Peter Tatchell is an Australian born, British human rights campaigner and a veteran of LGBT social activism.
A member of the Gay Liberation Front, Tatchell marched in the UK’s first-ever Gay Pride, which had only 700 people.
His first-ever undertaking in activism occurred in his home town of Melbourne, Australia back in 1967 when he was just 15. At that time in the state of Victoria, there was still capital punishment and when a man was hanged for a crime for which there was reasonable doubt pertaining to his guilt, Tatchell recalled this event awakening his “lifelong scepticism of authority.”
Tatchell is by no means afraid to be controversial. In 1994, he called out 10 Anglican bishops and urged them to “Tell The Truth” about their sexuality; accusing them of homophobia and hypocrisy. The same year he was arrested for saying the Islamist extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir championed Nazi-like views about women, LGBT folk and Jewish people.
Four years later he bombarded the Easter Sermon of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, in protest at his opposition to gay equality.
Tatchell has also famously attempted to perform a citizen’s arrest on Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, not once, but twice.
First in London back in 1999, he ambushed the president’s motorcade attempting the arrest on charges of torture. Then, a repeat attempt in Brussels in 2001 resulted in him being knocked unconscious by Mugabe’s bodyguards.
In 2018, he staged a one-man protest in Russia (official government approval is needed for protests of two or more people) against the government’s treatment of LGBT+ people. Tatchell was arrested by Russian police while holding a poster which read: “Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people.”
Since the late 1970s onwards, he has proposed a single, comprehensive Equal Rights Act to piece together the uneven patchwork of equality legislation, to ensure equal treatment and non-discrimination for everyone. This proposal was eventually secured with the passage of the Equality Act 2010.
In 2011 he founded The Peter Tatchell Foundation for the promotion and protection of human rights.Tags: LGBTQ+