Hating Peter Tatchell 108

I would dearly love to say that I am a friend of Peter Tatchell, but I can’t really claim to be more than an acquaintance and perhaps ally. We have shared a platform several times, always say hi to each other at demos and events where we see each other, but have never really had a personal conversation. Peter always appears to me somewhat withdrawn; a mutual friend described him to me as aloof. I think he is shy, which seems a strange thing to say about someone whose life has been, as the new Netflix documentary Hating Peter Tatchell makes plain, a series of spectacular and often individual performance protest events.

In the documentary you see Peter get brutally beaten by nationalist extremists in Russia, and by Mugabe henchmen in London. You see some remarkably un-Christian blows hit him as he is removed from the pulpit at Canterbury cathedral. You learn his mum was a religious bigot and he was very brutally beaten, as attested by his mother and sister, by an extremely violent stepfather, who looks in photos a caricature thug. There is a fragility and vulnerability about Peter that makes you want to protect him; but he still ventures into danger.

The documentary features almost exclusively Peter’s campaigning for gay rights, which is a weakness as his canvas is much broader than that. There are some interesting ironies along the way which are missed. It refrains from pointing out that the victor and beneficiary of the appalling homophobic campaign against Peter in the Bermondsey by-election was Simon Hughes, himself then firmly in the closet. Extracts from a Glasgow TV show, in which Tatchell is heavily criticised by young people for “outing” gays, very briefly show the show’s host John Nicholson – who I am pretty sure was himself in the closet at the time.

It is very good to be reminded by this documentary that widespread and open homophobia was a major force in British society right through the 1980’s. Peter Tatchell deserves a place in history as one of the leaders in changing that, and I am proud to know him. I strongly commend the documentary to you. However its weakness lies in trying to squeeze Peter through the Overton window. By focusing on gay rights alone, it can portray Peter as the victor, who is now in line with accepted attitudes.

The documentary explicitly states he became a “national treasure” when he took on Mugabe. The big set-piece is his taking on Putin’s Russia by traveling to the World Cup and demonstrating in Red Square against the killing and torture of gays in Chechnya. Any pro-gay demonstration in Russia takes enormous courage, but the police dealing with him on this occasion were polite and non-violent and he was released the next day. Peter is however quite right in outlining discrimination against gays in Russia and Putin’s tolerance or even encouragement of it. The accumulation of Overton-signaling soft targets towards the end of the documentary is completed by a brief clip of him interrupting Jeremy Corbyn to protest against human rights violations by Assad.

I don’t exactly blame the documentary makers, who had to sell the film and get at least some of their money back, but this mainstream media friendly Tatchell is just one corner of the picture. He does not just take on designated western enemies such as Putin, Mugabe and Assad.

Peter has been an extremely dedicated supporter of Julian Assange, turning up repeatedly for years outside the Ecuador Embassy and at subsequent demos, often alone and unannounced, and without pushing himself forward to speak (I have found a reluctance to integrate Peter into the Assange defence campaign, which puzzles me).

The documentary shows him trying to arrest Mugabe but there is no mention of his still more spectacular ambush of Blair’s motorcade and attempt to arrest the war criminal. His steadfast and active support for Palestine, his opposition to Trident and to the Iraq and Afghan wars, all this is shown only in the end credits by the banners he is holding. His long-running campaign against Saudi Arabian human rights violations, and those of other Gulf states, is ignored in favour of Western “enemies”.

This is my favourite Tatchell placard:

Peter Tatchell is, to me, a great hero and always will be. I probably do not agree with him on every single issue, but no sentient human being should ever agree with any other on absolutely everything – if you do, one of you is not actually thinking.

A final thought. I have repeatedly stated that the Westminster government will not voluntarily give up Scotland, and only agreed to the 2014 referendum because they thought it impossible to lose. They got a huge shock and will not go that route again. Winning Scottish Independence is almost certainly going to involve a measure of civil disobedience. This documentary is a profound lesson in how civil disobedience can bring about social and political change, and the sacrifices it entails, and I urge you to watch it with that perspective.


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108 thoughts on “Hating Peter Tatchell

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  • Michael Droy

    “The big set-piece is his taking on Putin’s Russia by traveling to the World Cup and demonstrating in Red Square against the killing and torture of gays in Chechnya. Any pro-gay demonstration in Russia takes enormous courage, but the police dealing with him on this occasion were polite and non-violent and he was released the next day. Peter is however quite right in outlining discrimination against gays in Russia and Putin’s tolerance or even encouragement of it.”

    But any pro-Chechen rebel protest is sheer lunacy in Moscow. As Netflix and Craig should surely be pointing out.
    Shame to see Craig join idiots like Elton John and Madonna join the anti-russia theme that magically appeared ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics during the preparations for the Ukraine coup. The gay theme in Russia is vastly exaggerated for very obvious reasons by the same people from Bellingcat to NED that Craig so often opposes. Gay groups have achieved a lot of good, but have been used mercilessly by intelligence groups.

    • craig Post author

      Michael what is really a shame is to see people buying into the narrative that because Western governments are bad, therefore Russia is a paradise. It is not. The anti-gay discrimination in Russia is very real. The banning of gay “propaganda” including gay pride marches is real.

      To say that any criticism of Russia over anything makes me an ally of NATO is just as stupid as to say that my criticisms of the UK and US make me a Russian puppet.

      Which is to say, really, really, really stupid.

      • AB

        I would criticise Russia for what it has done in to Chechnya and continues to do itself and through its proxies. What it has done and the threat it presents to The UK or the US is pitiful by comparison. Russia poses Scotland no threat.

        • Kempe

          The Irish might disagree. Violations of their neutral air space by Russian spy planes has become a regular nuisance. They’re currently faced with the prospect of spending billions on fighter jets to end an embarrassing dependence on the RAF.


          Standing by for the predictable defence of Russia. ” a shame is to see people buying into the narrative that because Western governments are bad, therefore Russia is a paradise. “

          • Bayard

            “Violations of their neutral air space by Russian spy planes has become a regular nuisance. “

            Ah diddums! Big bad Russia is a nuisance!
            So what exactly is the damage caused by “violations of air space”. This is an aerial version of those “No Turning” notices that people have on their driveways.

          • Squeeth

            What are the Rooskies spying on in the “Free” State; the shamrock harvest?

          • Squeeth

            Sarcasm boy, not a sneer; what’s to spy on?. The Rooskies can fly over Hull any time they want, everyone else does.

          • Bayard

            If that’s the worst Russia does in the scale of international crimes, then they probably deserve to be congratulated. Bombing towns back to the Stone Age it is not.

          • Piotr+Berman

            Reminds me when Canada decided to by a navy vessel to be able to respond better to Danish encroachments on (what Canadian believed to be their) Hans Island, a granite slab in the middle of the straight between Greenland and Canada, more than 200 miles from the nearest Canadian settlement. That really made Canadian blood to boil. (At the end of this most phlegmatic of military conflict, the island was split in two. Do not ask who is checking the border crossing.)

            At least Danes photographed themselves planting their flag on Hans Island few times, same with Canadians who does raised a rage in Denmark (not a hell lot of it) while “Russian encroachment” is curiously un-mapped. In any case, Ireland now has a good reason to spend few billions on adequate radars, planes, support facilities etc., the last I heard they do not have problems with a mountain of debt they accepted because of banking collapse and they are flourishing a bit too much.

        • Lenny Hartley

          Where is this Irish Airspace? around 200 miles north of Rockall perhaps? the UK airspace we hear about being “invaded” by the dastardly Ruskies is 199 miles north of Unst in Shetland.
          Or it is most of the time. We are off course playing the same game with them.
          Reminds me of a few years back a BBC Documentary on the Sunday night was majoring on Blue Whales of Baja California, couple of days later the Tories needed a squirrel so front pages of Tame Press were about a Blue Whale in UK waters. I followed it up and did some research, the Blue Whale they were talking about was on an annual migration through the Bay of Biscay about 199.9 miles south of the Scilly Isles.

    • mark golding

      If the context is anti-Russian I look through the ‘Overton window’ metaphor at Syria and realize it was shaped and moved to hide the hegemony of U.S. and NATO allies and justify seeming relentless efforts by the West to isolate and smear Russia with sanctions and other provocations as a result of Russia’s Strategic Intervention to impede a Western-backed campaign of regime change and wanton illegal war-making across the Middle East and North Africa.

      The window was initially framed in a vertical range to summon world opinion towards a compliant Damascus that would henceforth do the West’s bidding in terms of Middle Eastern geopolitics. The nefarious plan would come at the price of destroying Syria and its ancient multi-ethnic and multi-religious civilization along with hundreds of thousands of lives lost and millions of people turned into refugees.

      The ‘window’ was expanded to include the well grounded tool of ‘terrorism’ so that the absurd veil of defeating terrorism was the aim to promote regime change, an aim which has involved Washington covertly weaponizing terrorist proxies, not defeating them.

      Before Putin’s Russian intervention, the foreign-backed enemies were at the gates of Damascus. The barbaric terrorism and destruction inflicted upon Syria had almost reached breaking point. Fortunately, however, Russian firepower turned the terrorist tide.

      The achievement is comparable to the World War Two victory against the Nazi regime by the Soviet Red Army at Stalingrad.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    LGBTQ rights in Russia must surely be “a” consideration not “the” consideration. The SNP at Westminster at the very least run the risk of being seen to regard LGBTQ rights as the primary focus in its consideration of foreign policy (why in any case should the SNP have a “foreign policy” stance at all?). Consider.
    Alyn Smith – Foreign Affairs spokesperson.
    Stewart McDonald – spokesperson for Defence.
    Angela Crawley – spokesperson for Defence procurement (before she was promoted to Shadow Attorney General).
    None of these people are heterosexual.

    LGBTQ rights are in any case less than optimum East of the Oder. Consider this shocking case in Latvia earlier this year.

    An aside: Why was Crawley promoted to Shadow Attorney General at Westmonster? Crawley attained her Law degree after she became an MP. Didn’t the SNP have an experienced senior Lawyer on the Green benches? Someone with say QC status? Oh yeh …

    • craig Post author

      Vivian you are also suffering from dull adversarial thinking. To say that LGBT rights are poor in Russia is not to say they are great in Latvia. They are poor in pretty well all of Eastern Europe. This is not a question of “sides”.

    • Piotr+Berman

      Disparaging of the things East is present even in Germany. For example, they have two Frankfurts, the “main” one in the West, the “oder” one in the East (Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt am Oder).

  • Tom Joad

    I had the privilege to have met him in a personal setting – a gentle and kind soul. But principled. A true hero.
    (In fond memory of Alan Wilkinson)

  • nevermind

    Thanks for given accolade where it’s due, Craig. I have met Peter at Green Party events during the 80’s and 90’s. Can only agree with Tom, Peter is a kind soul and will listen and debate. When he campaigns he is solely engaged with a desire to bring over the facts. He knows the media, and what’s going on beyond the facade, well, always able to outwit them in seconds.
    He can only be admired for his deeply held principles. I can’t understand the animosity shown towards him by past thugs. He is not violent at all, just sure of facts and figures.
    @ VivoBliv, very much enjoyed your quip in your last sentence, who would not like to see a good friend’s hand at the security tiller…..

  • pete

    Craig, your criticism of Netflix seems fine, not being a subscriber does mean that I may never see the documentary. Still, anyone who wants to make a citizens arrest of both Mugabe and Blair is something of a hero in my book.

  • ewan

    ” Furthermore the era was still suffering from the Victorian repression of homosexuality [ repressed, significantly, by the homosexuals themselves of that lengthy era]”.
    Eric Hebborn – Drawn to Trouble, 1991

  • Hamish McGlumpha

    “John Nicholson – who I am pretty sure was himself in the closet at the time.”

    I was aware of John Nicholson when he was president of Glasgow University Union. Nothing then to suggest he was gay. Quite the reverse. In that all-male bastion, at that time, coming out would not have been a vote-winner!

  • Aden

    Simon Hughes, himself then firmly in the closet.

    That will be the same Simon Hughes who doubled dipped on expenses, was forced to repay money.

    But not prosecution for fraud by misrepresentation, section 2, 2006 Fraud act.

    I wonder why

  • glenn_nl

    I’ve had occasion of late to work with a young fellow – about 20 years of age. While straight himself, it was notable that he absolutely did not care in the slightest about someone else’s sexuality, and the notion of being accused of “being gay” was just puzzling to him. The contrast could not have been much different when I grew up – an accusation of being a “homo” in school was fighting talk.

    It’s such a rapid turnaround in perspective, in a mere generation. It does go to show that bigotry has to be taught – hatred and fear of “the other” does not come naturally. Most likely, the loosening of religious zealots’ grip on the minds of the young has allowed many a prejudice to fall away. “God wants you to hate…” is not a winning argument to free minds.

  • Sarge

    Whoever made this documentary was badly informed if they thought Tatchell’s attempted arrest of Blair would be viewed negatively by the average viewer.

    A decade after Blair left Downing Street, two thirds of people still had an unfavourable opinion of the man, with just 21% declaring their view to be positive.

    At a time of intense polarisation in politics, Blair is still a perversely unifying figure, eliciting negative reactions from across the ideological spectrum. The devotion most journalists have for him is not reflective of the British public.

    • bevin

      The concern will not have been with the average viewer – the object of propaganda- but with the average member of The Establishment- the average secret policeman, the average US Ambassador, the average SNP MP….

    • craig Post author

      I think they were not worried about the average viewer, but about the networks they were trying to sell the documentary to.

    • Shatnersrug


      So true, you can go into any pub in the British Isles and listen to almost angry debates over everything from trans-rights to Brexit to Indy to god knows what, but if you drop into the conversation “still, Blair’s a c*nt, eh?”

      Everyone will stop nod and say “Aye, Blair’s a c*nt”
      Maybe the defenestration of Blair could be a route back to a more collegiate British Isles?!

      • Jo1

        It hasn’t stopped him setting up the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and being allowed to “advise” governments (including the current lot in London) on all sorts. It also hasn’t stopped the UK media from wheeling him out at every opportunity to give his take on anything at all!

        • Shatnersrug


          Well that’s another enormous disconnect between Westminster, the mainstream media and the entire nation

  • Stevie Boy

    IMO – Tatchell has always seemed well balanced, a chip on both shoulders !
    The whole Russia and Gay rights thing is totally political. The Russian government has placed curbs on the overt gay propaganda aimed at minors – children ! Most responsible parents would be in agreement with this ?
    As Ricky Gervais joked in his shows, when people, like Tatchell, were campaigning for lowering the age of consent to 16, there didn’t appear to be many 16 year old involved they were mainly middle aged men !

    • craig Post author

      Stevie that was precisely the argument the Tories used to justify Clause 28. And how precisely does that lead to banning of gay rights marches? What Tatchell was campaigning for was for the age of consent to be the same for homosexuals and heterosexuals. I think that is absolutely right. Whatever the age should be, it should be the same for everyone.

  • Tatyana

    I read that in 2007 the mayor of Moscow was supposed to meet in London with the mayors of 4 European capital cities (two of these 4 mayors were themselves gay and supporting minority rights). It is said that Tatchel and his organization Outrage protested against the arrival of the Moscow mayor.
    I find it difficult to understand the logic of such actions. Wouldn’t Tatchel want the Moscow mayor to see and get to know how things are in Europe? Wouldn’t it be right, on the contrary, to call him in and educate him?
    Sorry, but this “prohibit and exclude” approach is completely unproductive.

  • DunGroanin

    Would anyone be surprised if PT was elevated to the Lords? Just like that other anti establishment outsider Revolutionary Communist – Claire Fox was by arch Tory Johnson?

    I do agree that he has made an actual difference – especially locally (in the U.K.) as allowing many youngsters to accept their homosexuality in an unapologetic manner from an earlier age than they otherwise would have.
    Which if it was his intention has been certainly successful and a great personal achievement – for which should be rightly lauded.

  • Squeeth

    He spoilt his reputation with me for supporting the US head-chopping, heart-eating, rapers and slavers in Syria.

  • Sam X

    Craig, I mentioned you when I met Peter Tatchell at a conference a few years ago and he asked me to pass on his regards. He seemed quite reserved and distracted at the time, and I wasn’t sure he was paying much attention. The next day at the conference dinner when I brought another well-known delegate over to him, he thanked me and again asked me to say Hi to you on his behalf.

    I think I did mention this to you at some point, but if not … Peter sent his regards.

  • Marmite

    Always an interesting exercise observing what gets put in and what gets left out. It seems an unfortunate title, suggesting it is almost okay to become part of the ‘hating’ pack.

  • Baron

    Has the hero of yours, Mr. Murray, visited any of the Arabic states (say) the Saudi Arabia, it’s where the treatment of gays is said to be much worse than in Russia where same sex relationships aren’t banned, but the promotion of the gay life style to anyone below the age of 18 is prohibited. The discrimination isn’t by the State, but by the ordinary people. When Navalny stood for the job of the Mayor of Moscow gays demonstrated for him, one of the reasons he lost.

    • BrianFujisan

      What Craig actually said – ” Peter Tatchell is, to me, a great hero and always will be. I probably do not agree with him on every single issue, but no sentient human being should ever agree with any other on absolutely everything – if you do, one of you is not actually thinking.

      Don’t try to twist things

      • Baron

        Point taken, Brian, it’s only a question of degree, Baron’s posting on this issue was leaning perhaps further than what Mr. Murray intended to convey, apologies.

    • craig Post author

      Perhaps you had difficulty reading this bit of the article, Baron.

      “His long-running campaign against Saudi Arabian human rights violations, and those of other Gulf states, is ignored in favour of Western “enemies”.”

      What you describe is of course Thatcher’s policy precisely. And I still don’t understand why it would lead to the banning of Gay Pride marches.

      • Tatyana

        Mr. Murray
        You say “I don’t understand,” and this is the problem of many people of Western culture and mentality trying to evaluate people in other countries.
        Please share this video with Mr. Tatchell

        By the time he arrived with his mission in Russia, he must have understood the historical and cultural heritage that surrounds him. Namely, the people of my country knew gay relationships only in this form: the coercion of children, violence in prisons and depravity somewhere in bohemian circles far from the bulk of the population. The fact that people can voluntarily enter into such a relationship was completely unknown and was perceived as savagery, as an attack on the basic values ​​of our traditional society. This may explain to Mr. Tatchell why he was hit in the eye and why gay pride parades did not find a happy response.

        I notice that the problem “I do not understand” is very often voiced from the Western side. I see it as the infantile whim of a spoiled child “why can’t they just be like us?”
        Well, just because we are not you.
        Our generation grew up in different conditions, among a different culture; lived through different events, in different legislation.

        • Marmite

          But is this really a case of one person saying to the other ‘why can’t you be like me?’

          It seems to be more a case of saying that it is more helpful if we try to be more understanding and respectful of one another.

          I’m also not sure what a ‘traditional society’ is. Societies are only ‘traditional’ to the extent that they have that idea imposed on them from above. It is not something that actually exists. And it is no excuse for the violence toward others whom the hating pack see as non-traditional, whether in the UK or Russia or anywhere.

          • Tatyana

            my comment was to Mr. Murray, but I don’t mind discussing it with you as well.

            “it is more helpful if we try to be more understanding and respectful of one another” – that is exactly what I mean when I say that Mr. Thatchell did his homework badly before his visit to Russia.

            His organization according to Wiki:

            OutRage! was a British Lesbian and Gay rights political group in the UK, lasting for 21 years, from 1990 until 2011. It described itself as “a broad based group of queers committed to radical, non-violent direct action and civil disobedience”

            I see political and also radical
            Not a good choice for a situation, where we need understanding and respect, don’t you think so? I believe it would be better to have some Western educational organisations here at that time, rather than radical political ones.

            The radicals have so much pain and rage in them that they invariably choose the ways of interacting with the ‘opposite side of the dialogue’ where they can throw this pain and rage out. And this was the worst way to approach our situation. I don’t see how this helped the Russian gay community.

            But I can clearly see that the consequences of this ‘interaction’ were easily predictable.
            The question is, is Mr. Tatchell stupid that he could not see it himself. Or Mr. Tatchell deliberately chose his own line of conduct, knowing the consequences, and they suited him for some reason (I hope these were not political reasons).

          • Marmite

            You may be right. Care is always needed when assuming that common morality is common and universal. But I think there comes a time when those who have suffered too much lose their patience for the tiresome task of diplomacy, understanding, and compromise, and feel that the dominant narrative just needs to be fought hard with another narrative.

          • Tatyana

            The trouble with radical methods is that they distract from the problem itself. For example, we will long discuss poor Pavlensky’s injured scrotum, but how did this help the problem? Does anyone even remember what that protest was about?
            And the same with an even greater number of protests, where people want drive and a burst of emotions, they want spectacular photos and exciting reports, but the problem remains unresolved.
            The sensible and serious way of unraveling difficult situations is not so entertaining, it requires preparation, goodwill, dedication and perseverance. You can’t make quick money on this. This will not create an attractive monetized reputation for you. It’s just work that needs to be done and of course it finds few people willing to do it.

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            “Societies are only ‘traditional’ to the extent that they have that idea imposed on them from above.”

            How do you work that out? Hunter gatherers have tradition, who has imposed it on them?
            Tradition doesn’t equal good or bad. Good or bad are the same if an idea is a thousand years old or if you just thought of it.

        • Beata

          Tatyana, I find all your comments to be on the spot and I like them a lot. I only wonder, why Craig never answers to you when you highlight important issues.

          • Tatyana

            Beata, I have a couple of ideas 🙂

            • Maybe Mr. Murray admits that I’m a Putin’s agent.
            • Perhaps Mr. Murray has firmly promised his wife not to communicate with women.
            • Probably, any non-hostile communication with a Russian person can tarnish his reputation and disrupt his career plans.
            • Maybe he regrets that he is bound by his own adherence to freedom of speech, otherwise he would have thrown this annoying woman out of the forum.
            • I believe that most likely, he is ready to tolerate my presence as an inevitable evil, because I am entertaining his audience.

            But these are just my guesses.

            Mr. Murray writes often about Russia, but I have not found any evidence that he has ever been in this country. Judging by his own words – once he said that I was talking bullshit, and another time he said that I’m silly – I think that he simply doesn’t believe what I say. Perhaps he doesn’t want to enter into polemics with the Russian, so that his words are not refuted.

            I do not fall into the illusion that he can seriously extract something from my comments and double-check his belief system. He describes himself as a radical, and these are pretty stubborn people.

            *Sorry, Mr. Murray, I am writing frankly and have no intention of offending you.

        • Courtenay Barnett

          I did not intend to enter this debate – but – I found your observations interesting for two reasons.

          1. I was born in Jamaica and the Caribbean ( at least the English speaking Caribbean as a whole ) has not traditionally been embracing gays. Interestingly, at present, Barbados has gay female Prime Minister and time marches on. One may note that Cuba has a particularly tolerant public policy towards gays – as far as I had observed on my visits to that Caribbean nation.
          2. As in Russia, in Jamaica, any attempts at gay pride marches have been met with violence.

          It seems to me, as my father had explained to me as an adolescent – that some people are genetically disposed to be gay – or – some are groomed by others to become that way. All said and done, my father expected me to be heterosexual and produce the next generation – and I have done both. However, he was also a person who could reason and understand and he did not gloss his observations about the realities of life nor his expectations – and he was not impulsively hostile. In fact, he understood a lot and was all round tolerant towards differences.
          I suppose that my father’s influence on me has inured.
          Indeed – there are cultural differences all the world round and our upbringing and the cultural milieu within which our ideas were formed can explain a lot.

      • Baron

        Perhaps you haven’t read Baron’s posting, Mr. Murray, he asked whether PT has ever visited the Saudi Kingdom, the question wasn’t about any campaigning of his outside the country.

        Not that Baron has anything much against gays, he has a number of friends that are that way, what Baron objects to is the never ceasing campaigning, the in-your-face shoving of their preference in matters sexual (of the few as it happens), the never ending demands not for toleration but approval.

        The Russian ban Gay Pride marches because there aren’t any Straight Pride marches either, why TF should anyone advertise what one gets up to in the privacy of one’s home? For a country that has its population falling it should be the last thing to promote, Russia needs just the opposite, a straight sex bonking furnishing new bodies to replace the ageing old ones (or the ones dropping dead from excessive vodka imbibing).

        All surveys suggest the percent of the gays plus in in low single figures, why should the percentage of the issues dealing with that exceed the low single figure? What do the PTs of Britain want, for all of us to join in? They are more than adequately protected by law, it’s not that the straights that cannot ‘get used to it, it’s the gays plus that seem to be unable to accept what they are, need continued reassuring of their sexuality.

        • Johny Conspiranoid

          I suspect the Russian Government sees the gay pride marches as just another front for the american regime change operation. Otherwise they probably wouldn’t care one way or another.
          The gay pride marches began as a concious and public rejection of the general perception of gays and how they should feel about themselves. Later when all things gay, transexual etc. were weaponised to sell western terrorism suport for gay pride marches fell off among gays.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      ” When Navalny stood for the job of the Mayor of Moscow gays demonstrated for him, one of the reasons he lost.”

      Which gays demonstrated for him?

      • Baron

        Russian gays, Johny, there is a video of it that Baron cannot find now, it was posted on a Russian website ‘Politicus’ some 4-5 months ago when the Navalny charade was in the news, you may try look for it.

          • Baron

            You’re right (as so often you are, Tatyana), it must have been Amsterdam, but in the video clip the interviewer asks a number of the demonstrating gays whether they backed Navalny, they all answered in the affirmative, Baron thought it was in Moscow, a genuine mistake that. Apologies for getting the place wrong.

            And a question, please, T, what is фриган? It’s amazing how much the Russian language has changed, one can understand people of the older generation, the young ones are often incomprehensible.

          • Baron

            Not at all, but Baron was wrong, Johnny, in his previous posting: the gays backing Navalny were demonstrating in Amsterdam. Apologies for the mistake.

            Gays from St Petersburg offered to back Putin in the Presidential election, he declined, a smart move. Tatyana may know more.

  • Simon

    PT has always seemed to me to be one of those Guardian-types that are feted for their Identity Politics as long as they go along with the state approved media’s foreign policy agenda.

    His support of the weaponised Anti-semitism smears against Corbyn have destroyed all respect I have for the man, however brave he is. “Corbyn should apologise for collusion with anti-Semites”??? He is just another establishment shill.

    • Brian c

      100%. He joined with the worst people in the country in an obvious rightwing destruction campaign. People like Graeber, Chomsky and Finklesten were saying from day one it was a crude ploy to wreck the only threat to the British establishment. Tatchell is either a clown or is being puppeted by the state.
      Either way, f him.

  • Carnyx

    Chechnya is a semi autonomous Republic. Its laws are different from Russia’s – homosexuality is both illegal and officially punished with the death penalty, homosexuality is not illegal in Russia. Russia has placed a Moratorium on the death penalty across Russia, so although homosexuals in Chechnya are sentenced to death the sentence cannot be carried out, at least not officially.

    Chechen attitudes to homosexuality are akin to those in Saudi or nearby Iran, generally if anyone is accused of homosexuality their own family will kill them as a matter of “honour”. The Kremlin isn’t going to stir up separatists by attempting to forcefully liberalise them and if Chechnya won independence it would only get worse for Gays.

    It should be noted that Middle Eastern attitudes to homosexuality are fundamentally different from those in the west: Saudi for example has the death penalty for homosexuality, but also has widespread homosexual activity and tolerates it, so long as they don’t get caught and don’t create a scandal. In other words those in the ME who indulge in homosexual activity don’t identify as “gay”, it’s just something they do which doesn’t define them, as sexuality does in the west. So, when people from these Muslim countries say things like “there are no gays in my country” they actually mean “there are no western style gays”, these are not naïve statements. When westerners interfere in this using western standards and assumptions they often make things worse.

    Russian attitudes to homosexuality are not as severe, they are more akin to 70’s West than to Iran, but the west using gay rights as a means to criticise Russia only makes the situation worse because it paints gay rights as a foreign imposition instead of something that makes things fairer for Russians themselves. Russian legislation on “gay propaganda” is akin the Section 28 in the UK and Lithuania has adopted similar laws without the west kicking up the fuss it has in Russia’s case. It’s a bad law, and retrogressive even in Russian terms, but it shouldn’t be treated as foreign relations issue, so Russia is a few decades back on Gay rights, is this shocking?

    The Gay Propaganda law was introduced and authored by Yelena Mizulina, a stereotypical “battle axe” and an opponent of Putin. She started out in the Communist Party, upon the fall of the USSR she joined the liberal Yabloko party, then Boris Nemetsov’s Union of Right Forces in 2001, then joined A Just Russia in 2007 and pushed the 2013 Propaganda law for them, at the time she was alleging that the Putin admin was being run by a cabal of paedophiles who were opposing her law. Opinion polls showed 90% of Russians supported the law, basically Putin caved to the pressure after initially opposing it, a victory for A Just Russia and all those standing up to Putin. Curiously Mizulina’s son works for the US law firm Mayer Brown in Belgium which sponsors a number of gay rights groups in Belgium.


    • Tatyana

      A very accurate assessment of the situation in Russia. Thank you. Especially in the ‘Western-style gay’ part.

      We have several words in our language that denote homosexuality. All of them have a clear negative connotation. For example, in this sample of folklore:
      – Khaim, you know, Moishe turned out to be a fag!
      – You mean he borrowed money and won’t give it back?
      – No, in the good sense of the word …

      The most recent word ‘gay’ came in with the fall of the USSR and the wider spreading of the Western culture. This is the only colloquial word that does not carry a vivid negative modality (I think for this we should thank Sir Elton John, who is so dearly loved in Russia)
      Until recently, the word ‘gay’ had clear connotation of belonging to a certain artistic environment.
      See how the joke is constructed:
      A man comes to a sex therapist and says:
      – Doctor, I’m gay.
      – Wonderful. And let me be curious, dear, who are you by profession? Artist? Poet? Composer?
      – No, I’m a plumber …
      – But excuse me, then you’re not gay, you are an ordinary fagot!

  • Jen

    Peter Tatchell may be a hero to some but he is not a hero to me for supporting jihadists in Syria, for believing in the White Helmets as civilian rescue heroes and not as the allies of jihadists and regime-change extremists attempting to overthrow Bashar al Assad’s government, for appealing to Russophobic sentiments to justify supporting jihadists in Syria, and for calling Vanessa Beeley a liar even though she has been to Syria and interviewed people there and he has not.

    Watch Peter Tatchell being walloped by Vanessa Beeley at a festival in Devon in 2018.

    • Tatyana

      Thanks for the link, Jen!
      His words “I can’t say the White Helmets are perfect, and maybe they have done some bad things, but overall the white Helmets are heroes” reminded me of a similar attitude of Mr. Murray to the Ukrainian liberation army – a kind of mild friendly reproach, fatherly reproach with inherent forgiveness.

      • Republicofscotland

        “but overall the white Helmets are heroes”

        It’s obvious Tatyana that you haven’t been paying attention, the White Helmets are anything but heroes, staging false rescues in Syria and blaming Assad’s forces, other White Helmets can be seen waving Jihadist flags, funded by the West, and handled by James le Mesurier a ex-British army officer.

        Le Mesurier conveniently fell from a balcony during the wee small hours of the morning in 2019

          • EB

            I hope Craig can comment on this as it’s his attitude to Syria, which it seems is worse than I’d thought, that greatly diminished my own view of Tatchell.
            Nevertheless this post has given me pause for reflection.
            Thanks as ever Mr Murray.

  • Bill Marsh

    I came to the conclusion some time ago that PT is a very nasty piece of work.

  • Reza

    The intelligence services and foreign policy establishment have been cultivating these prominent human rights activists for years. But they are widening their techniques now to bring young liberals and radicals on board, as seen in the CIA’s new ‘Woke’ recruitment video.


  • Muscleguy

    Tatchell is at best an apologist for paedophiles or at worst one himself judging by his stated predilection for young boys.

    Not long after JKR’s excellent intervention into the Trans debate and as things were going backwards for TRA’s Tatchell and former members of PIE who have jumped on the Trans bandwagon got up a campaign called ‘Love knows no Age’. That does not mean they were campaigning for your granny to get her rocks off.

    They meant the abolition of the age of consent utterly and completely.

    Regardless of his background this very recent episode sticks in my mind.

    • Muscleguy

      if you read the Queer Manifesto it quite clearly states that queering the children is the last taboo they want to break. As the battle was broken and everyone was in retreat Tatchell and co went straight to the endgame as though everything else had gong swimmingly and the GRA bill had already been passed.

      • Muscleguy

        Note also that England have quietly started moving all genetically male prisoners in the female estate back into the male estate where they have always belonged. Meanwhile lots of vulnerable female prisoners have been harassed, assaulted or raped.

        At least sense has been seen. I hope La Sturgeon is watching. The lawsuits from assaulted females in Scotland will already be working their way through the legal system. They can only grow and grow while Sturgeon whistles pretending she cannot hear.

        • Giyane


          No problem for Sturgeon. Just abolish courts. Dorrian decides from the hairs on her back rising or falling when she looks at the perpetrator’s face.

    • Tatyana

      I hate so much people who substitute ‘Sex’ with ‘Love’!
      Why not using the proper words in their respective direct sense? Apparently to wrap an abhorrent idea into some pleasant decorative wrapping.

  • Tatyana

    Mr. Murray, you say Putin is a designated western enemy. Do you think we may expect some kind of provocation at the tomorrow event? Do you find it possible that Biden gets poisoned with Novichok after shaking hands with Putin, or something like that?

    • Republicofscotland

      “Mr. Murray, you say Putin is a designated western enemy”

      It wasn’t always that way.

      the Russian obsession (In a bad way) by Perfidious Albion and its hatred of its president Vladimir Putin, it may come as a surprise to some but Perfidious Albion under the tenure of Tony Blair helped Putin get elected in 2000.

      Blair flew out to St Petersburg to meet with him and endorse him as the next Russian president, MI6 even helped arrange for both men to go out to the Opera. Perfidious Albion had several objectives to endorsing Putin, even though Russia was in the middle of brutally suppressing the Chechen people.

      One was to try and open Russia up more to the West, the other was to secure BP oil interests in the country via a company called Sidanco which was in financial trouble. Sidanco was saved and BP oil increased its shares in the company.

      BP oil is closely linked to MI6, as is the FCO. Former head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, joined the company’s board the year after he left the intelligence agency and was foreign policy adviser to Blair at the time of the Putin meeting.

      • Tatyana

        Anyway, now the attitude has changed.
        I expect anything, anything… Biden may fake a heart attack, saying it’s nasty Putin who upset him that much.
        Also, I think it’s highly likely there will be attempts to humiliate Putin. Perhaps even a slap at the face, like the one Macron got recently.

        • Giyane


          The Nato face slapping machine was put to good use last week. All pre-planned to make the politicians look brave and patient. How boring can a meeting of serial liars actually get without some comic relief?

      • Paul Rigby

        MI6 was directly involved in supporting the Chechen Islamists. A very good New Statesman report of the period detailed the British business, financial & political network behind the effort to break off Chechnya from Russia. The push culminated in tragedy for the employees of Granger Telecom, inserted into the country to set up an “independent” telecommunications network there. Tatchell’s ability to miss all this covert activity was duly replicated in the cases of Syria & Ukraine. His selective vision was widespread on the thoroughly imperialist pseudo-left.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Do you find it possible that Biden gets poisoned with Novichok after shaking hands with Putin, or something like that?”

      To copy from Dorothy Parker – how could they tell?

  • 6033624

    The press and the government can, even when they agree with you, do so in a way as to crush the message and make you ‘acceptable’ As you say, this documentary is an example of just that. But, like those in that old documentary, I never agreed with forcibly ‘outing’ people who chose not to tell anyone although I really DO understand the thinking behind it. Who knows, it may have helped many future people in the public eye realise that they could be ‘out’ without changing their status. I don’t think Tatchell will ever become, or want to become, acceptable or accepted. He will continue to push the envelope and thank God for people like him.

      • Bramble

        He’s pro Syrian war and anti China and Russia. They use him, as they used feminism, to confuse and divide the left and ensure they cannot speak convincingly or with one voice. He’s a useful fanatic.

  • remember kronstadt

    I’ve lived in Southwark since before PT lost the constituency for Labour. Being gay and a colonial may have made it difficult for him to be accepted in, what was, a solid but blue-labour stronghold. Seeing the caravan of good causes he has championed, spreeing not building, I get the impression that he is a saint in search of a cross.

  • DunGroanin

    Talking of insurgent voices – I am jolly enthused by the fawning reporting in the Groaniad.

    “ Neil has sought to position GB News as an insurgent force in the British media landscape that will speak up for those who feel “their voice has not been heard in the mainstream media”

    I wonder if he/they covered Tatchell’s march to grandee? I don’t watch TeeVee. Maybe someone who did can enlighten?
    How about other insurgents such as our host? AS? JA? …

    • Giyane

      Ad talk, adapted to this century. Surfactants and detergents. It must be so disappointing for all those who are disenchanted with the media to tune in to GB news and find the lunatics have taken over the asylum, the performing fleas actually broadcasting on minitiature TV cameras.

  • Wall of Controversy

    There was a time when I have the deepest respect for Tatchell but let’s face it the guy has become a total sell-out and is (at the very best) now just a useful idiot for those pursuing the usual neoimperialism agenda.

  • zoot

    corporate mass media is not in the business of pushing hagiographies of liiving dissidents. so if one suddenly appears out of the blue it should be asked why.

    especially on the brink of a major intensification in the propaganda war against china.

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