Peter Tatchell turns 60 years old today. The campaigner has worked tirelessly for gay rights and equality since the early 1970s. He has been loud, proud and often controversial.
He became a leading member of the London Gay Liberation Front in the early 1970s. He organised protests and helped set up the first Gay Pride march in Britain, in London in 1972. He is also one of the founding members of the gay rights group Outrage!
His work for LGBT equality has been outstanding. He played an important role in the campaign against section 28 in the 1990s. He has, despite threats of violence and arrest, campaigned and protested against homophobia around the globe from Zimbabwe to Moscow. In 2001 Peter Tatchell was knocked unconscious by Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe’s bodyguards. In 2007 Tatchell went to Moscow to voice his opposition to the ban of the gay pride march. He, along with fellow activists were attacked yet he remained resilient stating “I’m not deterred one iota from coming back to protest in Moscow”.
It is not just LGBT issues that Peter has campaigned for. He was against the Iraq war and even ambushed Tony Blair’s car during an anti-war protest. He has opposed Israel’s presence in Gaza and is outspoken on his views on environmental issues.
Whilst I don’t share all of his views (his criticism of the royal family for example) or agree with some of his tactics, we do have a lot to thank Peter Tatchell for. There is no other who has campaigned and protested as much for equality. He has been beaten, arrested and yet remained defiant against homophobia.
Happy 60th Peter!