Peter Tatchell Hub




Campaign Launched To Recognize Elizabeth Taylor's HIV/AIDS Work

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English television presenter and journalist Matthew Wright has said that Elizabeth Taylor should be honored for her campaigning work with HIV and AIDS.

Speaking to Gay Times, Wright describes the moment he met Taylor when she was in England to receive the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award.  At the end of the night, Wright says that the actress asked him to promise that after she died he would make sure that she received an English Heritage blue plaque on the house in London where she was born.

Wright said that Taylor changed the world’s perceptions towards HIV and AIDS when she established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991:

“At the time when she set up her charity, people thought you could catch HIV from standing too near to someone who was gay, and all other kinds of homophobic nonsense and ignorance. The fact that she was so iconic certainly had an impact. If someone like Elizabeth Taylor is going to embrace a cause – kind of like Princess Diana, actually, who also did fantastic work with HIV and AIDS – it’s going to change the way people think.”

When Taylor died in 2011, Wright was told by English Heritage that in order to qualify for a blue plaque, a recipient must be dead for a minimum of 20 years.

However, some London boroughs waive the requirement.  Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was honoured with a plaque outside his London home in 2010.

Wright has launched a petition to get Taylor recognized with a blue plaque.


Activists Protesting Anti-Gay Law Disrupt Speech by Ugandan President in London

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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni spoke at a UK government forum last night at Lancaster House in London designed to promote UK investment in Uganda's economy, Ekklesia reports:

The opening of the forum saw President Museveni speak about trade and investment on the same day as the trial of two men charged with homosexuality starts in Uganda. The trial is the first since the new anti-gay law was passed earlier this year.

3_museveniMuseveni also spoke at the St. James Court Hotel where his speech was accompanied by "a constant background disruption" from a protest organized by the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, with the support of STOPAIDS, the RMT union and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

"Foreign Office collaboration with the Ugandan government and support for the UK-Uganda Business Forum calls into question David Cameron’s commitment to tackling rising homophobia in Uganda and across Africa," according to the activists.

The demonstrators discussed the protest in a press release:

"It is hypocritical for the UK government to claim to be promoting LGBTI rights internationally and at the same time rolling out the red carpet for regimes like Uganda that persecute gay people," said Edwin Sesange, the Ugandan Director of the African LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group.

"The UK government should come clean on its progress with promoting gay rights in countries like Uganda that they host and collaborate with. At this early stage since the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) became law, it is questionable for Ugandan government ministers to claim that the campaign against the homophobic legislation has had no effect on the Ugandan economy and inward investment. President Museveni is more likely to attract foreign investors if he ensures good governance, financial probity and human rights. The AHA is a negative, which is turning off many would-be western investors,” said Mr Sesange.

Peter Tatchell (below, right), Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation, added:

“Gay people are not the cause of Uganda’s problems. The government of Uganda should fight poverty and HIV, not gay people. It is two-faced for the UK government to condemn homophobia while hosting President Museveni, whose government has legislated one of the world’s most draconian anti-gay laws. The Anti-Homosexuality Act punishes any form of same-sex contact - even mere kissing and caressing - with mandatory life imprisonment. Museveni is a tyrant who presides over a corrupt regime that is guilty of widespread human rights violations, including the arrest of opposition leaders, torture and the suppression of free speech. The UK government should not be drumming up business to sustain his autocratic rule."

(images via the peter tatchell foundation)

Tatchell


Lush Cosmetics Launches 'Sign of Love' Campaign Against LGBT Discrimination In Russia

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The cosmetics company Lush has announced a new campaign directly aimed at speaking out against anti-LGBT discrimination in Russia. With the Sochi games set to start on February 7, Lush hopes to keep attention on the country's anti-gay propaganda law that criminalizes the promotion of "non-traditional sexual relations" to minors. The Independent reports:

In its Valentine’s campaign, to be launched tomorrow, Lush’s stores will display signs proclaiming “We believe in Love”. Staff will also encourage customers to paint pink triangles on their bodies as a symbol of support for equal love. Yet the campaign, a response to Russia’s anti-gay legislation, would be at risk of violating the country’s “homosexual propaganda” law if the signs appeared in any of the retailer’s 63 Russian shops...

“Valentine’s Day is the perfect to time to stand up [for] everyone’s right for love. No country, company, or individual can stop love; all they can do is punish people for that love,” said Tamsin Omond, head of Lush campaigns. “To do so – to forbid or criminalise love – is unnatural and cruel, so I am proud that we are standing in solidarity with LGBTQ people and campaigning for equal love.”

Activist Peter Tatchell was quick to point out the disparity between the position taken by Lush and the corporate sponsors of the 2014 Olympics:

Lush’s “proactive stand” contrasts “with the silence and inaction of Winter Olympics sponsors like Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Visa. They have shown great cowardice by refusing to make any public statement criticising Russia’s anti-gay laws and the escalating levels of homophobic violence in Russia.”

Lush has also taken to social media site Pinterest, calling on people to upload photos of themselves marked with the sign of love to show support for LGBT people in Russia and to sign a petition started by LGBT rights organization All Out that "urge[s] leaders around the world and within Russia to work to eliminate all anti-gay laws and protect all citizens from violence and discrimination in Russia."

Photo via Pinterest.


Was Alan Turing Murdered By British Security Services?

Although Alan Turing — the famous British World War II codebreaker who helped thwart the Nazis and was later prosecuted for being gay — recently received a royal pardon for "gross indecency," British gay activist Peter Tatchell wants an inquiry into Turing's death, as he suspects that Turing may have been murdered by British security services rather than committed suicide as previously thought.

TurningAfter what Tatchell calls a "perfunctory and inadequate" inquest of Turing's death, Turing's cause of death was reportedly self-poisoning through ingestion of a cyanide-laced apple.

However, Tatchell says that during the homophobic and xenophobic political atmosphere of the 1950s "the security services would have been very fearful that Turing [and his gay life were] vulnerable to blackmail and anxious that he might pass information [regarding his 'expert knowledge of code breaking, advanced mathematics and computer science'] to the Soviets."

Tatchell adds that, "Although there is no evidence that Turing was murdered by state agents, the fact that this possibility has never been investigated is a major failing... A new inquiry is long overdue, even if only to dispel any doubts about the true cause of his death.”

Turing's punishment for "gross indecency" was to undergo chemical castration to diminish his sex drive — a hormone therapy that rendered him impotent and caused him to develop breasts. Nevertheless, Express.co.uk reports, "There was nothing in Turing’s final days to suggest he was in despair. He had left a note on his office desk the Friday before he died reminding himself of tasks to be done after the weekend."

Turing has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity. In addition to the royal pardon, the famed cryptoanalyst has also received a statue of himself in Paddington, London; an upcoming movie about his life as well as a petition to get him on the £10 note.


David Cameron to Skip Sochi Olympics, Says It Isn't a Boycott

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has no plans to attend the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, but government sources insist that his absence should not be interpreted as a statement about Russia's anti-gay record. The Independent reports:

David CameronGovernment sources told The Independent that culture ministers would be part of the British delegation to Sochi, although the final line-up had not been decided. It is also unlikely that Britain will follow President Obama’s lead and send a high-profile gay rights activist as part of the official presence.

“The PM believes in engagement. He doesn’t think that boycotts and grand gestures achieve much,” an aide said. 

Downing Street sources pointed to Mr Cameron’s decision to attend the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka in November, even though the Canadian and Indian prime ministers stayed away, and pointed out that Mr Cameron raised the issue of gay rights with President Putin when he attended the G20 summit in St Petersburg in September.

In other UK news, Peter Tatchell and other gay rights activists ambushed Coca-Cola's Christmas event in Covent Gardens, London yesterday to protest against the company's sponsorship of the Sochi Games.

Peter Tatchell
 


Activist Peter Tatchell Talks to BBC About Tom Daley's Coming Out, Hits the IOC While Doing So: VIDEO

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Longtime activist Peter Tatchell sat down with BBC World News to talk about Tom Daley's coming out and the lack of openly gay athletes. Tatchell cleverly turns the conversation to challenge the International Olympic Committee to do something about Russia's anti-gay laws.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Activist Peter Tatchell Talks to BBC About Tom Daley's Coming Out, Hits the IOC While Doing So: VIDEO" »


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