Happy birthday Comrade Tatchell

January 25, 2012 at 9:55 am (Civil liberties, good people, Human rights, Jim D, protest)

60 years old today – and 45 years of campaigning.

One of the few figures in British public life who is entirely admirable.

Peter Tatchell attacked by Mugabe security

Above: attacked by Mugabe’s thugs

I can’t better Nick Cohen’s tribute from Sunday’s Observer:

“He lives in some poverty and suffers for his beliefs. As for gay rights, when even the leader of the Conservative party finds it politic to legislate for gay marriage, homosexual liberation appears the most mainstream of causes. Yet Tatchell wants nothing to do with the British political class and the feeling is reciprocated. Rather than showing how yesterday’s rebels become today’s conformists, Tatchell’s life illustrates a rarer and nobler theme: how a commitment to freedom for some can meld seamlessly into a commitment to freedom for all.

“If he were not an atheist, who receives death threats from Islamists, I would say that there is something of the saint about him.”

Read the rest here.

Help fund Peter’s work here.

To quote Nick Cohen again:

“Happy birthday, comrade. If the British are slightly more tolerant than we once were, it is in part because we had the good fortune to have you live amongst us.”

14 Comments

  1. HONDATED said,

    When I think back to how villified Peter Thatcher was by so many people in this country and the hate campaigns against him I wonder why he kept up campaigning just like he did.But thankfully he did and he is now being given the respect he deserves and thats from all sections of society and rightly so.
    Happy Birthday PT and heres to many more.

  2. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    bit of A cuernt on some issues like but i will let it pass.

  3. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    deleted like the guardian. Jimbo get a grip of this place!!!!!!

    appeared on thread under bloodwerthn post on thatcher biatch originally:

    Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    January 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    piktuar of that jAmES BlooDWERTH scab cock

    everything i imagined it to be – even down to the ear stud thing. bell end.

    plagairsTT BloDWerTH

    see comment here

    http://www.socialistunity.com/when-democracy-goes-too-far/#comment-281420

    jeesass

    http://blogs.independent.co.uk/author/james-bloodworth/

    you’d think they had learned their lesson after J hari debacle

    Is BLOODWErth also a member ov an A Ha tribute band? Or maybe a Bross come back.. Kevin the drummer who nobody fancies?

  4. SteveH said,

    even though i hate gays and would have em all burned at the stake i have to confess total admiration for Tatchell

  5. Matthew Blott said,

    What lovely comments. And Steve H can rest assured, like the rest of us, Peter Thatchell has zero admiration for a bigoted cretin like him.

  6. SteveH said,

    Bet I am more intelligent then you Blott. Your admiration, and the rest of whoever you are is not sought or desired in the slightest. Quite the opposite.

  7. Emma Goldman said,

    Are you aware that Tatchell contributed a chapter to this book?

    THE BETRAYAL OF YOUTH

    The contents and contributors of The Betrayal of Youth:

    Chapter 1: ‘Incest’ by Clive Coliman: Described as “An ardent supporter of the children’s rights movement.”

    Chapter 2: ‘Child Pornography and Erotica’ by Richard Green: Illustrator for the Paedophile Information Exchange magazine under the pseudonym “Dominik”

    Chapter 3: ‘Child Prostitution’ by Warren Middleton of P.I.E. Chapter 4: ‘Gender Differences’ by Liz Holtom and Kathy Challis: both from the anti-Christian Peace News.

    Chapter 5: ‘Power and Consent’ by Eric Presland: Homosexual activist. Contributed also to the American paedophile book “The Age Taboo.”

    Chapter 6: ‘Love and Let Love’ by Tuppy Owens, Editor of the Sex Maniac’s Diary, and Tom O’Carroll: ex-Chairman of P.I.E. who was convicted in 1981 of conspiracy to corrupt public morals by sending out a paedophile contact list.

    Chapter 7: ‘Children and Sex’ by Fr Michael Ingram: Catholic priest, defender of paedophilia.

    Chapter 8: ‘The Paedophiles’ by Beatrice Faust: militant feminist & civil libertarian.

    Chapter 9: ‘Questioning Ages of Majority and Ages of Consent’ by Peter Tatchell.

    Chapter 10: ‘Ends and Means: How to Make Paedophilia Acceptable?’ by Roger Moody of Peace News: “One of the most outspoken advocates of children’s rights in Britain .” Well-documented as a ubiquitous paedophile intellectual.

    Chapter 11: ‘Socialism, Class, and Children’s Rights’ by John Lindsay: “ardent supporter of children’s rights.” Member of the Socialist Workers’ Party. Homosexual activist, hates the institution of the family.

    Chapter 12: ‘Childhood Sexuality and Paedophilia: Some Questions Answered’ by Warren Middleton of P.I.E.

    Chapter 13: ‘The Oppression of the Young: An Inside Perspective’ by Jeff Vernon: Involved in Gay Youth Movement and Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

    Appendix 1: ‘P.I.E., from 1980 Until its Demise in 1985? by Steven A. Smith: ex-chairman of P.I.E. Fled to Holland in 1984, became “active in the Dutch crusade for children’s rights,” was deported back to the UK in 1991 and sentenced to 18 months for sending indecent articles through the post.

    Appendix 2: ‘The Uranians’ by Timothy d’Arch Smith: Bookseller. Author of “Love in Earnest.”

  8. Jim Denham said,

    I forwarded “Emma”‘s comment to Peter himself. Here’s his reply, which deals with the book referred to by “Emma” towards the end of the statement. Peter also commented: “The Betrayal of Youth book was published in about 1982 – 30 years ago. But some of my critics insinuate that was much more recent. Not true. When I was invited to write a chapter, I was told it was a book about children’s rights and asked if I could write about the age of consent. It seemed a reasonable request at the time.”

    *************************************************************************

    Statement of clarification by Peter Tatchell

    As I human rights campaigner, I would never advocate or
    condone child sex abuse.

    My critics have selectively quoted from what I’ve written and quoted me out of context, to give an entirely false and distorted impression. They ignore much of what I have written, including my proposals to protect young people against sex abuse and my ethical framework for all sexual relations: mutual consent, respect and fulfilment.

    An age of consent of 14 exists in other European countries. I am against criminalising young people under 16 who have consenting, victimless sex, where no one is harmed. Treating these young people as criminals is wrong.

    Below is a lengthy detailed explanation of what I believe and why. You will see that it is very different from what my critics claim.

    My actual views were voiced in a speech to the Sex and the Law conference in Sheffield in 2010, where I addressed youth welfare and sex education professionals. See the text of my speech here:

    http://www.petertatchell.net/lgbt_rights/age_of_consent/an-age-of-consent-of-14.htm

    This speech was well received as a reasoned, thoughtful contribution to the public debate about the law and sexual expression / protection.

    My 1997 Guardian letter about the book, Dares to Speak, gives the wrong impression. It was edited by the newspaper without my knowledge or consent.

    The idea that I advocate paedophilia is laughable, sick, untrue and defamatory.

    Unlike many Catholic clergy, I have never abused anyone. Unlike the Pope, I have never failed to report abusers or covered up their crimes. I do not support sex with children. Full stop.

    Dares to Speak was an academic book published in 1997, authored by professors, anthropologists, psychologists, a Dutch senator and a former editor of a Catholic newspaper. It questioned ages of consent and whether all sex between children and adults is necessarily

    harmful. It discussed, among other things, the balance between giving young people sexual rights and protecting them against abuse. This is an entirely legitimate issue to discuss.

    I do not condone adults having sex with children. My Guardian letter about this book was in defence of free speech and open debate about the issue, in opposition to those who said that the book and the debate it generated was not worthwhile and should be closed down. I was against calls for censorship. Even if Dares to Speak is entirely wrong, in a free society its authors have a right to be published and heard.

    My Guardian letter cited examples of Papuan tribes and some of my friends who had sex with adults when they were children under 16, but who do not feel they were harmed. I was not endorsing their viewpoint but merely stating that they had a different perspective from the

    mainstream one about inter-generational sex. They have every right for their perspective to be heard. If they say they were not harmed, we should respect that (while also recognising that many people are harmed by early sexual experiences).

    My Guardian letter did say very clearly that paedophilia is “impossible” to condone – meaning that I don’t condone it.

    Here’s an example of what I wrote in the Irish Independent in 2008:
    Irish Independent – 10 March 2008

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/lowering-the-unrealistic-age-of-consent-will-help-teens-1312148.html

    “The time has come for a calm, rational debate about the age of

    consent. It should be premised on four aims. First, protecting young

    people against sex abuse. Second, empowering them to make wise,

    responsible sexual choices. Third, removing the legal obstacles to

    earlier, more effective sex education. Fourth, ensuring better

    contraception and condom provision to prevent unwanted pregnancies and

    abortions and to cut the spread of sexual infections like HIV.”

    You can see that I made protecting young people against sex abuse my first priority.

    I have said similar things in many other articles and interviews.

    None of these speeches and articles are advocating child sex.

    It is true that I support reducing the legal consent age to 14. But I support 14 in order to end the criminalisation of the many young people who have sexual contact with each other from this age onwards. More than half of all British teenagers have their first sexual experience (not necessarily full intercourse) at around the age of 14. They are currently treated a criminals, even if their partners are of similar ages (including a maximum sentence of five years custody for mutually consenting sexual touching, kissing and fondling). I do not advocate young people having sex at this early age. It is best if they wait. But I don’t think that consenting 14 years olds should be dragged to court and threatened with prison. I certainly do not endorse adults having sex with young people aged 14.

    My critics may disagree with me on the age of consent, but I have advocated a clear ethical stance and moral framework, which stresses sex with mutual consent, respect and fulfilment. My arguments and articles are not about abusing young people but protecting them.

    That’s my motive.

    The critics also cite Warren Middleton’s 1980s book, Betrayal of Youth, to which I contributed a chapter. I had no idea that he was involved in child sex abuse matters when I was asked to write. My chapter in the book did not endorse child sex. It merely questioned whether 16 was the appropriate legal age of consent. Different people mature at different ages. There are many countries that have diverse ages of consent, some higher and some lower than 16. I was not aware of who the other authors were or what they wrote until the book was published. I would not have agreed to be in the book if I had known. I should not be blamed for what others wrote. It is wrong to tar me with their opinions. There is nothing in my contribution that even remotely condones child sex abuse.

    My critics also cite an interview / article I did with 14 year old Lee in the late 1990s where he said that he had sex with adults when he was a young person and that he does not feel that he was abused.

    This was a journalistic piece designed to let him have his say and, through him, to give a glimpse into what many young people think about the age of consent and its pitfalls. My critics seem to believe that young people’s opinions should not be heard if they disagree with

    their moral perspectives. I call that censorship.

    In the interview with Lee, I nevertheless challenged his view in various ways, including making these points:

    “How can a young child understand sex and give meaningful consent?

    “Perhaps your friends were particularly mature for their age. Most young people are not so sophisticated about sex.

    “Many people worry that the power imbalance in a relationship between a youth and an adult means the younger person can be easily manipulated and exploited.

    “Many people fear that making sex easier for under-age teenagers will expose them to dangers like HIV. Isn’t that a legitimate worry?”

    I hope that clarifies matters and reassures people.

    Thank you

    Peter

  9. Emma Goldman said,

    Tatchell repeats a previous unconvincing excuse, viz

    ‘Dares to Speak was an academic book published in 1997, authored by professors, anthropologists, psychologists, a Dutch senator and a former editor of a Catholic newspaper.’

    The book promted by Tatchell was edited by one Joseph Geraci. Geraci is the editor of a publication called Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia (I think the clue is in the title) from which all the essays in the book originate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paidika:_The_Journal_of_Paedophilia

    ‘Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia (1987–1995) was a journal published by the Stichting Paidika Foundation whose purpose was to promote the normalization of pedophilia. Its editor was Joseph Geraci and the editorial board included articles by writers Frits Bernard, Edward Brongersma, Vern L. Bullough, and D. H. (Donald) Mader, some of whom campaigned as pro-pedophile activists.’

    Is Tatchell claiming that ‘professors, anthropologists, psychologists, a Dutch senator and a former editor of a Catholic newspaper’ can’t also be paedophiles?

    For Tatchell to defend a book written by paedophiles and promoting paedophilia is deeply disturbing.

  10. Emma Goldman said,

    If Jim wishes to contact Tatchell again, perhaps he’d like to ask him about just one of the contributors to ‘Dares to Speak’, Lawrence A. Stanley

    From the contents page:

    Pt. 2. Boy-Love and Paedophilia – The Contemporary Storm
    Interview
    By Vern Bullough
    The Hysteria over Child Pornography and Paedophilia
    By Lawrence A. Stanley

    Lawrence A. Stanley has form.

    From

    THE WASHINGTON TIMES
    July 24, 2002

    Lawyer arrested in Brazil; charged with child exploitation

    By Robert Stacy McCain

    ‘An American lawyer who specialized in defending those accused of child pornography is under arrest in Brazil, charged with violating that country’s laws against child exploitation.

    Lawrence Allen Stanley, 47, was arrested June 8 after police in Salvador say they found more than 1,000 photographs and more than 100 videos of young girls in swimsuits and underwear. The arrest came days after the Brazilian magazine Epocha reported that Stanley, a fugitive who has lived in Brazil since 1998, had built an international business photographing Brazilian girls and selling their photos through the Internet.’

    ‘Stanley has a criminal record. He was charged with “sexual aggression” against a girl in Quebec in 1990, but Canadian officials never sought extradition. In 1998, a Dutch court convicted Stanley in absentia for sexual abuse of three children ages 7 to 10, Epocha reported. He faces a three-year prison sentence if he returns to the Netherlands. Brazil has no extradition treaty with the Netherlands.’

    ‘He has written several articles about child pornography, including one in 1987 in the Dutch pedophile journal Paidika.’

    Believe me, Stanley is not untypical of the contributors to Paidika/Dares to Speak except he seems to prefer little girls to boys. I can provide more material about the above – also Warren Middleton and his Betrayal of Youth (sic) – but it is like wading through neck-high sewage.

  11. Faster Pussycat Miaow Miaow Miaow! said,

    Boring attempt to resurrect an ancient smear campaing which was put to bed aeons ago.

    Fuck.
    Off.

  12. Emma Goldman said,

    I see Denham has not responded to my evidence that Tatchell contributed to one pro-paedophile book and defended the publication of another.

    As for this excuse from Tatchell,

    ‘The critics also cite Warren Middleton’s 1980s book, Betrayal of Youth, to which I contributed a chapter. I had no idea that he was involved in child sex abuse matters when I was asked to write.’

    This is absurd. Tatchell knew Warren Middleton and his background very well. Middleton and other founders of The Paedophile Information Exchange like Keith Hose had been fellow members of the Gay Liberation Front. Middleton had been a senior officer in PIE since the middle Seventies when he approached Tatchell to contribute to his book. How could Tachell not have known that Middleton was involved in ‘child sex abuse matters’ when he promoted child abuse?

    Tatchell has to explain why he contributed a chapter calling for the abolition of the age of consent to a book compiled by a prominent paedophile and promoting paedophilia. Ignorance is not a defence.

  13. Rosie said,

    I have memories of the Bermondsey by-election and the crap that was chucked at him. He never gives up, so good for him.

    “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability, and I want you to know that we are with you,”

  14. Mushtimushta said,

    I too remember the hounding that Peter got from the press and the political class when he stood in Bermondsey. Every aspect of his personal life was invaded and dissected in public. What made him unusual as a candidate? He was of Australian origin, he was (openly) gay and he lived in a council flat. All three were used against him, but really, his biggest crime was being a left-wing socialist who had the “cheek” to challenge the continued Labour candidacy of Bob Melhuish for the 1983 General Election. Bizarrely, it remains unusual for a Labour Parliamentary candidate to be a council tenant – the successful Labour candidate in the Dec 2011 Feltham & Heston By-election was yet another millionaire!

    I have a huge respect for Peter – he is an incredibly principled man. Even where I disagree with his position, I can see how he arrived there. British politics could do with a few more Peter Tatchells and a few less David Laws & Liam Foxs.

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