Wow, I didn’t know anything about this. reading about it I’m quite shocked.
I knew only a little of this (I didn’t live in the UK at the time) and had not appreciated just how awful it was. Luckily things have moved on and it is thanks to people like Peter Tatchell that we are where we are today – thanks.
A lot of those within the UK (like myself, being only 3 years old at the time) didn’t know either. Unlike racial prejudice, historical stories like this rarely surface in mainstream culture, breading a climate of despondency towards gay rights and perpetuating a belief that those who strive for it are some kind of ‘gay elite’.
Absolutely appalling to think that happened. Peter Tatchell will always be a hero of mine, not many would have had the courage and continue to have the courage to do what he does advocating against injustice everywhere and for everyone. The man deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Before anyone criticises him, they should take a few steps back and really examine their consciences and ask themselves just how much they have done to improve the lives of LGBT people in the UK and how many would be prepared to go out on a limb to do it in the face of adversity? We owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Some of you may be unaware that it was Peter who first advocated for equal marriage many years ago in the 90s, long before it was a gay rights issue and before any country had introduced it.
Thank you, Peter, bless you.
What a pity Simon Hughes is still around in our political system opposing equality for gay people. I guess some things never change.
Opposing equality? Where is he opposing equality now?
“It was an atmosphere of unbridled homophobia in an era when my support of LGBT rights was mostly deemed extremist, shocking and downright wrong”. Due to the efforts of Peter and other campaigners it is now the homophobes who are deemed by the majority to be extremist, shocking and downright wrong.
There is one issue that concerns me about Peter. In 1997 he wrote:
“The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy. While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.”
I realise that he has since stated that he does not condone adults having sex with children, but I wish he would apologise and confirm that he was wrong to say it because it truly was a disgraceful thing to say. There are gay men who were abused as children, who would like to have confidence in him but he needs to say that he was completely wrong in what he said.
Peter Tatchell will still walk arm-in-arm with the jihadi-loving Livingstone, and with the traitorous slimeball Simon Hughes.
Tatchell’s “human rights” foundation solicits money by talking about countries were gay people are executed (all under sharia law), yet he supports islam throughout Britain! When you look at what his “charity” does, it is more concerned with Balochistan than Londonistan. You will search high and low to find him opposing islamic homophobia in Britain.
Tatchell is all about Tatchell. He wants to go down in history as a cross between Gandhi and Mother Teresa. His “human rights” foundation is totally silent about the ethnic cleansing of east London. http://4freedoms.ning.com/group/gays/forum/topics/gay-free-zone-tower-hamlets
What a stupid map. While Mayor Lutfurs regime is deplorable most of those gay venues disappeared because of the rise of gaydar and GRindr. Open your eyes for heaven sake, gay venues are vanishing over the whole country and it has nothing whatsoever to do with homophobia.
And frankly it is preposterous, as Peter has shown below, to accuse him of failing to speak out about Islamic homophobia in the UK. He has actually been wholly consistent of this matter in a way that many other political gay activists have not been.
He also speaks out rightly about islamophobia and is entirely consistent in his approach there. I would say he gets the balance absolutely correct.
Joe, I refuse to demonise or generalise about Muslim people. But I have and do take on the fundamentalists of all faiths. Here are just a few of the more than 20 protests by me against extreme Islamists:
In 1994, I and my LGBT OutRage! colleagues took on Hizb ut-Tahrir over their sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism. We were threatened with death by the Islamists.
In 2004, we took on the Islamist cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi:
In 2007, we protested against the Al Quds march in London and against its pro-Iranian politics:
In 2011, we challenged Islamists in east London and narrowly escaped being beaten up.
So grateful for what you did to help push things forward. The UK is not perfect but it is a much better place for LGBT people than most countries in the world – and it is because of people like Peter Tatchell. Thank you, I hope to do my part too.
Strange really to see that some of the disgraceful comments and lies (ala ‘The Sun’ etc) Still stick…. Really thought we were better-read and better informed than the (one) comment above?
Peter IS a modern-day saint and (obviously) been so busy living off the huge income generated by this Foundation that he STILL lives in the same council flat! Please, please, please…. Will Peter’s ‘detractors’ please start their comments against Peter by first clearly stating what THEY have done for LGBT/Human rights???
Good on you Peter… You’re a real diamond.
I don’t know what Joe’s motivations were in posting his comments, but my comments were posted without any malice. It was not disgraceful of me to bring to attention what he wrote (quoted in my above post) in a letter to the Guardian on June 26th 1997. It was disgraceful of him to say that “it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful”. Of course it is unwanted, abusive and harmful. It would be good of him to address the issue and clarify his views.
“Of course it is unwanted, abusive and harmful.” No it isn’t! Sex between (otherwise) consenting teens and criminalizing them for it is abusive and harmful. I believe that Peter has already made his position more than clear on this issue…. (But perhaps that doesn’t grab the headlines as quickly?)
This is what he wrote:
He is not talking about sex between consenting teens, he is talking about “child-adult sexual relationships” and “sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13″.
And he’s talking about the perspective from the childs point of view… “Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy. ” He goes on to say “While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia,”…… Pretty clear to me… As I said, Peter has clarified his stance on this issue in MANY articles since….. Pity they too were not given the same prominence. …. and hardly reason to decry the man’s ENTIRE record on human rights/LGBT advances made?
I have NOT decried Peter’s record on human rights/LGBT advance made at all, never mind “entirely”! His record on human rights/advancement of LGBT rights has been amazing. As a person who has felt concerned by his views in the Guardian letter I merely wished to convey that despite his tireless LGBT rights campaigns there’s one thing he previously said for which he should retract. By doing so it would help LGBT people who were abused as children to have confidence in him.
I realise that he has since advocated lowering the age of consent to “reduce the criminalisation of under-16s who have consenting relationships with other young people of similar ages”. Describing his wish to decriminalise sex between consenting teens does NOT address what he described as the “positive nature” of “child-adult sexual relationships”. If he has since addressed that comment then I am not aware that he has done so but I shouldn’t be disrespected for being unaware and raising the issue.
Angkor, you state that Peter has clarified his stance on this issue many times since. If you or Peter (I see that he responded above to Joe) can point me to where it shows that he has clarified his stance on the issue of “child-adult sexual relationships” (rather than his view of sexual relationships between consenting teenagers; also, a clarification that retracts his statement that there is a “positive nature” to “child-adult sexual relationships”), then I’d be grateful. As it is, I am not aware of his current stance or any such retraction and until I see that I, along with many others, will not be able to share the unquestioned admiration that you have for him and will have to assume that child abuse is something which he believes has a “positive nature”.
And what happened? Simon Hughes was elected who many years later admitted to being bisexual!
You got to admire Peter Tatchell’s tenacity when it came to campaigning for LGBT rights. Who else would want to be beaten up numerous times for something that he believes in. Unlike many other oppressed people he never used violence in his campaigns even if he was on the receiving end of it all the time. We have come a long way in 30 years and it is thanks to Peter Tatchell that gay MP’s can now be seen representing all the main parties.
Yeah very nice, very smug, but you left out one key thing – your refusal to come out publicly at the time. From closet to zealot – a stereotypical journey!
Great to find this article and excellent reminder of a particularly horrible period in LGBT history.
These were my formative years and the atmosphere of repression throughout the 80s had a major affect on my generation. I’ve met Peter Tatchell briefly (at a Pride event in the early 90s) and I’ve always admired him, even when I disagree with him. His dignity in the face of a lifetime of unbridalled hate crimes is an example to everyone. He could easily say a lot more about the role of Simon Hughes and many others during the Bermondsey election. The full story of this nasty by-election should be taught in schools as an example of real-politik.
Even today when he should be recognised for his work and dedication, he still faces an endless stream of abuse. I for one admire his resilience and dedication and whether they know it or not, my whole generation owes the likes of Peter Tatchell a massive debt of gratitude.
Thank you Peter.