A conversation with Peter Tatchell
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Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights, democracy, LGBT freedom and global justice since 1967.
He was a member of the queer human rights group OutRage!, and is a member of the Green Party. Through the Peter Tatchell Foundation, he campaigns for human rights in Britain and internationally.
His ground-breaking book, AIDS: A guide to survival, published in 1986, was the world’s first self-help guide for people with HIV. It confounded the then consensus that AIDS equals death. In early 1987, Tatchell launched the world’s first organisation dedicated to defending the human rights of people with HIV, the UK AIDS Vigil Organisation, drafting the world’s first human rights charter for HIV-positive people.
In 1994, Peter authored Safer Sexy, the world’s first comprehensive guide to gay sex safely. This book included explicit images of safe gay sex, which drove a coach and horses through Britain’s strict sexual censorship laws – paving the way for a wider liberalisation of sexual imagery law and enforcement.
In 1999, in central London, he and three OutRage! colleagues ambushed the motorcade of the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, and made a citizen’s arrest of the President on charges of torture and other human rights abuses. When he summonsed the police, they were arrested, while Mugabe was given a police escort to go Christmas shopping at Harrods. All charges against Peter and his colleagues were later dropped.
In early March 2003, Tatchell forced Prime Minister Tony Blair’s motorcade to halt in Piccadilly, in a protest against the impending war in Iraq. He ran out into the road and held up a placard opposing invasion and urging instead international aid to the Iraqi people to help them topple Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Blair’s car screeched to a standstill just six inches from Tatchell’s legs.
He is currently a collumist for the Guardian and the host of Talking with Tatchell.
He is the author of over 3,000 published articles and six books, including The Battle for Bermondsey (Heretic Books), Democratic Defence – A Non-Nuclear Alternative (Heretic Books/GMP) and We Don’t Want To March Straight – Masculinity, Queers & The Military (Cassell).