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Letter demands anti-gay state ultimatum before Olympics

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  1. Agree with the argument from PT.

    However, think this is opportunistic and can find no evidence to support his claims that he has been crying out for this for 4 years.

    The timing of these demands is such that the IOC can not respond in time for London 2012 and thus this is token opportunism by PT intending to castigate sport.

    PT is fully capable of creating large scale media attention if he wants to. He has shown himself to be totally media aware. That no significant comment about the Olympics and disqualifications of nations was made until recently undermines PT’s campaign currently.

    1. He made comments about the Queen being anti-gay only days prior to the Jubilee celebrations so you are right about him and his opportunism!

  2. Oooo – did I see a bandwagon passing?

    1. What do you do for gay rights Michael?

  3. I admire a great deal of what PT has done (in the past and currently) but he is not infallible and is sometimes wrong (even on issues about LGBT rights!).

    Tatchell completely ignored what LGBT groups on the ground in Nigeria were saying to him and to Outrage.

    He effectively made their lives more dangerous by refusing to see that things needed to be tackled a different way. His way is not always the best or the right way.

    I admire a lot of the stuff he’s done (like Mugabe, Russia etc) but don’t always agree with him (he was in favour of Radio 1 banning ‘Fairytale of New York’ – which seems at odds to his desire to amend the public order act to decriminalise offensive language or behaviour!).

    He the attitude that anyone who doesn’t agree with his way of doing things is definitely wrong. I knew a few people who kind of idolised him at uni. They tended to be of the opinion that direct action was the only valid means of getting a point across, and that’s the impression I get of PT too

    1. Tamsila Tauqir confirms that she did receive a legal threat from Peter Tatchell that if the authors of Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror’ republished it elsewhere, he would sue for libel. It appears PT was using libel laws to prevent legitimate criticism of him. The danger of course is the retraction and apology means that this very useful article, which Peter Tatchell describes as “highly libellous and defamatory” will not be read, and its significant political content will be dismissed. Surely it would have been far better for Peter Tatchell to write a reasoned response to the political criticisms. I thought PT valued freedom of speech.

      Peter Tatchell’s supporters often frame any attempts to discuss the limitations of Peter’s politics as “smearing”.

      So we have a political problem of threats of legal action or other pressure being made against serious academics and human rights campaigners when they write substantive critiques of PT and his

      1. Why should he be smeared with untruthes? If they were continuing to publish unfounded homophobic lies about me I’d sue them too.

      2. I don’t know why this comment is being thumbed down. Perhaps it’s a bit off-topic, but Tatchell did actually do this.

        And it’s all the more astonishing from somebody talks so much about free speech. If he really felt smeared, what was insufficient about an apology and retraction? Too afraid people might read the contents of that book or that it cut too close to the truth?

        Further to that, why does Tatchell (a frequent invoker of “free speech”) censor a small academic paper few people will read whose authors couldn’t defend themselves against Britain’s pernicious libel laws when the gutter press on the other hand were known for attacking and lying about Tatchell every day at one point.

        I totally agree homophobia should be rooted out of sport, but I’m frankly baffled by Tatchell’s reasoning on banning homophobic states from entering their athletes. If every country that mistreated people was banned from the Olympics, then hardly anybody would be able to take part.

    2. politics. Then when they or their publishers issue retractions, perhaps to avoid risky litigation, the wording of which may have been agreed with or even drafted by Peter Tatchell or his lawyers, then Peter issues a press release effectively rubbishing the entire substantive critique of him as being malicious and full of personal attacks and falsehoods.

      This avoids any need for him to engage with the serious political criticisms that are being made.

      This is an inappropriate attempt to close down legitimate academic and political debate.

      So, PT is not the be all and end all in political campaigning for equality – but he has done a great deal of good.

      So, I approach any engagement with PT from the perspective of questioning the presumptions he makes, checking the facts and questioning why now? why this way?

      I agree the IOC need to act. I think PT’s approach is opportunistic at the detriment to individual athletes performing in the London Games (some of them LGBT and other

    3. oppressed minorities.

      I find his claims he has been pursuing this case for years disingenuous and difficult to confirm from media searches, searches of his websites etc.

      If PT wanted to create a storm about this 4 years ago and give LOCOG or the IOC a chance to change things before the London Games – he is capable of creating a media storm in very many ways. He chose not to.

      The timing now, damages the reputation of the Games and those athletes campaigning and his tactics undermine the actual aims (which are credible) which he states he has.

  4. Lynda Yilmaz 18 Jul 2012, 2:47pm

    I think it would have been a nice ‘token’ – a timely discussion about this. A token on the basis that as we’ve all said before it can’t work, but that’s not to say someone shouldn’t say it. However, (and I’m not saying I’ve got an answer to this) loosely using the word ‘discrimination’ is unhelpful. The Saudi Team are not bringing any women along – well does it get any more discriminatory than that? But no one (to my knowledge) has made a big fuss about that! This is where it all gets confusing heh? As someone said before, where do you end? At what point would virtually half the competing countries be illegible for the games?

  5. Suddenly Last Bummer 18 Jul 2012, 2:57pm

    So Peter didn’t get complimentary tickets to the men’s volleyball then? Never mind, it will probably be rained off anyway.

    1. Stupid thing to say

  6. Continued support and admiration for Mr Tatchell – but when work place anti gays barely tolerate us how are these Olympic chiefs going to instigate a ban on global homophobes?

  7. Peter, the Olympic chiefs won’t listen to you. I think it’s more effective to organise protests and ask gay athletes to protest during the games. That’s the only feasible way of achieving anything with the event.

    1. He’s got people talking though. Better than just letting it pass with no coment.

      1. Well, he can talk, no problems, but I think it’s a waste… During the racial problems in the US and South Africa and elsewhere, for example, they never got involved …

  8. Peter Tatchell 19 Jul 2012, 12:44am

    I have been lobbying behind the scenes on equality and diversity at the Olympics since London won the bid in 2005. I decided to make these points now because this quiet lobbying failed.

    The issue is, in any case, not the timing, but whether the toleration of discrimination in sport is acceptable.

    Read my full letter here:

    You will see that I am not seeking to ban homophobic countries in general but countries that violate the Olympic Charter bydiscriminati against athletes on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or gender identity.

    As for the off-topic points: I defend the right of people to criticise me. But the authors made up lies – total fabrications. Free speech does not include the right to publish untruths about other people. When the publishers asked the authors to substantiate their allegations, they couldn’t. No reputable publisher is willing to print false allegations.

    1. Well said Peter. However, I am sickened by the way the Olympics have become a gravy train for global brands, promoting the unhealthiest foods imaginable (MacDonalds, Coke and Cadbury’s – what a farce!). I am disgusted by the draconian attacks on freedom of expression, enacted to protect the sponsors. The Olympics will do nothing to encourage British people to take up sport, unless you love rowing and show-jumping of course. We would have been much better off investing in community facilities across the nation. Give school kids more options to find the sport they enjoy, rather than just football, rugby and hockey for instance.

      Having said that, the government is just using the games as a means of getting business deals from other governments.

    2. Thank you Peter for continuing to champion equal rights.
      And, thank you for continuing to put up with such ignorant and misinformed criticism within our own community. These people are embarrassing us and themselves.
      Thanks again.

      1. Spanner1960 19 Jul 2012, 12:17pm

        You demonstrate your own ignorance immediately by describing a collection of totally disparate people with the same sexuality as a “community”.

    3. I support many of your campaigns, Peter

      Sometimes (like everyone) you get it wrong or others will perceive your methods or focus to be “out of kilter” with their view of how some issues could or should be handled.

      Two areas where I do think you have got it wrong are the timing of this public campaigning on the Olympics and on the Royal Jubilee. Of course, the issues of homophobia (and other unjust discrimination) in sport and the Olympics is important. Of course, where the Monarchy behave either overtly or coincidentally in a homophobic manner this needs to be challenged and addressed. By and large, I consider myself republican by instinct – so I support some of your approaches regarding the Monarchy. However, both of these campaigns appeared to be focused on damaging the reputation on events that the vast majority of the nation (whether gay or straight, white or black, young or old, able bodied or not etc) were connecting with and celebrating. Both of these events were

      1. 2
        targetted at a very late stage in a public campaign – giving cause to many to reasonably surmise and perceive that your campaigns were purely opportunistic. If “quiet lobbying” has occurred and failed, then why was the need felt to besmurch the events that so many (across all spectrums of British people (and others well beyond Britain)) look forward to with relish? Why could a public campaign not have waited until after the events if the quiet lobbying had failed, or even better, why was there no evaluation much, much earlier and a more public campaign established that could have united people behind you and given LOCOG and others an opportunity to meet the demand you set – by giving them a reasonable time? Failing to act earlier with a much more public campaign or waiting until after the event – makes it seem a pure stunt which is not particularly concerned by an outcome for the Olympics/Jubilee and more concerned by making noise.

  9. Spanner1960 19 Jul 2012, 2:01am

    Ultimatum? Or do what?
    Shut up Peter, you are an embarrassment.

    If you had wanted this argument you should have piped up when London was awarded the Olympics, not a week before it kicks off.

  10. As much I as support the fight for equality and zero discrimination, this call for justice is a little too late. Olympics is gonna happen soon and only now this issue is raised, I doubt it will make an impact on society.

  11. Peter Tatchell 19 Jul 2012, 11:30am

    This new campaign and publicity has already succeeded in raising awareness about discrimination in sport and forcing the IOC to discuss it; though we’ll have to wait to see what if any changes they make.

    You may not care, but women’s groups in the Middle east have contacted me to express appreciation that the issue of gender discrimination in sport has been highlighted by my campaign.

    1. I hope the IOC do make changes, Peter

      I think it is marvellous that womens groups in the Middle East feel supported in their sport – and if your actions are the catalyst to that, this is good.

      I do care about others.

      However, your comments that some may not care do seem to be truculent lashing out at others who question whether your timing is appropriate or whether your approach could be better. If someone disagrees with you about approach, this does not then automatically correlate to them not caring about the issues.

      1. Thanks again Peter ! If you are ever sucessful you will have struck a blow at the ideological heart of many hetrosexualist and descriminating governments . Its also nice to hear that your campaign is attracting comments from “the near East”. However I am genuinely a little confused ! Perhaps you could ask your near Eastern correspondents about the following ! The olympics as the the name implies and the history of its 19th. century revival confirms are fundementally a restoration and sucessor of those ancient Olympic games held near delphi as a celebration of the ancients’ “deities” and their blood drinking cults . The atheticism of ancient greece was an important part of their religon ; the sweat of the atheletes was their offering to the “gods” and was so important that they even stoping fighting one another so that this “pacific” sacrifice could take place ! How then can any self respecting Muslim take part in these “games” which are fundementally western and neo pagan !

  12. I’m sorry I can’t agree with Tachell on this. We’re 9 days before the Games, the competitors are arriving so he is just a bit late in this. He is using the Games to make a political point and that is not what the Olympics and Paralympics is about.

    I admire Peter Tatchell, but this letter seems to be little more opportunistic publicity. Why did Tatchell not launch his campaign in 2005, when London won the bid? If he did seek action then, why was it not done more publically and try to gain resonance and support to motivate the IOC to take action?

    These issues should have been raised years ago, when the London Olympics were still in the planning stages. He has a snowflake’s chance in hell of achieving anything this close to the start of the games.

    1. One third of all athletes are from Muslim nations which among others don’t accept homosexuality as a normal sexual orientaion. What are you going to do with them?

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