Outcast to icon: Peter Tatchell’s 50 years of LGBT+ activism

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05/20/2021

Driven by passion and motivated by justice, veteran activist Peter Tatchell says LGBT+ equality remains elusive despite his 50-year campaign for gay rights in Britain and beyond. In a Netflix documentary that premiered on Thursday, the maverick campaigner said fairness for LGBT+ people from Iran to Zimbabwe was a distant dream and the West had to change, too. “The battle for queer freedom will never end until every LGBT+ person on this planet has respect, dignity and human rights,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Tatchell said the fight for rights had stalled in Britain, where the government this month announced a consultation before moving to outlaw practices that aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. “(Britain) is blocking a ban on LGBT+ conversion therapy … and still detains and deports LGBT+ asylum seekers,” he said. The film is awash with celebrity stardust – it was produced by singer Elton John and his husband David Furnish, with “Lord of the Rings” star Ian McKellen as lead interviewer. “Hating Peter Tatchell” takes its title from the vilification Tatchell said he faced fighting for LGBT+ rights. The 69-year-old estimates he has taken part in more than 3,000 protests, resulting in 100 arrests, 300 violent assaults, 50 attacks on his flat and half a dozen plots to kill him. “And thousands of death threats,” he said in a phone interview.

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