Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Tuesday, December 1, 1998 Published at 15:41 GMT


Tatchell: Veteran protester

Protesting at the enthronement of the Bishop of Durham

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell is no stranger to brushes with the law.

Fined £18.60 for interrupting the Archbishop of Canterbury's Easter Sunday sermon, the veteran protester has been involved in more than 1,000 demonstrations.

His direct action protests have spanned the past 30 years.

[ image: A life of protest]
A life of protest
He went to school in Melbourne, Australia, left aged 16 and came to England three years later.

He had "come out" two years earlier and within five days of arriving in Britain on 27 August 1971, signed up with the Gay Liberation Front.

It was, he once wrote, "the most exciting period of my life ... It was politics with fun and it helped banish our internalised shame and repair much of the damage homophobia had done to us."

Radical youth

After A-levels at night school he studied sociology at the Polytechnic of North London where he took part in student protests.

In the late 1970s, attracted by a growing wave of radicalism, he joined the Labour Party.

He stood for parliament in a 1983 by-election in the working class area of Bermondsey, south east London.

"Red Pete" was attacked almost as viciously by political allies as by his enemies.

The press tore him apart for his far-left views and he lost the previously safe seat by 10,000 votes.

Overall he has paid a high price for his activism, receiving death threats and being attacked in the street a reported 300-plus times.

[ image: Fined £18.60]
Fined £18.60
After the election defeat Tatchell devoted his energies to homosexual campaigns and founded a string of organisations and coalitions.

He is a prolific author and writers of letters to the press.

He and friends formed OutRage! in May 1990 in reaction to the "queer-bashing murder" of Michael Boothe.

The gay actor was ambushed at a public lavatory in west London by a gang of thugs who kicked him to death.

Actions by the group have included "outing" allegedly homosexual bishops, gay weddings and crucifixions and the exorcism of the "demon" of homophobia outside Lambeth Palace.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

01 Dec 98†|†UK
Tatchell fined £18.60 for pulpit protest

Internet Links


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online