Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Peter Tatchell is 60 today (25th January 2012)

His methods may sometimes be controverisal. but it's hard to deny that Peter Tatchell has had a profound effect on LGBT and human rights for decades.

Who else would think of trying to arrest one of the world's foremost dictators and bigots? (Robert Mugabe, in case you were wondering.) In fact, he made two attempts - the first was on 30 October 1999. when with three other OutRage! activists, Peter approached Mugabe's car in a London street and attempted to perform a citizen's arrest. He opened the car door and seized Mugabe, then called the police. However, all four OutRage! activists were arrested and charged with criminal damage, assault and breach of the peace; charges that were dropped on the opening day of their trial. Mugabe described them as "gay gangsters", a slogan frequently repeated by his supporters, and claimed they had been sent by the United Kingdom government. On 5 March 2001 Tatchell attempted a second citizen's arrest in the lobby of the Brussels Hilton. This time, Mugabe's large corps of bodyguards pushed him away and were seen punching him to the floor. Later on that day, Tatchell was briefly knocked unconscious by Mugabe's bodyguards and left with permanent damage to his right eye. The protest attracted world-wide headlines, as Mugabe was, by now, unpopular in the West for his land redistribution policy. Tatchell was praised by the very newspapers that had previously denounced him, and by many black Zimbabwean democracy, trade union, student and church activists.

And that's just a tiny part of what he has done.

Happy birthday, Peter!!

Interview with Gay Star News: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

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