully educated about their human nature, feelings, and other Islamic knowledge, including the Islamic laws, as well as where people would have ample opportunity and help to have successful heterosexual marriages, as well as affectionate platonic friendships, would homosexual acts be prosecutable at all, and only a minority of cases would they be punishable, as the act itself has to have at least 4 witnesses, as evidence!! It is only the public shameless act and promotion of homosexuality that is seen as dangerous enough to prosecute, with severe physical punishment as a last resort, particularly in cases where there is no repentance. This is needed as an effective deterrent, and a clear message that homosexuality needs to be challenged, not accepted as normal, and not allowed full freedom to spread.

    The word Islam itself means the ‘way of peace’, and it is only ignorant people, or even ignorant governments who do not put Islam into practise correctly, who may commit injustices, or go to extremes. The solution is more and better education from mainstream, highly knowledgeable scholars of Islam, not less!!

  173. Jock S. Trap 20 Jan 2011, 11:49am

    @ mmmmmmmm

    If you feel so under represented at Pride Marches what exactly has stopped you getting groups together to give yourself the respresentation you seek?

  174. Jock S. Trap 20 Jan 2011, 11:52am

    Oh look “Ummnoor” has copies and pasted the same comment here too.

    How very dull!

  175. Umnoor

    Under our democracy (you know, the thing Islam doesn’t have), you have freedom of speech (again, something Islam doesn’t have). It is therefore your right to hold and express an opinion. However, unfortunately for you, your views and those of mainstream Islam are based on a fictitious book, mysticism, supposition, speculation and absolutely no impirical evidence whatsoever. They are, legally and scientifically, invalid. That is why our laws do not take into account such a view. It is like claiming dandelions are a cure for cancer because it said so in the books by the Brothers Grimm. Plain absurd.

    Our laws have evolved through improved understanding of human feelings, behaviour, impirical evidence as to the effects on society of homosexual practices (none), testimonies from actual, real, living homosexuals and straight people who are able to understand the value of science and proof. As none of these Islamic ‘beliefs’ can be proven and Islamic law does not override British state law, your views on homosexuality remain just that. Views.

    If you don’t like it that you cannot convert us all to Islam and convert homosexuals into straight people, there are plenty of Islamic states you can move to where you are free to live in a world where everyone is as misguided on human matters as you. Of course, I wouldn’t be joining you as there is no democracy and the opinions I am expressing right now would see me end up in prison (except in Turkey, where I would probably just get beaten up instead).

  176. Jock

    I can represent myself thank you. Like I do on here.

    Mwah!

  177. This is utter nonsense because if it isn’t then those prosecuted (rightly so) for denying the Haulocaust were prosecuted in the wrong. Freedom of speech is all very well in theory but like all theories, in practice, is found wanting as in this case. Freedom of speech should not be cause for alarm and death to any human being no matter how odious you perceive them to be, so think on for a while Peter.

  178. Umnoor… woman raped by her cousin buried up to her breasts and then stoned to death…..Two human beings in a loving gay relationship in the privacy of their own bedrooms….which do you think offends your pixie in the sky more??

  179. to all the religious fantasists out there….. Homosexuality has existed since animals evolved from the slime of the oceans a couple of billion years ago. Religious mythology has been around for around 8 thousand years, and the Abrahamic religions for about 4 thousand years and is already in decline and seen for what it is. Which do you think will outlive the other………

  180. Billy Briggs 2 Jun 2012, 7:18pm

    is peter’s arse as wide as a jam jar or does his grimace come naturally?

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